New Film Helps Kidney Foundation Bring Attention to Organ Donation

With a set of PSAs running with the new Warner Brothers film Going In Style, the National Kidney Foundation hopes to shed light on kidney health and organ donation.

Going in Style, a film starring Hollywood heavyweights Alan Arkin, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman, hit theaters nationwide on April 7. Over the weekend, the movie not only brought in $12.5 million nationwide, but it also put a spotlight on kidney health with a set of three different PSAs from the National Kidney Foundation.

The PSAs “call attention to our living donation web page and invite moviegoers to donate via a texting campaign,” said NKF’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing Dolores Machuca-Ruiz. “The Big Ask: The Big Give, a major program of NKF, promotes awareness of living kidney donation for both the kidney patients who have difficulty asking someone to consider a kidney donation—The Big Ask—and potential donors—The Big Give—in need of support.”

“You can learn how to ask family, friends, even total strangers for help,” said the film’s director, Zach Braff, in the PSA. “Many people won’t get a transplant simply because they don’t know how to ask.”

Although Going in Style is a comedy—featuring a trio of aging men planning a bank heist—its storyline illustrates a serious need among kidney patients. Freeman’s character, Willie, is secretly battling kidney disease and is running out of time to find a kidney donor.

“Living organ donation simply put is about extending someone’s live, and to have a brand like Warner Brothers Pictures support the NKF’s mission was quite honestly an extraordinary opportunity for us,” Machuca-Ruiz said. “With nearly 100,000 Americans on the wait list for a kidney transplant, organ donation is vital to the foundation’s mission.”

She said that NKF has been working with Warner Brothers on the PSAs since fall 2016. Warner Bros. Pictures, who produced the PSAs pro bono, was conscientious in getting the right message across.

“The studio was extremely diligent in wanting to ensure that the PSA they produced really helped audiences ‘connect the dots’ and understand the power of living organ donation,” Machuca-Ruiz said.

The PSAs will air in theaters nationwide through April, which also happens to be National Donate Life Month. NKF secured the PSA spots for free through partnerships with cinema advertising networks Screenvision Media and National CineMedia.

“With the support of legendary actors and an iconic brand, our hope is that the conversation about kidney health and organ donation is brought to the national forefront,” Machuca-Ruiz said. “And perhaps many of those filmgoers will be motivated to consider living organ donation and help spread the message to friends, family members, and acquaintances.”


A scene from "Going In Style," starring, from right, Alan Arkin, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. (YouTube screenshot)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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