William R. Reeves (University of Texas)
Award of Excellence
Nathan Huf suffers from Trisomy 13, a rare genetic disorder that kills 80% of its victims before their first birthday. Nathan just turned 18, making him one of the oldest liiving males with Trisomy 13 in the world. This documentary focuses on Nathan's day to day life, his interactions with his family, as well as how he was able to inspire a community. Every day that he defies the predictions of doctors around the world Nathan further proves that he truly is the 'King of Hearts'.
Trisomy 13, a genetic disorder, has left Nathan Huf blind. As such, Nathan wanders around his home by crawling in a perpetual state of darkness.
Despite having just turned 18 years old, Nathan has the intellect of an 18 month old infant due to the mental retardation associated with Trisomy 13. His favorite toys are those that make barnyard sounds. When he becomes bored with them, he will often balance them on the back of his neck for 10-20 minutes at a time. He sits in complete silence while he does this.
Nathan must rely on his mother Lillie to change his diaper up to six times per day. Lillie has had to sacrifice much of her life in order to take care of Nathan. Caring for him is a 24 hour a day job, which she undertakes by herself.
Nathan sleeps in a medical bed that is placed just behind the couch in the family living room. This setup allows for Lillie to get some rest while still knowing that Nathan is safe. His bed also doubles as his location of choice for his favorite toys.
A simple trip to the dentist requires that Nathan be admitted to the hospital, moved to an operating room, and placed under full anesthesia.
Nathan's physical disabilities have left him unable to walk under his own power. In order to ensure he gets some exercise, Lillie lifts him up and supports him as he walks around the front yard. She must lift him for this every day, as well as any time he needs to be put in a car, take a bath, or sit at the dinner table.
Nathan's father is rarely seen by his son's side. In fact, it is generally only at some sort of public event that his father, Leonard, can been seen with him. Here Leonard anxiously awaits Nathan's name to be called during Nathan's high school graduation.
When Lillie is too tired to carry Nathan into the bath tub, a washcloth becomes the substitute.
Nathan plays with one of his favorite toys while he and his date, who tonight is his cousin, wait to leave for senior prom.
Nathan Huf, King of Hearts