Can the sport of lawn mower racing be used to save lives?
Mike Ratel, the producer of “On Your Mark, Get Set, Mow!” are banking that it can.
The film, which makes its Illinois premiere Monday at the Naperville Film Festival, explores the world of lawn mower racing through the eyes of a Michigan family who lost six members to Huntington's Disease and use the sport to raise awareness of the disease and funds for its research.
Huntington's Disease is a genetic disorder in which nerve cells in parts of the brain degenerate. There are some treatments for the disease, but there is no cure. The disease causes deterioration in both physical and mental health and results in death 15-20 years after onset.
In order to explain Huntington's, Ratel conducted on camera interviews with medical professionals, U.S. congressmen, disease advocates, and Arlo Guthrie who lost his father Woody Guthrie, an American folk music icon to the disease in 1967.
Now in their twentieth season the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association is a national governing body for the sport of lawn mower racing. With chapters and members across America the organization works to schedule races, promote the association and its races via media opportunities, as well coordinate efforts with race day partners such as the Michigan chapter of the Huntington's Disease Society of America among others.
On Your Mark, Get Set, MOW! screens Monday at 10:35 p.m. the Classic Cinema Theater 6, 1227 East Ogden Avenue. Ratel and a representative from the Huntington's Disease Society will be on hand to answer audience questions.