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Kelowna documentary 12 years in the making sheds light on organ donation

Ryan Tebbutt is premiering his film at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on Tuesday, Nov. 21

A local filmmaker is bringing awareness to the organ donation crisis occurring across the country with a film that’s been 12 years in the making.

Ryan Tebbutt is set to premiere his documentary entitled ‘Because I Can’ which follows Penticton’s Shelley Hunt, who co-founded the nationwide Because I Can campaign to education the public about organ donation and ended up becoming a match to save a young life.

Hunt narrates the documentary, telling the story about how organ donation saved Aidyn’s life.

When Aidyn was just 26 weeks in utero, he was diagnosed with enlarged kidneys. Because of this, he was born 10 weeks later and immediately rushed to surgery. At four months old, he was put on peritoneal dialysis for 12 hours every night, and was eventually upgraded to hemodialysis treatment to remove the toxins and waste that his kidneys could not.

After 350 days of treatment, Aidyn met Hunt, who was a potential match and had already started the process to become an anonymous donor because of meeting Aidyn and his family. Hunt decided to donate to Aidyn to save his life, and because one of her sons is the same age of Aidyn.

The documentary showed his journey and hopes to bring people together as well as bring awareness to organ donating.

“‘Because I Can’ is a profound and inspirational story that focus’s around the topic of organ donation, specifically kidney donation, but has a broader theme of altruistic giving, doing good things and the ripple effect those deeds can create,” said Tebbutt. “The film also offers an educational look into topics around organ donation such as dialysis, registration numbers, the paired-exchange program, as well as the somewhat controversial idea of presumed consent. My colleague Kelly Veltri and I started documenting this story 12 years ago, self-funding the project other than just a $1,000 grant from Kelowna Film Society. In 2020, I pitched it to Telus Originals to obtain further funding, who ended up funding the film to completion.”

Tebbutt is premiering his documentary at the Mary Irwin Centre at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Rotary Centre for the Arts website.

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Jordy Cunningham

About the Author: Jordy Cunningham

Hailing from Ladner, B.C., I have been passionate about sports, especially baseball, since I was young. In 2018, I graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree
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