Most people are unaware that there are currently 15,000 Americans in need of a bone marrow transplant, while only 2% of eligible Americans are registered donors. To become a potential donor, all it takes is a simple swab of your cheek and you could give someone a second chance at life.
While filming the recovery of my good friend and mentor, Joselyn Miller, a bone marrow recipient, I became increasingly intrigued with the need to increase potential donors and I myself joined the Be The Match registry. Due to Joselyn's appreciation of her second chance at life, a friendly competition developed between Joselyn, her husband Todd, and I, to cross off items on our respective bucketlists. One item on my bucket list was to walk across America. During the walk, I will be documenting encounters with bone marrow recipients, donors, family members of recipients, doctors as well as the people I meet in towns along the cross country adventure.
The film will feature my personal challenge of walking 3,200 miles from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California, and the experiences that unravel along the way. I have been trained to personally swab and register potential donors, which you will see in the film. My goal is to increase the number of registered donors by 600 by the end of my cross-country walk.
Your donation will be split 50/50 to help me pay for the food, water and the occasional housing that I’ll need to complete the 7 month walk from coast to coast; the other half going toward the cost of post production of the documentary, which will include editing, music rights, animation, the production of DVD's and more. I have assumed responsibility for all upfront costs of equipment for the trek such as a tent, push cart, sleeping bag, proper clothing etc. I have also assumed responsibility for the cost of all film, lighting, and sound equipment for the film.
I hope you will still consider contributing to my project even if the funding goal has been met. All additional funds will help to enhance the quality of the film and expand awareness about the need for bone marrow donors and the ease with which one can become a potential donor.
Risks and challenges
The fact is that I have very few fears in life and have taken numerous risks, from sky diving (with Joselyn), to swimming with schools of hammerhead sharks, to traveling alone throughout numerous third world countries. However, I am about to walk at least 3,200 miles of "unknown" territory. Thus, my biggest challenge is the fear - though I am confident I will show myself that it was unfounded, my fear is not completing the journey. The project is a risk, walking 3,200+ miles and committing to soliciting the interest and commitment of 600 people whom I have yet to meet, as well as addressing thousands of people on local news and radio outlets across the country about what I'm doing and why. It just seems logical that I should fear such risky business. That said, I have spent endless hours training, reading, working with professionals at REI to ensure that I have adequate equipment and supplies, and surrounding myself with incredibly supportive family and friends. Furthermore, I have a goal. If I save 1 life by adding potential donors to the Be the Match Registry, I will have endured any and all obstacles; I will have achieved my goal.
Then there are the mountain lions, tigers and bears -- oh, my! Not really tigers, but definitely bears. The challenge will be that I can reach for my bear mace rapidly enough to make them disinterested. There are also coyotes, raccoons, snakes, mosquitos, bees, human beings, cars, trucks, fatigue, dehydration, pneumonia, elevation sickness, being stranded in the desert, flash floods, soreness, injury, blisters, sunburn, disease, sciatica, finding a place to sleep...and, then, there is Mother Nature. I know the weather is unpredictable and extremely dangerous. I'm prepared.
Another significant challenge is my lifestyle. I am an extremely social being. While I am aware that loneliness is a real possibility, I have talked with myself about it and think I am disciplined in a way that I will learn to embrace it. At the same time, while I tell myself that I will listen to tunes, I accept that I cannot sacrifice my awareness as I am walking on the narrow shoulder of a road. I have committed to not wearing headphones while walking. To some extent I am the challenge. I am a risk taker, so I need to be certain not to challenge authority, for example, when I have the urge to walk on an interstate highway because I am tired from encountering resupply issues on small roads. Breaking the law would contradict my mission.
No matter how many devices I have with me, signals will get spotty and google maps are not always perfect to say nothing of the fact that the names of roads change. A good old fashioned road atlas is in order and I hope I don't lose it before I get to a gas station that still carries them.
I am confident in my skills as a filmmaker, photographer, world traveler and social activist, and with your generous contributions, I will do my best to not only film a compelling and inspirational film, but also to represent Be The Match. I plan to enter this film in film festivals across the country as well as a few festivals overseas. To see my previous work, feel free to youtube and vimeo my name, add me on social media outlets, and check out my website, www.TheEntirePlanet.com.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)