Two students from Chilliwack secondary school want to get their peers talking about organ donation, and they’ve created an emotional video to get the conversation started.
Pawan Daliaho and Lucas Stiles, both in Grade 12, collaborated on the project.
The vid is 13:20 long and features an emotional interview with an organ donor recipient Joanne Arcardo. Daliaho and Stiles also talked with Krista Winnig, the sister of an organ donor.
“Listening to their interviews and seeing and hearing those emotions was really special,” Stiles said.
As he worked on the video, Daliaho thought about his own experiences.
When he was in Grade 3 he narrowly avoided a cancer diagnosis. Spending a lot of time in hospital, he saw sick people who needed new organs, but it was too much to process at eight-years-old. As he matured though, he thought about it more and more.
“It was always running through my mind, but I didn’t know what I could do about it until recently,” he said.
This past summer, Daliaho signed up as an organ donor, and that’s when the idea of the video popped into his head.
“I stumbled upon all of these resources that BC Transplant had, and that’s when I knew this was something I had to do.”
Through BC Transplant, he connected with Arcardo and Winnig, who were both happy to help.
“They were on board from the second I emailed them,” Daliaho said.
Stiles was excited to sign on, providing expertise in video shooting and editing. It’s not a quick process, and Stiles said he and Daliaho met once a week for a month planning shots and crystallizing the story they wanted to tell.
“Krista’s point of view, because it was her sister that she lost, from an emotional point of view it was super powerful,” Stiles said. “One of the first things I told Joanne and Krista is that I didn’t care how long it took, I wanted them to be authentic. The most important thing is to connect with a viewer and have them feel something, and having Krista open up about some of the things she did with her sister, it was really cool to see.”
The video is aimed at students, and they’re a tough audience. What teenager gives serious thought to their own mortality?
Daliaho and Stiles worked hard to craft a message that would resonate.
“I don’t believe in heroes with capes,” Daliaho said in the video. “I believe in every day heroes like you and I who work hard each and every day to make the lives of those around us better.”
Daliaho and Stiles wanted to start a conversation, and they feel they succeeded. Daliaho said the video opened the door to followups with friends.
“Starting that conversation (about organ donation) can be difficult, and in normal day-to-day conversation it’s almost impossible,” Daliaho said. “But having them watch this video where my history comes out and then continuing off of that, the conversation has already taken a more serious turn at that point and it’s easier to manoeuvre it from there.”
Daliaho noted in the video that while 90 per cent of British Columbians agree with organ donation, only 28 per cent are registered to do so. One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and thanks to this video, at least one person is thinking about it.
“Before we did this, organ donation hadn’t been on my radar whatsoever,” Stiles said. “But I’ve done some research as we’ve worked on this project, and I’m seriously considering it now.”
For more info on organ donation in B.C., visit transplant.bc.ca
To register as an organ donor, visit transplant.bc.ca/Pages/Register-your-Decision.aspx