Documentary highlights student's struggles

August 30, 2009 (CHICAGO) It is generating steam by viewers on YouTube.

The last year of western suburb Phil Cantore's life is documented in "Phil's Plan." It is inspiring and educational for people with and without disabilities.

"Phil's Plan" was produced by Mark Curcio, Stuart Lasky and Phil, while they were seniors at DePaul University.

Phil was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of six. His mom, Debbie, remembers hearing this news.

" I always told him about his four relatives that had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. So, it was stressful, but we always were upbeat," she said.

Mark and Phil knew each other from high school.

"I just kind of, you know, was acquaintances with Phil and said hello in the hallways and stuff. But now, after doing this film, I learned all about him and his personality and how the disease is actually just a horrific disease and how much he has to persevere everyday to just accomplish his goals and dreams," said Mark Curcio.

Stuart Lasky met Phil in class at DePaul.

"I had seen Phil around before, didn't really know him, and up until, I think it was last year or two years ago, was the first time I met him," Lasky said.

"Phil's Plan" was filmed in two days.

"We filmed him at his home first like one night, and then the next morning, went to his house and went through his daily morning routine," Curcio said.

"We screened it in another one of our classes aside from the one it was assigned for, and the assignment was to show your best piece of work. And Mark and I were in the same class together, and that's what we showed together," said Lasky.

"We showed it in class to our class, and everyone really enjoyed it, you know, got a good grade on it, and after that, we just posted it on You Tube," Curcio said.

Phil died in early December 2008 at the age of 21.

"He graduated with honors, and I'm proud to say that he was two semesters short, and he did walk. In fact, his father and I went up on stage and I was crying," Phil's mother Debbie said.

When asked what they remembered best about Phil, his co-producers said:

"Phil is very funny. I remember in class, some kid was making just a really bad joke, and Phil just called him out on it, and the whole class just erupted with laughter because Phil is just really funny," Curcio said.

"I didn't know anything about muscular dystrophy, and just I mean I learned a lot," said Lasky.

'He was the best, always happy, always a smile on his face, hated nobody. I mean he just had such a respect for life and for people," Debbie said.

"Phil's Plan" is available on You Tube. Mark Curcio and Stuart Lasky are hoping to produced more documentaries. They have entered "Phil's Plan" in several film festivals and are hoping to generate a few awards.

For more information about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, please visit Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.