The goal of the Ultimate Sharing Challenge, AKA, the Organ Donor Advocacy Project, is to create an awareness campaign that will utilize digital and social media to inform, educate, and inspire change in the thinking and behavior associated with prevailing narratives on the subject of becoming a transplant organ donor.

The Problem

Twenty some people die each day waiting on transplant organs that never arrive.  This particular problem cuts across all ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic demographics; even Steve Jobs had to search for a year to find a candidate who was willing and able to step up and provide him with a liver transplant.  Hall of Fame football player Walter Payton died waiting on a donor kidney.  Due to a number of factors, diverse and disenfranchised populations are especially hard hit by the problem.

The Imperative

Hearing the stories of those who die waiting are not only tragic, they are essentially unnecessary.  This is primarily an awareness problem that can be diminished and eventually eliminated entirely, through aggressive and innovative media campaigns such as the one we are proposing here.

Project title Ultimate Sharing Challenge was inspired by the 2014 internet viral phenomena that was The Ice Bucket Challenge. That effort raised awareness and nearly 100 million dollars for victims of ALS in a matter of weeks.

The estimated number of people in the United States who have ALS is 20,000. The number of people currently on a waiting list for life saving organs is 120,000 and growing. The comparison is noteworthy in terms of the number of individuals impacted directly and indirectly.

The Challenge

Our challenge does not ask participants to share videos of themselves pouring buckets of ice water over their heads, we are challenging you to save lives by becoming organ donors.

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http://organdonor.gov/register.html

Register On-line to become an Organ Donor

If for whatever reason, you did not check the organ donor box on your drivers license or perhaps do not have a drivers license and would like to register on-line, you can do so by clicking the above link.  It’s fast, easy, thoughtful, generous, kind, and most importantly, it can save up to eight lives and help up to fifty! And it’s a wonderful legacy to leave behind you after you’re gone.

The Ultimate Sharing Challenge

The campaign will feature content creators and performers enlisted from social media platforms, as well as the music, film, and sports communities in Minnesota, and in Los Angeles.

The Treatment

The media created will not simply be documentaries or public service announcements, like the myriad print and digital testimonials that have proven to hold little or no interest amongst targeted audiences.

Diverse and indigenous communities will be engaged, enlisted, and employed, as collaborators in the development and creation of compelling digital content. These creations will take the form of video and audio primarily, utilizing some of the same innovative production values featured in high-end commercials, contemporary songs, music videos, and in social media memes.

The Scope

The pilot effort will initially span approximately two years.  The project will also include the enlistment and employment of a diverse group of consultants, spokespersons, and crew; including student interns, who will help coordinate outreach presentations within schools and colleges.

 

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Having written, directed, and produced; commercials, music videos, public service announcements, documentaries, webisodes, and features, Daniel Appleby is uniquely suited to spearhead the production part of this effort.

Previous to working as a Writers Guild of America screenwriter and script doctor in the Los Angeles film industry for the past several years, Appleby worked with human service agencies creating media campaigns that tackled subjects like family violence, teen prostitution, battered women, and smuggling contraband into the prison systems.

His work within United Way Agencies including Saint Paul’s Inner City Youth League pioneered the employment of student interns recruited from inner city schools as on camera talent and crew on professional video productions in and around the Twin Cities.

More recently, Appleby worked on the Bernie Sanders campaign which effectively utilized social media to reach and inspire diverse groups and individuals to become involved in the political process in some cases for the first time.

That work, coupled with the death of a friend, motivated Appleby to become an organ donor advocate and live organ donor, donating one of his own healthy kidneys to Randy Adamsick, the co-author of this proposal.

Randy Adamsick was executive director of the Minnesota Film Board from 1990-2001during a time when feature film, television and commercial production were at an all time high here in Minnesota.  He currently works at the Chicago History Museum as the Director Of Institutional Advancement.

Like most victims of genetic polycystic kidney disease, Randy had no family donors who could be of any help due to their own susceptibility to the disease which is why he turned to social media in and effort to find a Live Organ Donor.

After nearly 20 years of no contact between Appleby and Adamsick, Appleby happened upon Adamsick’s Facebook post and was compelled to step up and donate one of his own healthy kidneys to his old friend who is currently living and working in Illinois where the average wait on a kidney transplant is 7 years.

Going through the transplant process which included having to watch poorly conceived and produced media, sensitized both Appleby and Adamsick to the urgency of the problem, while also inspiring them to begin thinking in terms of what they might do to help solve it.

Consequently, they began a series of dialogues with advocates, surgeons, doctors, and nurses, in Minneapolis and Chicago who who also see the need for more innovative approaches to addressing the problem. Some of these same individuals will contribute their expertise as consultants and collaborators on the project.

We are happy to announce that we have established a partnership with the National Kidney Foundation of Minnesota to share resources in order to maximize our collective efforts to address the organ donor shortage. NKF MN Executive Director Jennifer Lauerman is a leader in donor advocacy community and has agreed to join our team to help create, produce and launch the social media messages in local and national media outlets and at major sporting events. She is the former Director of Marketing at the Mall of America.