April 8, 2015 by sharonbrennan
A film producer recently got in touch with me – asking if I would help spread the word of a short documentary about transplant that they are currently raising funds for through kickstarter. You can view the trailer here.
She said it was of Sam Yates. And when she emailed she had no idea that I used to know her.
See that’s the thing about Sam, she was such a force of optimism and strength that she touched so many lives – and if you met her once you remembered her.
I only knew her for three months (and we never hugged or even shook hands as we weren’t allowed to mix because of cross infection risks) yet she had a massive impact on me just because she was so kind. During my assessment for transplant I was told that I would likely wait 2-3 years for a transplant, and I was devastated as I knew I couldn’t hang on that long.
Sam was the first woman to message me and pick me up when I was in despair. She didn’t do it by pretending everything was going to be ok, but she let me voice my fear that I truly felt I was going to die. I will never forget that kindness she showed me and the strength it must have taken to do so, as at that point her life was hanging in the balance much more than mine.
This documentary was begun while Sam was waiting on the double-lung transplant waiting list and all her family believed she would get her second chance at life. But she never got her call for new lungs. The day she died it was snowing and I like to think it was because the world was bereft at her loss.
Sam’s legacy around transplant is astonishing. The chances of getting a transplant now have increased and I am in no doubt that I owe my new life and my new lungs partly to her unfailingly determination to spread the word about the importance of organ donation. But the reality still is that one in three people still die waiting for a transplant they never received which is why this film is so important.
There’s so much more to Sam than I can say, but I’d love you hear her tell her story in her own words, and as the documentary continues after her death, through the words of her husband Luke who has had to find a way forward in life when his grief was all consuming.
If you are able to, please support this kickstarter fund – and do so soon as the it closes on 23rd April. it will be a truly astonishing film showing what it is to love with all your heart, stay strong with all your ability and find a path forward even in the deepest of griefs. I truly hope this film gets the funding it needs as it would be a privilege for you all if you got to meet Sam. She is truly an unforgettable woman.
Sam and Luke