Film raises awareness about Sarcoidosis at Fort Myers Film Festival

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A disease affecting millions worldwide inspires a local filmmaker to share his story.

The story of a king of comedy is helping bring awareness to Sarcoidosis.

“In a weird twist of fate, it’s almost like every step that he made along his journey towards his success, the sarcoidosis developed and became more and more difficult for him as well,” local filmmaker Nicholas Markart said.

A film raising awareness about Sarcoidosis. CREDIT: WINK News

During Market’s journey toward success, he discovered his uncle was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis.

“I knew I had a disease. I knew I had a problem. But it took five years to actually get the diagnosis,” Steve Hilfiker, a Sarcoidosis survivor, said.

It wasn’t until Hilfiker went to the University of Rochester Medical Center that he discovered his shared diagnosis with the legendary Bernie Mac. Bernie Mac had Sarcoidosis in his lungs and got an infection that he couldn’t fight off. Hilfiker, on the other hand, has it in his heart.

“I was dead. Basically, my heart was dead in my body,” Hilfiker said.

But, unlike Bernie Mac, Kilfiker got a second chance at life after a heart transplant.

“My donor’s name is Daniel, and to say thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you. I want… I feel a duty now,” Hilfiker said.

His duty is to help his nephew with the making of films like Warriors: The Bernie Mac Disease. By gathering interviews all over the world and spreading awareness.

“Thinking that I never thought I was going to see him again, only a few years ago, too, I would have never imagined these experiences that I’m having with him now. It’s, it’s, it’s amazing,” Hilfiker said.

And it’s something that can save countless lives by shining a light on the rare disease.

“We’re gonna save 10s and 1000s of lives if all goes according to plan,” Hilfiker said.

Because every day is a day worth living to the fullest.

The Film Warriors: The Bernie Mac Disease premiers through the Fort Myers Film Festival at the Sidney and Berne Davis Arts Center Thursday evening at 6 p.m.

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