When we left Ricky in Chicago, we had two days to spend with our families. Mine is in Buffalo, Jimmy’s is near Poughkeepsie. It was nice to see some familiar faces!
Our interview in Cambridge with John was pretty cool. We shot right on the banks of the Charles. John donated over ten years ago, which is why I asked him to be in the film. He also has a site called Living Donors Online, which is an excellent resource for the donation process. He’s been a huge activist for many, many years, and I learned a lot from him. I suspect we will be working together in the future, once my non-profit gets going.
After lunch, we headed to NYC. I was pretty excited about getting there. I hadn’t been in about 15 years! I had never driven there, either. Driving in Manhattan is not pleasant, and I’m a really good, aggressive, driver. My shoulder was in pain the rest of the night and into the next day, from shifting. But, we had awesome interviews!
One of my close friends from high school, Paul, lives close to the city and has done a lot of work in film. He came down to be the second cameraman. We shot our interview with Elissa on her rooftop. We had the entire city scape surrounding us. It was pretty cool.
We then headed across the river to Jersey City, NJ, to interview Melissa. One thing we have in common is that both of us were fired from our jobs right before donating. Her interview was fun, and a little snarky, with the Statue of Liberty behind us. We could still see NYC from where we were on the Hudson. Her husband was our second cameraman and we all had lunch after.
Next, we were off to Baltimore! Now, what we are doing, is filming people in the morning, with the car already packed, and heading out to the next city right away. We check into our hotel, eat, sleep, get up the next morning to film. But, since Elissa and Melissa were so close, we did two interviews on Tuesday. Then, the drive to Baltimore is about 3 hours. I was exhausted from both interviews and the drive, and barely remember that night. We were there to meet Nancy. She’s been the one I’ve been closest to since donating. We’ve talked on the phone a LOT, and she’s been a huge supporter of this film. She even arranged with a local hotel to put us up for two nights! I knew she’d be crazy, and we had a blast. Liver donor Pam lives near her, so we all spent the day together and went to lunch. We had a day of rest, except for the interview, which we sorely needed. We didn’t have to drive to anything other than the restaurant.
We are now in Knoxville. Donate Life Tennessee is putting us up for the night. One of their employees came across my website and reached out to me. I’m still floored, but I’ll take it!