Since his high school debate team days, Ady Barkan has been articulate and passionate about social issues—a passion which eventually lands him an organizing job in California. Happily married and a loving father, life can’t be better. But at age 32 he is diagnosed with ALS, and, fearing rising healthcare costs in light of the proposed 2018 tax reform, Barkan heads for Washington as part of a group voicing their concerns. Frustrated after a conversation with Republican Senator Jeff Flake on the return flight goes nowhere, he embarks on the “Summer of Heroes Tour” where, as part of an equally dedicated team, he speaks at rallies, heads demonstrations at local offices of elected officials, and inspires both the public and team members in the name of healthcare reform, all the while coping with his declining physical abilities and yearning to be with his family.
Told with intimacy and sensitivity, and fueled by Barkan’s unrelenting devotion—both personal and political—in the face of a debilitating disease, Be a Hero exposes the fragile state of our healthcare system through the work and devotion of one such person who can’t help but motivate us all.—Brian Gordon