NJTV’s news program NJ Today will broadcast a three-part series this week about a Montclair State University student and heart transplant recipient Ryan Miller and his journey to meet the donor’s family in Bermuda.
Miller produced the documentary, along with Lindsay Rassmann, both broadcasting students at MSU.
When Miller was 16, a chest x-ray revealed that he had a condition called non-compaction hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart. He needed a heart transplant to save his life.
After several weeks on a waiting list, doctors finally found a donor in Januray 2008, a 15-year-old boy named Dakarai Tucker who had suffered a fatal brain aneurism.
The transplant saved Miller’s life, and last year, the Tucker family sent Miller a letter asking to meet him.
Miller flew down to Bermuda in February, along with fellow broadcasting students Rassmann, Ian Elliott and their professor, Steve McCarthy, who oversaw the film project.
Each segment of Ryan’s Heart on NJ Today will be accompanied by an interview connected to the story.
On Wednesday, Managing Editor Mike Schneider will sit down with Dr. Mark Zucker, who performed Ryan’s transplant. On Thursday, he will speak with a program director from an organ and tissue donation organization. On Friday, Miller will join Schneider in-studio to discuss his transplant experience, the journey to meet the donor’s family and making the broadcast piece.
April is “National Donate Life Month”, and Miller hoped that his journey would raise awareness about the need for organ and tissue donors in the United States.