05 October 2014

Former Mil-Vlogger to Fund Bone-Marrow, PTSD Film

Kenneth J. Raimondi is a former U.S. Air Force combat correspondent and video-blogger with 13 years of service, and was part of a multimedia team that conducted a 2010 tour downrange titled "30 Days Through Afghanistan." Now, he and a fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in film classmate David Pinkston, are seeking to crowd-fund a feature-length story about other service-related passions: blood-marrow donation and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.).

A year after returning from Afghanistan, Raimondi was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a bone marrow disease. "I would ultimately need a bone marrow transplant. Thankfully, there was a match on the bone marrow registry, and when Cameron was called, he gave and saved my life," Ramondi writes. "The bone marrow transplant ultimately ended my military career, but set me on a path to filmmaking." A blog Ramondi wrote during the match and donation process is available here.

A Kickstarter fund-raising campaign page for Raimondi's film project, titled "Her Unlikely Kin," is here.

The effort ends Wed., Oct. 15. A Facebook page for the film is here.

A synopsis of Raimondi's feature film project reads:
Sarah Rassi is running out of options. She needs a bone marrow transplant and her only match on the registry is troubled war veteran, Peyton Sinclair. Can Peyton overcome his own battles with PTSD to step up and save Sarah's life? "Her Unlikely Kin" tells the story of two strangers, who by rare genetic chance, can offer each other new life.
"My goal is to make people aware of the miracle of bone marrow transplants. I want to show people that doctors and medicine are great, but that the cure for another human being may very well rest in your marrow. You can save someone's life," writes Raimondi. "I hope 'Her Unlikely Kin' shows this in a dramatic way that hits people in a way no commercial or news story can."

"I also intend to show a veteran with PTSD as a hero, not a victim. PTSD does exist, but it does not define you."

Because of health requirements for donation, Active- and Reserve-Component personnel represent a highly desirable population for DNA registry. Registry drives are often conducted through military installations and organizations, and more than 700,000 service members and Department of Defense civilians are currently registered. Blood marrow is only donated after a successful match is identified.

If you've ever had your cheek swabbed by Uncle Sam, you may already be registered as a potential donor. The "Be The Match Registry" is the new name for the National Marrow Donor Program (N.M.D.P.) registry. The non-profit organization is based in Minneapolis, Minn. To check to see whether you are already registered as a potential donor, click here, or call 1-800-MARROW-3.

There are also smaller national registries, which are listed here.

If funded, filming and other production of "Her Unlikely Kin" will take place in San Antonio, Texas.

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