Challenge Accepted is a reality TV web series created by Genentech to tackle the unspoken issues of people living with hemophilia. The show follows a magician-comedian host, Justin Willman, as he dares members of the community to go outside their comfort zones and challenge the meaning of living with a bleeding disorder. Aided by coaches with a broad array of expertise, Justin helps members of the hemophilia community achieve their goals.
Season 2 highlighted a variety of topics for the community, but the episode on mental health, Forward, is a particularly powerful one. It focuses on a father, Heber, and his struggles with mental health after an unthinkable accident in which he backed over his son, who has hemophilia, with his car. While the child made a full recovery, the emotional trauma rendered Heber unable to drive in reverse— a devastating effect for a man whose #1 passion in life was driving.
To help, the team brought in Cody Ware, an internationally renowned racecar driver who suffers from PTSD, caused by a horrific bullying incident in his teenage years. Justin Willman brings levity, but ultimately takes a back seat, leaving Heber and Cody to discuss their shared pain and the impact it has had on their lives— years after their trauma.
The goal of this episode is to focus on the importance of opening up, reaching out, and taking your mental health journey one quarter mile at a time.
Another notable episode from Season 2 was Familia, created for the Spanish-speaking hemophilia community. In our research, we spoke with members of this community to unearth which topics would be most relevant to their unique experience. Inevitably, the same theme came up in every single conversation: family. The episode highlights how a family’s genuine love for their son with hemophilia A sometimes manifests as overprotection.
Chuey Martinez, a beloved Mexican/Dominican comedian, helps tackle this issue as we hear two sides of this family’s story. Jefferson, a young man living with hemophilia, talks about moments his mother was overly protective, while his mother shares the fears that drive her to keep him safe at all times. Interspersed throughout are telenovela-style flashbacks that recreate moments of their lives in a lighthearted way, making them easier to talk about.
The episode is largely in Spanish with English subtitles to relate to both strictly Spanish- speaking households and bilingual families. In the end, the family learns that even with hemophilia, a little bit of extra independence can go a long way.
The show, which can be seen on the Challenge Accepted Show YouTube channel, brings the Genentech approach to Supporting the Person to life on the small screen. Catch up on all of Season 1 and Season 2 at youtube.com/challengeacceptedshow.
The above content was provided by Genentech as part of its NHF sponsorship.