Welsh Blood Service
A heartfelt spotlight on the power of donating bone marrow
It’s not often you get the chance to meet the person who saved your life. In fact, according to the Welsh Blood Service, there is only a 70% chance of finding a matching bone marrow donor in the first place, so to have that person less than an hour's drive away from you is and it’s even rarer. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Robert Morgan & Tom Heaven.
In 2017, Robert was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood cancer stopping the body from creating healthy cells, and his only chance of surviving was to receive a bone marrow transplant — and 30-year-old Tom was a perfect match. And as it turns out, they were both living in South Wales.
Traditionally, recipients have to wait two years until they can get in contact with their donors, but due to the pandemic, it ended up being over four years until the duo were able to meet. To mark this momentous occasion, as well as launching Welsh Blood Service's #ChilledOutLifesaver campaign, we were asked to create an emotive short film urging more people to join the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry to help other patients in need.
This was going to be a profound and personal moment for both Robert & Tom, so the last thing we wanted to do is make things feel forced and cheesy, and so we made sure to keep things as unrehearsed as possible to capture the raw emotion of the day.
One thing we wanted also to reflect was Robert's newfound health, and the effect that vital blood donations can create, so we knew that we wanted to film outside and in a natural setting. Normally in South Wales, that can be a bit of a challenge, but thankfully we were set to film in August so we were able to pick the lush and picturesque Llanerch Vineyard to serve as a backdrop as we conducted individual interviews and character cutaways, all building up to when they both come together for the very first time.
Throughout the day we opted for a multi-cam approach so that we could capture everything that we could without being constantly in their faces (especially during the big moment) and have a whole suite of angles we could use for the final edit.
Back in the studio, we coupled the footage with an emotionally-led soundtrack and a grade that brought out the warmth of the environment to create a film that reflected the importance of not only this donation but all life-saving donations.