If I had to make a guess, I’d say about 5000 people know about this film so far. That’s because of Social Media. It could be more, could be less, but that’s what I’m guessing.
Here’s what 5000 people means to me. Think of that Humane Society poster from many years ago, with how many cats come from one coupling of unspayed/neutered cats.
That’s 5000 people who may be hearing about kidney donation for the first time.
That’s 5000 people who may know their own TinyMom.
That’s 5000 who may change their driver’s license to be a donor when they die.
That’s 5000 people who will tell everyone they know. Even if it’s just a few, that’s still 5007 more people.
That’s 5000 people who will know, through all the interviews in the film, living kidney donors. They will feel with us. They will laugh and cry with us in this film. They will see that we are just normal people.
We are not heroes. We are people who saw a dire need and responded. We are people that truly believe in love for others. We are people that would do anything we could to help. We are people who did something that everyone SHOULD be doing.
What happened to society? What happened to people simply caring for their fellow man? Why have we become so selfish? I had a long conversation about this last night. I don’t like being called a hero. It makes me uncomfortable. If you could see what I got in return, you’d understand. Well, you’ll see it in the film.
(Oh, and change your driver’s license!)
When I thought up this whole film concept in August, I honestly never thought about all that we’ve had to do since then. I thought I could just raise some money, drive around, film other donors, and that would be it.
I was mistaken! Yesterday, we finished up the paperwork for the non-profit. We already had a DBA and an LLC, which, apparently, we did all backwards. Hahahaha! We wanted all of our bases covered, so we don’t get into trouble down the road.
So, I had to come up with a name for it. And officers. What??? It looks like I will be doing this for a living once the film is done. It’s called “One Kidney Is Enough,” which is a name I crowd-sourced with my besties. For live kidney donors, there aren’t many places that do long-term testing. That HAS to change. We get zero support from anywhere once our 2-year check-up comes. That HAS to change. There honestly isn’t enough information out there to create awareness for live organ donation. That HAS to change.
There are almost 100,000 people waiting for an organ, and over 90% of those people are waiting for a kidney. It’s appalling. My paralegal’s father just died of kidney disease, after ten years on dialysis. That’s just not right. My eyes welled up when he told me yesterday. I felt terribly, because it was just so easy.
I had a long conversation with one of my friends yesterday about being called a “hero.” I’m not a hero. I saw a need and fulfilled it. We are all people. This should be an everyday occurrence. What happened to humanity???? If I could grow another kidney and donate it, I would. Over and over again. Why are people so afraid?
Because there’s nothing out there to ease people’s minds. I see a lot of kidney foundations that are raising money. For what? To pay salaries? To put on a walk every year?
A walk isn’t enough.
To most people, it’s having and raising amazing children that go on to be amazing people. I don’t have kids. I will be 42 next week, and it’s not likely I will ever have them. It just wasn’t in the cards for me. So, this film will be my legacy.
I’m angry. Anger sparks my passion. I’m angry at the lack of awareness of live organ donation. But what I’m lacking in even more is the failure of awareness of donors. I don’t mean we need a trophy. I mean nobody talks about the donors.
There’s no foundation to mentor donors. There is nothing out there as an organization of donors to help raise awareness. To educate the public on what it’s like to donate. To give more attention to something that is so easy and will cut the number of people on dialysis. Yes, dialysis is there, and it works. But how about ending it for more people with a kidney?
I’m angry that I didn’t know how easy this was, or I would have done it long ago. Of course, I’m quite happy with my kidney being inside TinyMom, because I adore her. It’s an unbelievable connection!
I’ve always been the “Well, if it’s gonna get done right, I’d better do it” person. That’s why I’m making this film. I’ll never shut up about it, either. I’m going to get emails from around the world from people who are testing to donate. Or already have. Because of a movie. Because of all these donors who have agreed to be in the movie. They’re agreed to talk about something so personal, but we love to talk about it.
My legacy? Opening up people’s minds, which will open their hearts, and then their guts. To donate a kidney.
This whole concept for this film was created on a ride to a gig (I’ve been a comedian for ten years) with two others in the comedy circle. I offhandedly mentioned making a documentary with a cross-country trip. Then a few ideas got shot around. I was going to the Ice House that night, where I bumped into Jimmy Piertragallo. I had known him for about 8 or 9 years, but I hadn’t seen him for 7. His wife had a baby, so his job was to be there for his family. He came back out last Spring to do comedy again. I was so excited to see him!
So, We were sitting on a bench outside the show and I started telling him about it. I don’t think I even got through the whole explanation when he said “I’ll do it!”
That conversation was in August. Since then, we’ve met at least once a month, but usually it’s twice, to get the wheels in motion. We had to come up with not only a name for the film, but a name for us as a company. I then had to come up with an itinerary.
That was the tough part: Choosing which donors I would visit. Since this whole kidney crusade started with a tweet, Social Media played a big part in it. I’m in a couple living donor groups on Facebook. I’ve become friends with some of them and some are even on Twitter. I’ve spoken to a few on the phone. They are my friends. My kidney sisters. (there aren’t a lot of men who are active in the groups for some reason.)
We finally started to raise funds at the beginning of the year. We had comedy shows. We had shirts made. (http://socialmediastolemykidney.com/donatebuy-a-shirt/) I’ve made a trip to the post office every day this week! They are really awesome and you should buy one, too. Everyone loves them and I wore mine every day last week. I wear it everywhere, because I need to spread the word!
It’s coming together. It’s becoming real. I just wish it were May 1st already! I’m working 20 hours a week on this, plus running my own business and attempting to have a life. I’m so glad, though, that we started everything 6 months ago. I like that I can have the time to think things through while working on it. I’m getting a LOT of help from a couple of people. I’m posting this page EVERYWHERE.
It’s happening. Soon!!!