The Film

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Pat Spurgeon, sitting on a sofa and wearing a pink polo shirt, gives the thumbs-up sign. From his left abdomen a tube runs up and to the right and out of the frame, and a water cooler is visible behind him.
Want to become a donor? Curious about the process? Find out more. True or false: The sticker on my license is enough. Test your knowledge. Pat talks about his health challenges, as well as his current musical obsessions.

Pat Spurgeon is a drummer with Rogue Wave, an indie rock band that’s toured the world and released several critically acclaimed albums. He’s passionate about his career as a professional musician, and he’s determined to not let anything stand in the way—not even a serious medical condition. Pat was born with just one kidney, which began deteriorating when he was in junior high school. He received a kidney transplant, but after 12 years, just as Rogue Wave starts to take off, that kidney begins to fail. D TOUR follows Pat’s search for a living organ donor and the myriad challenges associated with finding a viable match.

On the left side of the frame stands Zach Rogue singing into a microphone and strumming a guitar on a dark stage during a show. On the right, Pat Spurgeon straps on a bass guitar.

At age 41, Pat is faced with the possibility of having his lifelong dream of touring with a rock band vanish. Dialysis again becomes part of his daily regimen, raising the question of whether he could—or should—even continue touring with Rogue Wave. After much soul-searching and discussion, the band members make a business decision to keep Pat on, adjusting their travel arrangements with a focus on his health. With so much time devoted to “doing a D,” or dialysis, Pat begins referring to the band’s tour as the “D tour.”

Dialysis does not cure kidney disease, and Pat is put on the national registry list to receive a kidney if and when one becomes available. In 2006, the chance of receiving a kidney from a matching donor is twenty-to-one and the wait is expected to be six years. Finding a living donor could shorten the wait, but finding the perfect match, especially within the U.S. health care system, proves to be an urgent, difficult and often emotional experience.

Featuring live performances from Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Nada Surf, John Vanderslice, The Moore Brothers and Rogue Wave, D TOUR chronicles Pat’s experience coping with his condition, and his fierce resolve to go on with a “normal” life despite living with an uncertain future.


In September 2009, filmmaker Jim Granato reported:

Pat Spurgeon continues on with his busy rock-and-roll schedule, feeling healthy and with no major side effects or setbacks. He hopes to continue to spread the good word about organ donation through the band or any opportunities that arise.

Rogue Wave recently finished recording their fourth album, which is due out in the spring of 2010. The band will tour extensively in support of it throughout most of next year.

Jill Nielsen-Farrell lives in Indiana with her family, teaching yoga and working as a grant writer for the regional hospital in Bloomington.

Heather Ramsay lives in Vancouver, British Columbia and works as a public safety dispatcher.

Brenda Smith lives in Arizona with her family. She sees Rogue Wave every time they travel through.

Watch Jim Granato’s 2009 interview with Pat Spurgeon >>

Take the Donation Myths & Realities Quiz >>

Read The Making Of >>

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