The Documentary

Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton provides the introduction to GIVEN A CHANCE...a little girl’s journey.  This documentary focuses on permanent placement for ‘special needs’ children.  At this moment there are 125,000 children anxiously waiting to be adopted by loving, nurturing families. 

GIVEN A CHANCE...a little girl’s journey chronicles the development of Kassie Marriner.  Drug addicted at birth and diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Kassie narrates the documentary, and provides an answer to the question: "Who wants to adopt a child with a special need?"   She also answers the question: “How do you treat a person with a disability?”...the answer ...“Like A Person”. GIVEN A CHANCE...a little girl’s journey, is dedicated in loving memory to John Ritter who played an important role in this little girl’s journey.  John, his brother Tom, Henry Winkler, Nancy Dussault, Tiffani Thiessen and others provide additional inspiration.

Seventeen year old Kassie Marriner has cerebral palsy. Balancing and walking are difficult for her. She agreed to participate in the documentary with the hope of encouraging people looking to adopt to at least consider a child with "special needs". At birth doctors said if she survived she'd face a bleak future. Little did they know... Kassie just graduated from High School with 4.0 grade point average
“For more than fifteen years my friend John Ritter hosted the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon”, Billy Bob says, “John knew firsthand the difficulties people with disabilities encountered, his brother TOM has CP. John realized through TOM that having a  disability was a medical label and not a definition of a person’s character.  It wasn’t the way a person walked or talked that John saw; it was the beauty in their soul.”

Dakota is a nine year old yellow labrador retriever. He has been Kassie's companion dog for 7 years. Originally trained through Canine Support Teams, Dakota eventually became Kassie's "walker dog". With his specially designed harness, Dakota now provides balancing support for Kassie, allowing her to walk. Dakota goes everywhere Kassie goes -- from restaurants to movie theaters.
Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s there was no room for the handicapped,” John commented from his personal experience.  “There were no parking spaces; there were no bathrooms that were easily accessible.  My mother worked with the mayor’s office in Los Angeles to bring about the fall of those architectural barriers.  Now there is more acceptance of people who are physically disabled because there is more education now”