– OUR STORY –
– OUR STORY –
A Love Worth Giving tells the real-life story of newlyweds Sam and Luke – a young couple madly in love. But Sam has Cystic Fibrosis and her health is getting worse, her only hope of survival is a double lung transplant.
Together they build a life among the physical and emotional challenges of waiting for a donor, a roller coaster journey of false alarms and hospital stays. But when organs can't be found in time, Luke is forced to continue life alone and make sense of their short time together.
A life-affirming tale of love and loss highlighting the effects of the global shortage of organ donors.
– THE ISSUE –
– THE ISSUE –
More than 10,000 people need an organ transplant in the UK, but every day, 3 of them will die waiting.
Before meeting Sam and Luke – before shooting this film – I wasn’t aware of the shortage of organ donors. The UK operates on an opt-in system where you have to declare your wish to be a organ donor and it's for this reason that I believe raising awareness of the need for donors is so important.
The death of a registered donor could transform the lives of up to nine people and there are many conditions – including Cystic Fibrosis – where patients are dependent on the generosity of organ donors for successful treatment.
For more information and to join the Organ Donation Register in the UK – click HERE
– FROM THE DIRECTOR –
– FROM THE DIRECTOR –
I met Sam and Luke when my wife and I moved to Hampshire. I had no idea Sam had Cystic Fibrosis but as our friendship grew, we were drawn into their struggle and the impact Sam’s disease was having on their lives. Sam needed new lungs and we were all part of the wait.
One night, Sam was called to the hospital as a pair of lungs had become available but unfortunately they found out that the organs weren't viable and the next morning, they were sent home.
When I heard that the call was a false alarm, I asked myself: why don't more people donate their organs when they die? The answer, of course, is far from simple but it got me thinking – wouldn’t more people want to be organ donors if they knew that thousands of people, like Sam and Luke, are waiting for a transplant?
I thought Sam would get a transplant, in fact we all did. We all lived with this expectation, especially Luke. Despite never wanting to mix my private life with my filmmaking, I decided to start documenting their journey. I filmed with the intention of following their story through to a successful transplant and hoped this would somehow show why organ donation was a positive choice to make in death.
But the pool of available organs was extremely small and Sam’s condition was deteriorating. The disease had progressed so far that it destroyed her lungs and in April 2013, she stopped breathing entirely. Her wait for an organ donor had taken too long.
When Sam died waiting for new lungs, we all went into shock. If you've ever stood beside a friend who is grieving you know there's little you can do to help, except perhaps listen. So that's what I did. I put the camera down and tried my best to just support Luke.
As the months passed, Luke began to channel his grief in quite an exceptional way – he began to paint. These weren't any old paintings, they were extraordinary landscapes flowing with life and emotion. Luke was seeking some kind of redemption through the act of painting and in doing so, he was creating something beautiful.
I looked on as Luke tried to make sense of his short life with Sam and I watched him paint from the the depths of his soul. I began to film again, only this time in silence. And I asked myself - could Sam and Luke's tragic story raise awareness of the need for more organ donors?
I struggled to visualise the finished film - was this about grief? And if so, who would watch that? Then later that year, one cold December morning, Luke and I wandered down to my local beach where he found the courage to tell me his story on camera, as he now sees it.
This was it, this was the film. An extraordinary insight into a couple’s private life - their hopes, their dreams and their loss. A tragic love story.
Through telling Sam and Luke’s story, I hope to encourage others to think about donating their organs when they no longer need them. We can all make a difference, even after our death.
In April 2015 we ran a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the completion of A Love Worth Giving. Thanks to 360 generous backers, we have been able to finish the film and release it for free. But now we need your support to reach new audiences and raise awareness about organ donation. Click HERE to read more and back the project.
– THE TEAM –
– THE TEAM –
DIRECTOR & PRODUCER - JAMES W. NEWTON
James is the award-winning director of JANAPAR: LOVE ON A BIKE, a true love story that follows one man’s life-changing journey across the Sahara Desert and his romance with an Iranian-Armenian woman. Made from 300 hours of footage and filmed in thirty-two countries it won major awards including Best Adventure Film at the 62nd Trento Film Festival 2014.
Follow James's work at jamesnewtonfilms.com
CO PRODUCER - NATALIE HEWIT
Natalie is an experienced specialist factual producer, passionate about finding engaging ways to tell stories. She has extensive experience filming with vulnerable people and has worked across both single films and major series such as The BBC's Truth About. Natalie freelances for some of Britain’s most successful production companies and she’s also a Guinness World Record-Breaker!
OUTREACH PRODUCER - CLAIRE RATINON
Claire is a documentary producer who has worked in both the US and UK. Her past work includes producing independent documentary (Almost Sunrise, The Happiest Place), crowdfunding consultation, docu-style videos for corporate clients and developing an afterschool program with Brooklyn based non-profit, Old School Films. Claire holds an O1 (Alien of Extraordinary Talent) Visa so continues to work for US-based companies despite having recently re-located back to London.
Follow Claire's work at claireratinon.com
CYSTIC FIBROSIS TRUST
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is the UK's only national charity dealing with all aspects of cystic fibrosis, from funding research into life-changing treatments to driving up standards of care and offering support for everyone affected by this devastating condition. Throughout her life, the Trust supported Sam and her family; and Sam and Luke’s story featured in the Trust’s ‘Hope For More’ report, which launched their campaign for a national lung allocation system.
Oli Lewington, the Trust’s Engagement Director who himself has CF, said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting such a powerful film that stands as testament to the amazing life that Sam led and the legacy she left behind.”
LIVE LIFE GIVE LIFE
Live Life, Give Life is a charity dedicated to encouraging people to register as organ donors, as well as funding initiatives to improve the welfare of (and outcome for) patients in need or receipt of organ tissue transplants. Luke is a trustee for LLGL and personally supports their important work of increasing awareness about the organ donor shortage and actively trying to make the conversation around organ donation more positive and hopeful.
Dying Matters aims to raise public awareness about the importance of talking more openly about dying, death and bereavement and of making plans for the end of life. Led by the National Council for Palliative Care, the Dying Matters Coalition has over 30,000 members and is free to join.
Joe Levenson, Director of Communications for the Dying Matters Coalition said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting ‘A Love Worth Giving’, and very much hope that the film encourages people to consider registering as an organ donor and sharing their decision with those close to them. Talking more openly about dying may not always be easy, but it’s the best way of ensuring that your wishes are met and that your legacy lives on after you have died.”