January 28, 2010 08:46 PM by Ryan Haidet
In the same vein as other feel-good shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, CBS unleashed a new special tonight called Live For The Moment.Â Hosted by Jeff Probst of Survivor, the show featured a Colorado family man who was hit with the devastating diagnosis of ALS — a disease in which his muscles will atrophy.Â The signs of his illness is visibly seen as the use of his hands has started to diminish.Â On top of all that, doctors have told him that he has between two and five years left to live.Â So Probst takes Roger Childs on the adventures he’s always craved in an effort to deliver the message to America that every day needs to be treated as if it could be your last.Â But the show left me feeling like there was an ironic twist.Â If the message is to try and get us to live for the moment, why are we being encouraged to sit through an hour of television doing nothing but staring at a screen?Â That doesn’t seem too productive to me…
Roger is a self-proclaimed adventurous guy who loves skiing, astronomy and spending time with his wife and two sons ages 8 and 12.Â One day as he was mowing the lawn, he felt extreme pain in both of his arms.Â It wasn’t long after he was diagnosed with ALS.
While trying to explain the situation, his wife was brought to tears.Â “It was really rough those first weeks.”
But instead of being depressed about it and feeling sorry for himself, Roger realized he and his family needed to make every second count.Â He said that he truly started viewing life in a different way when he began living it to its fullest.Â “I’m the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
The First Adventure
With a journal filled with their guides to several upcoming adventures, Roger opened the first note inside that read:
Always dreamed of being an astronaut?Â Well, this is pretty close.
In a pleasant surprise to the family, they were taken to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida where they were given a tour of the site by a special guide — astronaut Buzz Aldrin.Â Instant smiles struck everybody’s face when they first shook hands with the former moon-walking man.
But their tour of the location wasn’t the main excitement from their trip to Florida.Â Once the sun set, the family was taken outside to watch a shuttle launch.Â The moment brought tears to Roger’s eyes while his children stared in amazement as the night sky lit up and the shuttle blasted off.Â “I’m totally speechless,” his oldest son said.Â “I can’t tell you how amazing that was.”
Spreading His Wings
“Buckle up for the flight of your life,” the next letter in Roger’s adventure guide said.Â As a child, Roger had developed strong feelings for airplanes.Â He had been working to get his private pilot’s license, but never had the time to complete the work.Â “I regret not finishing it,” he said.Â He was instructed to pack for Chino, California, where he and his wife were taken to an aircraft hangar.
That’s where Roger was given the chance to ride in a small plane capable of nearly reaching the speed of sound.Â It was emotionally tough to watch as his wife helped him suit up because his illness made it difficult to even pull up a zipper.
But that wasn’t stopping him…
With helmet in hand and a smile spread across his face, he climbed into the plane.Â They flew in a stunt-like fashion until the sun set.
Skiing With An Old Friend
On the agendaÂ next was a reunion.Â The note inside told Roger to bring his skis.Â His old college roommate was waiting for him there so the pair could share in the adventure together.Â “I hadn’t seen him since 1992, and I was excited,” Roger exclaimed.Â And watching them together made it seem like they had never been apart.Â They suited up and boarded a helicopter, which took them to the top of a mountain.Â “That’s the next level of skiing,” he said.Â Since his diagnosis, Roger has had a tough time skiing, and was nervous he might not be able to do it.Â But he put his fears behind him and headed down the mountain.
Back inside, they joined together for dinner and shared some emotional words.Â Roger said the whole experience reminded him how important friendship is.Â He wished he would’ve lived his entire life with that concept in mind.
An Emotional Gathering
If all these adventures weren’t enough, there was one moment left that was the most touching — a homecoming.Â Roger boarded a helicopter and left for his home town of San Diego.Â When he arrived, everybody important in his life was there cheering him on.Â “I don’t deserve this,” he said with tears welling up in his eyes.
Then the tear factory started as some people made announcements.Â His roommate said they started a foundation in Roger’s name to raise awareness for ALS.Â Next, a Navy pilot named him an honorary aircraft commander.Â Roger’s father also spoke before reading a letter from his sister.Â “Live big, Roger.Â Be strong,” the note said.Â A scholarship fund of $80,000 had also been set up for his sons.Â “Knowing that when I’m gone they can have the opportunity to go to college and realize their dreams means everything to us.”Â He then embraced his dad in a big, tearful hug.
Then the entire point of the show was finally addressed when Probst asked Roger to give his advice on how to live for the moment.Â “If anyone has passions, you should pursue those. …Â Seize the day.”Â He said not to wait to do anything you want.Â “Go after those things immediately.”Â He said the simple things in life matter most.Â “Keep things in perspective.Â Keep your eye on what’s important in life.Â And live life with passion.”
It was an emotional ride watching this family’s story.Â Although filled with a good message, my initial reaction is that this show will sadly fall into the mix of failed reality programs.
After all…Â Shouldn’t we follow the message of the show and turn off our televisions so we can truly enjoy life?
Images courtesy of CBS.
Stick with RealityTVMagazine.com for more updates on Live For The Moment.Â Plus stay tuned in February for complete coverage of Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains, which Probst previewed for us in an exclusive interview.