One woman’s courage has her hoping her story will inspire others to step up and become registered organ donors.
“I constantly say that I wish that your kidneys grew back, because I would do it again and again and again,” said Shelley Hunt, a Penticton resident who 12 years ago became an altruistic kidney donor, offering to give one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.
She invited a camera crew to share her journey. Ryan Tebbutt, owner of Edge Digital Media, took on the project with Kelly Veltri.
“Shelley approached us with this crazy idea, and we thought it was a great idea. So we started documenting it on no budget,” Tebutt said.
“We travelled around Canada and all pitched in, working together to document the story that we thought was really profound… Money ran out, it was hard to get it through to the finish line until we finally achieved funding.”
The documentary called “Because I Can” not only follows Hunt’s process of becoming a living donor but also shines a light on others.
“We travelled around meeting people affected by organ donation, whether they’ve received a transplant or donated, or doctors, different people along the way, we have collected so many stories over the years,” Hunt said.
Tebbutt and Hunt say that they hope that the documentary inspires others to become registered donors or become altruistic donors themselves.
“It’s a documentary, so you don’t know where it’s going to end up,” Tebbutt said.
“There were some really heavy moments. Actually, one of the women we were documenting passed away and we were some of the last people to see her. Those moments were heartbreaking, to be honest… The documentary starts off light and gets really real really quick. It really makes you think and feel and you come out seeing the actual impact of what one small choice can make all these years later.”
The documentary is now complete and has been submitted to the festival circuit. It is being shown throughout the Okanagan Valley. The next screening of “Because I Can” takes place Nov. 21 at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna. Tickets are still available online at www.rotarycentreforthearts.com