Elmore Magazine - Suzanne Cadgène

Sarah_McQuaid_Elmore_Magazine_2018MUSIC NEWS PREMIERE: Sarah McQuaid digs deep
A way to live on, after we’re gone

Abbey Conner died at age 20. Five months later, to spread awareness about the importance of organ donation, Abbey’s father Bill bicycled from his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where Broward Health Medical Center had recovered Abbey’s organs for donation. 1,400 miles into his journey, in Baton Rouge, Conner met with 21-year-old Loumonth Jack Jr.; Jack had been given ten days to live before he was saved by Abbey’s heart.

Jack pulled out a stethoscope so that Conner could hear his daughter’s heartbeat for the first time since she died. The family made a recording of Jack’s heart for Conner to listen to as he continued his journey.

“I was struck by the simple humanity of the act,” said award-winning filmmaker Brett Harvey, “and the notion that we live on through others after we pass away.” Harvey based a short film on the Conner family story, and used singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid’s poignant song “Slow Decay” as the soundtrack (though he might also have considered “Break Me Down,” with the lyric “If my organs are of use, I hope they find a happy home.”).

In his beautifully rendered film, a mother (played by Mary Woodvine) undertakes a bicycle journey, intercut with flashbacks of her daughter’s short life. “I had wanted to tell a version of this story for a while,” Harvey said, “and as soon as I heard Sarah’s beautiful song I knew it was the right fit.”

Sarah McQuaid told Elmore “Brett did such a beautiful job on the video, and I’m so glad that he spotted the connection between the lyrics of my song and the true story he’s based the video on. I think it conveys an important message, and I hope people will be inspired by it to register as organ donors if they haven’t already done so.”

The video is due for release March 30.

Learn more about Bill Conner’s organ donation project, Donate Life, HERE