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Okanagan filmmaker brings awareness to organ donation with new documentary

‘Because I Can’ follows the story of Penticton resident Sheley Hunt

With one in 10 people across Canada affected by some level of Kidney disease, Kelowna filmmaker Ryan Tebbutt knew there needed to be a higher awareness about the disease and the organ donation crisis that exists in the country.

Tebbutt’s latest documentary “Because I Can” follows the story of Sheley Hunt, a mother of two young boys from Penticton, who co-founded a nationwide campaign for organ donation education after she discovered that she could save the life of someone she never met.

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 as Aidyn.

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

“‘Because I Can’ is a profound and inspirational story that focuses 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, back in November. “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.”

Now this documentary can meet the eyes of many viewers as the the film is streaming on Telus Originals.

Tebbutt hopes this free documentary will help bring more awareness to the issue and in turn help to save more lives like Aidyn’s.

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