A Love Worth Giving

A Love Worth Giving is a documentary that tells Sam and my story. The Director, James Newton, is a close friend of ours, so when Sam was listed for a transplant we wanted to document our journey and make a film to raise awareness.

 

A Love Worth Giving tells the real-life story of newlyweds Sam and Luke – a young couple madly in love. But Sam has Cystic Fibrosis and her health is getting worse, her only hope of survival is a double lung transplant.

 

We allowed James to film our wait for a double lung transplant and also recorded home-made video blogs to paint a personal picture of life living with Cystic Fibrosis and waiting for that life-saving telephone call.

Along the way we had several potential calls for a transplant but Sam just couldn’t wait any longer. After 3 years and 3 months Sam’s lungs failed and she passed away, still in need of a transplant. Her death profoundly changed me and I began painting in my grief.

Sometime later, James and I began filming again, determined to complete Sam’s original work. James was able to capture aspects of my journey after Sam’s death and my channeling of my emotion into art as I came to terms with our short life together.

In 2015, after completing filming James needed funds to see the film finalised and released to the public to the standard which we felt it deserved. We ran a kickstarter campaign and thankfully, due to the generosity of our supporters, raised over £15,000 to complete the film. As an incentive for high-level donors I agreed to paint a number of commissions as a reward, which will be featured on Art Transplant – so watch this space.

To watch the trailer, or sign up to get the release in December, please visit A Love Worth Giving.

ALWG-poster

 

Art Transplanted at the Brompton

Captured in the film ‘A Love Worth Giving’ and shortly after Sam passed away, I began working on my largest piece to date. There is a location halfway up a bridleway towards Moundsmere Manor, in Preston Candover, where Sam and I lived. Sam grew up seeing this very vista when walking the family dog. The spot from which you can overlook farmland and beautiful Hampshire countryside was known to family as ‘second gateway’.  I wanted to immortilise this view from this location, where some of Sam’s ashes were subsequently scattered and a cherry-blossom tree planted in memorium, in oils. After several months of painting from the depths of my soul, I created “Second Gateway”.

LukeAYates

At five by four feet in size, it occupied most of my living room. I held onto it as long as I could, exhibited it as part of the Art Transplant exhibition at Magdalen College, and hanging it in my house, but I couldn’t keep it. The last time Sam saw this view, she was too unwell to climb the hill to get to it. At the time Sam was on oxygen 24/7 and needed a wheelchair to get around. So I pushed her to the second gateway. We sat and ‘breathed in’ the view. I felt that the peace it gave Sam could give peace to other cystic fibrosis sufferers. In November 2014, “Second Gateway” was donated to the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK. It was specifically gifted to Foulis Ward, where Sam received excellent care and where she sadly lost her fight with Cystic Fibrosis. The painting now belongs to Royal Brompton and Harefield Arts and is part of their collection and has the Keatsian quote “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” from Ode to a Grecian Urn (one of Sam’s favourite Keats’ poems) beside it.

My hope is that during the stress and trauma of hospital admissions, patients and families may be able to escape, if only for a short while, whilst peering into this painting. I hope that it brings them just as much peace as it did Sam.

Exhibition at Magdalen College, Oxford

Art Transplant’s First Exhibition

After spending months painting I had amassed an impressive 15 pieces, I now wanted to exhibit these and raise awareness by sharing my story. Through the generosity of by PhD supervisor, Profesor Rob Gilbert, and with the help of friends and colleagues at Oxford University, I held my first solo Art Transplant exhibition at the Grove Auditorium, Magdalen College. This was a unique solo exhibition aiming to increase awareness surrounding the need for organ donors and to encourage people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and/or promote conversation about their donation decision with family and friends.

The exhibition opened with a private viewing with friends and family, with a drinks reception and beautiful music played a string and quartet, courtesy of yet more friends. It was very well attended, with charity representatives and local press also managing to make appearances – I couldn’t have been more pleased with outcome.

Art Transplant exhibition opening night

Art Transplant exhibition opening night

The exhibition opening was held on Friday the 28th of February and was open to the public on Saturday the 1st and the 15th of March 2014. The ITV interview for the exhibtion can be watched here (watch)