Organ Donation Week, and it’s Saturday night so, unless you’ve got something more pressing to do, sort the popcorn, sit back, kick off your shoes and watch a couple of films. Short ones. Very short. One is funny, clever. The other, only a few minutes longer, is gentle, courageous, beautiful. Both are brief glimpses into much deeper stories. Behind the words, the glances, a depth of experience and emotion that is dizzying.
Luke Alexander is, we are very proud to say, a friend of ours. Lucia found him first. When Luke was 12 years old his life was saved by a 13-year old stranger who had told his parents he wanted to be a donor if anything ever happened to him.
Ten years on, Luke is a cyclist, a runner and a swimmer, enjoying the chance to compete in the Transplant Games. Luke and Lucia were both members of the GB and NI team at the World Games in Malaga, Spain (2017) and two years later in Newcastle, England. Luke recently completed his Coventry University degree in Media Production. He used his film-making skills to create unique insights into the experiences of organ transplantation.
In 2017, at “Talk, Tell, Transform”, a Children’s Liver Disease Foundation week for young people with liver disease or transplants, young people turned their stories into short films. Luke took it a stage further and interviewed himself, playing…well, best just to watch it, it’s less than five minutes short. The link is at the end of this blog. There’s another one first…
As Luke went through the intensity of his own experience of liver disease, and then transplant, he was sensitive to its impact on others, especially the young boy and his family whose kindness saved Luke’s life.
“I always think about him, whoever he may be. It’s consciously on my mind when I make decisions,” said Luke, adding that the boy’s parents had suffered an incredible loss. “It’s something that I never forget, day in, day out.”
As well as the boy’s parents, Luke is aware, too, of the impact of his journey on his own family. Further inspired by people he has met at the Transplant Games, Luke’s new fifteen-minute documentary, “The Other Side”, aims to be a cathartic experience for parents who have been through, going through, or are about to go through that journey. It is also a bravely understated insight for the rest of us.
No more to say, this is not a review. Just watch the film (permission to skip the ads). Better still, watch it with your family, with friends, and see where the conversation goes afterwards. You never know when a conversation started through this film may save a life… Thank you, Luke, three generous families, and all those donor families we may never know….
Learn it, and pass it on…