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Published on June 13, 2022

Lights, Camera, Action! CNN Cameras Roll Inside Cape Cod Hospital Lights, Camera, Action! CNN Cameras Roll Inside Cape Cod Hospital

Cape Cod Health News story inspires national news channel to cover Sebastian Junger’s remarkable story about blood donations saving his life

It’s not every day a producer from a national news channel reaches out to Cape Cod Hospital seeking to cover a feel-good, inspirational story. But after reading a Cape Cod Health News article earlier this year about author Sebastian Junger’s near-death experience at Cape Cod Hospital and how blood donations saved his life, Martha Shade of CNN was inspired to travel from Atlanta to Hyannis to cover his story.

Since Junger lives in New York and only visits his Truro home part of the year, it took months of texts, phone calls and emails to coordinate schedules to film Junger donating blood, a sit-down interview and B-roll footage. One morning during April school vacation week, the stars aligned and the cameras started rolling inside Cape Cod Hospital.

“From the beginning of reading the article to reaching out to Cape Cod Healthcare, things couldn’t have gone any better,” says Shade, a producer at CNN Special Projects. “It’s really nice dealing with people who help me put out the best story possible.”

The name of the series is called “The Human Factor” with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. As Shade explains, Junger’s story fit the premise of the show’s model—a story where someone experienced a tragic event, recovered remarkably and then turned it into something positive with an element of giving back for the greater good.

Filming took place in several locations inside the hospital—the Nicholas G. Xiarhos Blood Donor Center, the Lorusso Board Room, in one of the hallways and in front of the hospital. Shade arrived a day early to scope out parking, locations and lighting, and plot out the timeline for the next day of filming. During her first visit to the hospital, Shade was pleasantly surprised to discover that Hyannis Harbor, a perfect setting for a scenic backdrop, was steps away from the hospital. “I was able to get a lot of bang for my buck because I was able to shoot in multiple locations close in proximity to one another.”

Author Sebastian Junger, pictured with the blood donor center and lab team, participated in a CNN segment filmed at Cape Cod Hospital in April.

Junger/CNN Behind the Scenes

Author Sebastian Junger, pictured with the blood donor center and lab team, participated in a CNN segment filmed at Cape Cod Hospital in April.

Junger/CNN Behind the Scenes

Author Sebastian Junger, pictured with the blood donor center and lab team, participated in a CNN segment filmed at Cape Cod Hospital in April.

Junger/CNN Behind the Scenes

Author Sebastian Junger, pictured with the blood donor center and lab team, participated in a CNN segment filmed at Cape Cod Hospital in April.

Junger/CNN Behind the Scenes

Author Sebastian Junger, pictured with the blood donor center and lab team, participated in a CNN segment filmed at Cape Cod Hospital in April.

The day of filming began around 8 a.m. inside the blood donor center. Apheresis technician Teri Lotterhand was actively on hand during the interview, masterfully handling a platelet donation in progress and two blood donations in the blood center—a hub of activity that morning.

Shade was even inspired to roll up her sleeve and give blood alongside Junger. “I had been reading about the nation’s blood shortages, and how much need there is, and feeling guilty that I hadn’t given over the course of the pandemic,” says Shade, adding this was a first for her—interviewing a subject and giving blood at the same time. “Since I was going to be in a blood donation clinic with someone else giving blood, why shouldn’t I give? I was happy to donate a pint of blood to the Cape Cod Community.”

After Shade and Junger wrapped up filming in the blood donor center, they headed to the Lorusso Board Room for a traditional sit-down interview, and later, captured some “hero shots” at Hyannis Harbor. Hero shots feature a near freeze-frame of the subject looking directly at the camera. “The person is literally the hero of the piece,” says Shade. “Sebastian was just a dream to work with, from beginning to end. He is such an engaging storyteller.”

More than two hours of footage produced an under-two minute segment. “Normally,” says Shade, “this segment would take eight hours, but Junger was on time crunch, so I was mindful of his time.”

“This trip was a great opportunity because although my primary concern was covering an interesting story, it’s sure nice when a story happens in a beautiful place,” says Shade, adding she also visited Martha’s Vineyard for a couple of days. “After you’re done wrapping for the day, you can enjoy Cape Cod!”

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