White Rock's Stan and Shirley Fryer grace a poster for the documentary

Short film shares White Rock couple’s love story

Before She's Gone…, a film about Stan and Shirley Fryer's enduring love, is to premiere Jan. 27 in Vancouver

A documentary focused on a White Rock couple’s enduring love, through sickness and health, will make its world premiere in Vancouver on Jan. 27

Before She’s Gone… shares the story of Stan and Shirley Fryer’s 67-year marriage, and Stan’s role as both husband and caretaker since Shirley’s 2002 diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease.

A project of Stan’s grandson, Arun Fryer, the 19-minute film will make its debut at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.), during the Vancouver Short Film Festival.

Stan said Friday he is “very pleased” with how it turned out. He got a sneak peek at a private showing last summer.

“It’s an incredible memory, quite a journey,” he said.

Stan cared for Shirley at home until just over two years ago, when he was hit with a bout of viral pneumonia, and warned by his doctor that his days were numbered if he continued on as-is.

He’s continued to visit her every day, and the two spend hours at a time just talking and singing together.

Shirley’s Alzheimer’s has progressed to where she forgets each moment as soon as it has passed, but for Stan, the reason for the visits are the same as the reason they got married: love. And he’s confident that love is the reason Shirley is doing as well as she is, both physically and mentally.

“You have to have a lot of love,” he said. “When you have that, the other person feels it. Probably the most important thing is to let them know they’re loved.”

A couple’s journey with Alzheimer’s is “really a test of their love,” he added.

“You have to struggle through it, if you really love the person.”

The message captured in Before She’s Gone… is a “positive and loving” one, Stan said – one aimed at putting a different light on Alzheimer’s.

“I think it would be exciting for people around the world to see that they can make it through Alzheimer’s and still enjoy life.”

The film is not the first time that the Fryers’ journey of devotion has been recognized. In 2014, they were the White Rock honorees for the Investors Group Walk for Memories, the Alzheimer Society of BC’s annual fundraiser.

Arun Fryer donationArun Fryer said Friday that the society has been a partner in the film project, which he co-produced with his wife, Ana Carrizales. They committed five per cent of donations to a crowd-funding campaign that was launched to support the film to ASBC, resulting in the presentation last year of a cheque for $550.

Because of the campaign’s success – it raised more than $8,800, it is now ‘InDemand,’ meaning donations are still possible at indiegogo.com

Funding was also received from the National Film Board.

Arun said the main point of the film is to promote dialogue; to bring awareness to a brighter side of the Alzheimer’s journey.

“Far too often it seems that we get caught up in the tragedy of everything,” he said.

“We wanted to show another side. We’re trying to tell the love story behind the Alzheimer’s.”

The film – featuring original music by the Peninsula’s own Jason Mitchell – is also not Arun’s first foray onto the screen.

Last year, his feature-length thriller, Cadence, won the “Audience Must-See-Film” Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

He described the opportunity to premiere Before She’s Gone… locally as “quite special.”

He noted it will go live online on The Alzheimer Film Project website following the premiere.

In a preview snippet posted to the crowd-funding page, Stan uses cutlery to describe marriage; how in the beginning, a couple is like two spoons – “really connected. But if the relationship is not looked after, they can become like two knives.

“Two knives can’t be connected at all,” he says. “All they do is stab each other, and that makes life very miserable.”

He and Shirley, he continues, are still like spoons.

“There isn’t such a thing as a honeymoon. Shirley and I are still on our honeymoon. After 67 years, you never stop living like this.

“That’s what keeps life together, makes life beautiful.”

Tickets to the film festival are $15 for adults and $12 for students; a weekend pass is $55 for adults and $42 for students.

For more information on the film festival, visit www.vsff.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mounties arrest man in Chatr Mobile store robbery in Whalley

Jeremy Morgan, 32, is alleged to have had a loaded gun when he was arrested on Feb. 12

ZYTARUK: Trudeau needs to stop dithering and fix this blockade crisis

Trudeau noted Canadians are asking themselves, “What is happening in this country?” He’s got that right

Tamanawis boys repeat as B.C. high school wrestling champs

Sehijvir Sandhu and Karanpreet Gill earn gold medals for the Surrey team

Storm, Totems win South Fraser senior girls basketball titles

South Surrey hoops teams now prepare for provincial championships in Langley

MINTY: It’s never too late to create, as these Surrey seniors show

Pacifica Never Too Late Art Collective members are ‘late bloomers’ with works shown at Newton gallery

Protesters barricade Premier John Horgan’s home ahead of B.C. budget unveiling

Demonstrators from the Extinction Rebellion have blocked the Langford driveway

Ten poisoned eagles rushed to veterinary hospital in Nanaimo

Eagles stricken after eating flesh of euthanized animal at Nanaimo Regional Landfill

Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades a critical moment for country

First Nations leaders suggest it may be time to peacefully end the blockades

B.C. budtenders become first private cannabis workers to unionize in Canada

Two of seven Clarity Cannabis storefronts vote to join UFCW 1518 union

Kids exposed to household cleaners as newborns more likely to get asthma: B.C. study

Air fresheners, plug-in deodorizers, antimicrobial hand sanitizers and oven cleaners were the worst culprits

Victoria, Abbotsford record biggest jumps in rent prices nationwide: report

Toronto and Vancouver had priciest rentals in Canada

VIDEO: Convoy of forest industry supporters on its way to Victoria

Rally at the B.C. legislature begins with participants setting off from Campbell River

Teen snowmobiler found safe after overnight search in Okanagan

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Most Read

l -->