Paulo Henrique Machado is hooked up to an artificial respirator 24 hours a day in a hospital in Brazil. He’s been there for 45 years — almost his entire life.
Machado contracted polio as a baby, causing infantile paralysis, BBC World Service reported. Despite being constricted to a wheelchair and the hospital’s four walls, the 45-year-old has trained as a computer animator, and now he’s making a television series about his life.
“For me, playing football or with normal toys wasn’t an option,” Machado told BBC. “So it was more about using my imagination.”
Machado has lost most of his childhood friends to polio, according to the International Business Times. His one companion is fellow polio patient, Eliana Zagui. Like Machado, Zagui doesn’t let her disability stop her. She is a published author and also paints with her mouth. On her website, she credits Machado as her support system.
With the help of technological innovation, Machado and Zagui have been able to make at least 50 trips outside the hospital in the last two years, according to BBC.
Thanks to an online fundraiser, Machado has collected the $65,000 he needs to make his 3D animated series that he’s titled, “The Adventures of Leca and her Friends.” The series is based off a book Zagui wrote about Machado’s experiences.
“I thought, ‘What if I start a project?'” Machado said in a video on his fundraising page. “Why not create an opportunity for people to see what I have lived through so the children will be able to learn about handicaps and the challenges that come with it in a way that they won’t just see a wheelchair or crutches as hindrances but as helping tools.”
Zagui has confidence in her friend.
“The adventures he’s planning to tell are based on my book ‘Iron Lung,'” she said in the video. “And I’m confident everything will be alright as long as he doesn’t quit and as long as there are people helping him.”