Sunday, March 17, 2013

Getting the Word Out

Through my donation and the social media world, I've met a lot of great people involved in the transplant world. One of those people, whom I've mentioned before, is Amy. She donated her kidney to a family member of someone she didn't know too well after she saw a tweet about "Tiny Mom" needing help.

There seems to be a commonality among many donors (including Amy and myself) that donating was the first step on a much larger path for them.In choosing to donate an organ to someone in need, they found their calling in promoting organ donation. I am not sure that promoting is really the right word because it's more than that. Sure, we'd love to see more donors (where it makes medical sense) but it's also about supporting other donors as well, past, present and future. It's about making the systems donors navigate better. It's about transparency in the process. It's about making the journey the same for donors (same information, same treatment, same level of safety) whether you donate in Arizona or Alberta. It's about finding a way so that all the great things some programs are doing are shared and implemented in all the other programs at least across North America (I'd love to take on the world but let's be realistic).

Amy is taking a big, giant leap towards this by making a documentary about all of the things above and more. Here are her goals:

1) To educate the public on the huge but addressable problem of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure and the option of transplantation and living kidney donation

2) To create a film documenting real stories of living kidney donors across the nation

3) To highlight the safety of kidney donation

4) To highlight the additive potential of public awareness and public action

5) To continue to use Social Media to reach across distance to achieve success

6) To share personal and revolutionary stories of changing attitudes

7) To reveal the unlikely players in a very apropo movement

I am very excited and honoured to be a part of her project (the lone Canadian!). She'll be filming later this spring in a whirlwind tour of North America. Never in a million years did I ever think my choice to donate would have brought me here. It's exciting because I feel like I really can make a difference, even though I may never see what that difference actually is. I'm also excited because the more I hear other people's stories, the more I appreciate that despite the process issues beyond their control, my doctors and donor coordinator at Foothills are running a pretty fantastic program. They are doing a lot of things right and actually as a country, Canada is leading the way in best practices in a lot of ways. For me, this will hopefully be an opportunity to talk about how we do things here, from my perspective.

To learn more about the documentary, check out the link here. A little fundraising help is needed too, for expenses, if you are so inclined. Either way though, follow along in the journey on the website or on Facebook and be sure check out the documentary when its done.