Heart to Heart with Anna

Anniversary of a Heart Documentary

April 14, 2020 Jeni Busta and James Eric Season 15 Episode 13
Heart to Heart with Anna
Anniversary of a Heart Documentary
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Heart to Heart with Anna
Anniversary of a Heart Documentary
Apr 14, 2020 Season 15 Episode 13
Jeni Busta and James Eric

Ten years ago two strangers met at a camp for children born with heart defects and became fast friends. The seed of a project was also planted at that time. In this episode of "Heart to Heart with Anna," we'll meet Producer, Director, and Sound Technician James Eric and Heart Warrior Jeni Bust as they share with Anna what it was like to create a documentary about Jeni's life.

James Eric is a heart patient, a director and the producer of Journey’s Beginning, a documentary about Jeni Busta and her life with hypoplastic left heart syndrome or HLHS.

James was a sound technician, producer, writer and director in Hollywood, California until he had a heart attack in 2008. After recovering from quad bypass surgery, he met counselors and campers from Camp Del Corazon on the set of ER and volunteered at the camp the following year. That’s where he met Jeni Busta and learned that a person could actually live with half a heart. A year later, Mr. Eric’s cousin and his wife discovered they were expecting a little girl with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (or HLHS), and decided to continue the pregnancy despite advice from others to terminate.

Jeni and James took a road trip to Colorado to meet his cousin and their daughter. They filmed the journey and created the documentary almost 10 years ago.

Jeni Busta was born with HLHS in 1985. She had her Norwood Procedure at 1 day of age and the Fontan Procedure at 17 months of age. She received a pacemaker when she was 3 years old and has had numerous pacemaker replacements and heart catheterizations since then. Jeni, her parents Jill and Paul Sorensen, and her husband Nick Busta have all been strong advocates in the congenital heart defect community. Perhaps the biggest project for Jeni, to date, has been her participation in the making of the documentary Journey’s Beginning.

To view this documentary, use this link: https://youtu.be/JisLUAfTATc
On Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Journeys-Beginning-119486121504657/

Here are links of other programs with Jeni Busta mentioned in this episode:

Adults with Congenital Heart Defects Finding Love:  https://tinyurl.com/vr25msb

Surviving the Teenage Years with a Congenital Heart Defect:  https://tinyurl.com/w49uuz3


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Show Notes Transcript

Ten years ago two strangers met at a camp for children born with heart defects and became fast friends. The seed of a project was also planted at that time. In this episode of "Heart to Heart with Anna," we'll meet Producer, Director, and Sound Technician James Eric and Heart Warrior Jeni Bust as they share with Anna what it was like to create a documentary about Jeni's life.

James Eric is a heart patient, a director and the producer of Journey’s Beginning, a documentary about Jeni Busta and her life with hypoplastic left heart syndrome or HLHS.

James was a sound technician, producer, writer and director in Hollywood, California until he had a heart attack in 2008. After recovering from quad bypass surgery, he met counselors and campers from Camp Del Corazon on the set of ER and volunteered at the camp the following year. That’s where he met Jeni Busta and learned that a person could actually live with half a heart. A year later, Mr. Eric’s cousin and his wife discovered they were expecting a little girl with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (or HLHS), and decided to continue the pregnancy despite advice from others to terminate.

Jeni and James took a road trip to Colorado to meet his cousin and their daughter. They filmed the journey and created the documentary almost 10 years ago.

Jeni Busta was born with HLHS in 1985. She had her Norwood Procedure at 1 day of age and the Fontan Procedure at 17 months of age. She received a pacemaker when she was 3 years old and has had numerous pacemaker replacements and heart catheterizations since then. Jeni, her parents Jill and Paul Sorensen, and her husband Nick Busta have all been strong advocates in the congenital heart defect community. Perhaps the biggest project for Jeni, to date, has been her participation in the making of the documentary Journey’s Beginning.

To view this documentary, use this link: https://youtu.be/JisLUAfTATc
On Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Journeys-Beginning-119486121504657/

Here are links of other programs with Jeni Busta mentioned in this episode:

Adults with Congenital Heart Defects Finding Love:  https://tinyurl.com/vr25msb

Surviving the Teenage Years with a Congenital Heart Defect:  https://tinyurl.com/w49uuz3


Please take a moment to follow us on your preferred social media platforms:

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If you enjoy this program and would like to be a Patron, please check out our Patreon page  (https://www.patreon.com/HeartToHeart)

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James Eric:   0:00
Jeni has faced things that she just couldn't do in her life and still moved on and still persevered. And that's a testament to her faith in character. And that's really what the documentary's about.

Anna Jaworski:   0:23
Welcome to the 15th season of "Heart to Heart with Anna," I am Anna Jaworski and the host of your program. Today's show is "An Anniversary of A Heart Documentary," and our guests are James Eric and Jeni Busta. James Eric is a heart patient, a director and the producer of "Journey's Beginning," a documentary about Jeni Busta and her life with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, or HLHS. James was a sound technician, producer, writer, and director in Hollywood, California, until he had a heart attack in 2008. After recovering from quad bypass surgery he met counselors and campers from Camp del Corazon on the set of "E. R." and volunteered at the camp the following year. That's where he met Jeni and learned that a person could actually live with half a heart. A year later, Mr. Eric's cousin, and his wife, discovered they were expecting a little girl with HLHS and decided to continue the pregnancy despite advice from others to terminate. Jeni and James took a road trip to Colorado to meet his cousin and their daughter. They filmed the journey and created the documentary almost 10 years ago. Jeni Busta was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, or HLHS, in 1985. She had her Norwood procedure at one day of age and the Fontane procedure at 17 months of age. She received a pacemaker when she was three years old, and she has had numerous pacemaker replacements and heart catheterizations since then. Jeni, her parents Joan and Paul Sorenson and her husband, Nick Busta, have all been strong advocates in the Congenital Heart Defect community. Perhaps the biggest project for Jeni to date has been her participation in the making of the documentary "Journey's Beginning." My loyal listeners will remember Jeni from when she was on "Heart to Heart with Anna," in season one, way back in season one! She was on a program entitled "Surviving the Teenage Years with a Congenital Heart Defect." And then in season two, I had the good fortune of having Jeni and her wonderful husband, Nick, on the program entitled "Adult CHD Survivors Finding Love," and she was on that program with Lauren Bednarz and her husband so that was a fun episode. I'll have the links to those shows in the show notes for anyone who would like to listen to them. We'll start by learning a little bit more about Jeni in segment one, and segment two will meet James Eric. And in the third segment, all of us will be in the studio together, and we're going to talk about this documentary even more. So, welcome back to Heart to Heart with Anna, Jeni.

Jeni Busta:   2:57
Thank you for having me back. I'm excited to be here.

Anna Jaworski:   2:59
I am, too! I can't believe you did that documentary almost 10 years ago. Can you believe that?

Jeni Busta:   3:05
I can't believe it either. Yeah, it's amazing.

Anna Jaworski:   3:09
Well, tell me about how you met James. Eric.

Jeni Busta:   3:12
Well, James and I, well, I call him Boom because we met at a summer camp for children with heart disease. We were both co-counselors there. And we met on a night hike where one of my co-counselors, she was not feeling very well, so she needed some medical attention. And Boom was kind of like our savior of the night because he helped get people's attention, cause some of the hikers were ahead. And so he got the people's attention so that we can get the help that we needed. And so that's where we initially met and then the counselor's only, would have a campfire after the campers would go to bed. And I just thanked him personally and that's where he really got acquainted. So it was great.

Anna Jaworski:   3:53
Wow! So it was under adversity that you actually came to know each other?

Jeni Busta:   3:58
Yeah,  and just started talking and learned each other that we were Christians and talked a lot about her faith and just hung out. the rest of the camp really, and helped me get on the high ropes and the climbing wall, so that was pretty cool, too.

Anna Jaworski:   4:12
Oh, wow! Wow. I can just picture you doing that, Jeni. Oh, my goodness. Not afraid to take a challenge. That's one of the things I like about you, Jeni. You're never afraid to take a challenge. One of the things that I love about you, and your family, Is that all of you, your mother, your father, your husband, all of you have been such great advocates for the CHD community, but making a documentary. Wow, You really lose a lot of anonymity when you do that. Would you do it again today? If you had the opportunity,

Jeni Busta:   4:45
I would. I think so. But only if Boom was a part of it, of course, I was very reluctant to do it before, just cause I had experiences in the past of talking publicly and people would tell me, "well, you have to say this and say that," and thanks to Boom, I got to really talk about what I wanted to talk about for the first time, and it was all me. You know, not people telling me what to say and stuff. So it was really good experience.

Anna Jaworski:   5:14
So why did you decide to do it?

Jeni Busta:   5:17
I just thought it was a great opportunity. I was very scared, but I think it was a good opportunity for me to get my story out there the way I wanted to, and Boom really listen to what I wanted and he was very sensitive to my message and getting it out there the way I wanted to.

Anna Jaworski:   5:37
It sounds like you had a lot of good creative input into the making of the documentary.

Jeni Busta:   5:44
Yeah, I think so, I think so. Yeah, it's very unique in that it's a road trip. It was just him and I talking, and we just talked for hours, and I opened up about a lot of things that I hadn't thought about in many years.

Anna Jaworski:   5:57
Right, it didn't look scripted at all. It looked like it was just natural conversation.

Jeni Busta:   6:04
Yes, that was the whole point. I think that made it really what it was. It was like a week-long therapy session for me. It's just opening up about a lot of the hardships that came along with my journey and my story and so, it really helped me to open up for the first time, in I think, in a very unique way.

Anna Jaworski:   6:25
Right.

Jeni Busta:   6:25
But I never would have been able to otherwise.

Anna Jaworski:   6:28
Yeah, yeah. I saw in the documentary that you were able to be very introspective.

Jeni Busta:   6:34
I think so. Yeah.

Anna Jaworski:   6:36
So tell me what you learned about yourself in the making of the documentary.

Jeni Busta:   6:42
Like I said earlier, I didn't know that I had a lot of pain that I hadn't dealt with. And so, it was a really neat learning experience for me and to get a lot of the things out that I didn't know it was even there. And then, I think God used it to heal me in a way because just being able to be so outspoken about it, and being able to share my story in that way was just so amazing for me, to just be able to release a lot of the pain that I had suffered in the past. So I believe that God really used this opportunity to help me to heal of a lot of past struggles and just difficulties growing up with CHD, as well as just getting my story out there in a unique way.

Heart to Heart with Michael Promo:   7:33
"Texas Heart Institute were offering us a mechanical heart and he said, "No, Dad, I've had enough. Give it to someone who's worthy." "My father promised me a golden dress to twirl in. He held my hand and asked me where I wanted to go." "Whatever strife or conflict that we experienced in our long career together was always healed by humor." Heart to Heart with Michael... please join us every Thursday at noon Eastern as we talk with people from around the world who have experienced those most difficult moments.

Content Disclaimer:   8:02
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The opinions expressed in the podcast are not those of Hearts Unite the Globe, but of the Hosts and Guests and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to congenital heart disease or bereavement.

Questions and Comments:   8:22
You are listening to Heart to Heart with Anna. If you have a question or comment that you would like addressed on our show, please send an email to Anna Jaworski at Anna@HearttoHeartwithAnna.com. That's Anna@HearttoHeartwithAnna.com. Now back to Heart to Heart with Anna.

Anna Jaworski:   8:42
Welcome to Heart to Heart with Anna, James Eric

James Eric:   8:46
Hello. Thank you very much for having me on I appreciate it.

Anna Jaworski:   8:49
Well, I'm so excited to get to know you better. When I met you before ,it was actually in Texas, when we were -was it premiering, the documentary? Was that the first time it had been shown?

James Eric:   9:01
Yes, Joshua Bower, the producer, and I had gone out to Texas to do a screening for Xavier, and his parents. It was kind of a fundraiser. That was where we met. We went to a restaurant if I'm not mistaken.

Anna Jaworski:   9:13
We did. We went out for some great Italian food.  

James Eric:   9:16
That's what it was, I remember now! It's all a blur. It was just crazy fun.

Anna Jaworski:   9:22
Oh, I'm sure. I mean, that was a long trip for you, and it was a lot of fun. But it's been a long time. I can't believe it's been almost 10 years. That's just amazing to me.

James Eric:   9:31
I can't believe it. It's-It's been a long time and yeah. It's really something, and I think it's very cool that you're calling attention to what Jeni and I put together.

Anna Jaworski:   9:39
Well, this is timeless. This story is priceless and it's timeless. So I think that putting a spotlight on it is just what needs to happen because I think there are a lot of people who still would benefit from watching this program. But what I didn't know James, was I didn't realize that you met Jeni because you had a heart attack. Why don't we go way back to the beginning and tell me; you seem way too young to have had a heart attack already, what happened?

James Eric:   10:08
Yes, I was 41. I was the youngest kid on the ward when I was sent for my surgery. I was working on a show called 'Entourage' at the time, and I had minor pains in my back and arm, and the next day went to work on the show and the medic and my boom operators, 'something's wrong with you." They sent me into the emergency room where they did a blood test, sent me over to the other hospital, West Hills Memorial. By the time I went from one hospital to the other, they had got the tests, results back from my blood test, the enzyme test, and figured out that I had had a heart attack and I didn't even know.  

Anna Jaworski:   10:45
Wow.  

James Eric:   10:46
So they said, "Okay, unique quad bypass surgery at 41," and I went in and I got the surgery. It was about a three-month recovery, and the first show I came back to was E. R. and they were doing an episode that was about Camp del Corazon. I was up on a ladder, on the boom pole, looking down at all these little kids that were going to be on camera and they all had little scars on their chests. And I had mine, too now because I was recovering and I went over to the makeup people supposedly really good, cause I have one of those

Anna Jaworski:   11:18
Oh my gosh.

James Eric:   11:19
And they said, "we didn't do those," and I went 'Okay, this is weird. What's going on?' And I went over and I talked to a couple of the counselors and they said, "Yeah, this is a real camp for kids with heart conditions." And we did a scene after that with a bunch of kids sitting around talking about their scars, and I was booming the shot, and I was breaking down and my audio-utility guy came over, grabbed me and said, "Dude go outside, you can't do this." So I ended up being a counselor at camp following summer, .nd that's where I met Jeni. And she said, you know after we talked for quite some time. I said, "Well, what's your heart condition?" like we all do and she said, "I have half a heart." I said, "Okay, that's funny. That's very poetic, but do you really have?" She says, "No, I really have half a heart," and I went, "That's not possible. You can't live with half heart," I said, "quit joking." And she said, "No, look it up," So I Google HLHS and was like, 'Okay, this is something I've never heard of before. How come I've never heard of it before?'

Anna Jaworski:   12:25
right? Yes. Hey, don't feel bad. I had never heard of it either until my son was diagnosed with the same defect.

James Eric:   12:32
There you go. And nobody ever hears of this stuff. It was such an amazing idea. And Jenny and I sort of conversed over it, and she set me straight as to what reality was, And fast friends ever since.

Anna Jaworski:   12:44
I love that story. That's just such a sweet story. Why did you decide to make a documentary?

James Eric:   12:50
Well, it was actually the wife's idea.  

Anna Jaworski:   12:52
(Laughter)

James Eric:   12:52
I, uh... Well, I came out of the heart surgery feeling like, you know, it was, 'What do I do now with my life?' I didn't even know if I could go back to what I used to do. Am I going to have the energy to be on set and produce and direct, and so I got to do something? I started doing some other kinds of things, versus the projects I had done, and she was like, "Why don't you do something on Jeni?" And coincidentally, I then found out that my cousin Tony and his wife, Tawni had just I had a little girl with HLHS. I was kind of being bombarded in my heart and mind about all these coincidences that were going on around me, and I'd like to feel that God's hand was working in it.

Anna Jaworski:   13:36
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, yeah.

James Eric:   13:40
I talked to Jeni and Nick, and I said, "Okay, let me take Jeni across the country. What do you say?" And Nick was like, "uh, okay, ..." and Jeni was like, "What are you talking about?" I said, here's my idea, and I pitched the idea. It was something that I think jenny felt strongly about because, I think, for someone who's been through something that Jeni has gone through. I think you're not often given the opportunity for a real cathartic expression of your experience and for someone to be able to just kind of go out, -I said, "Look, we're just gonna go and we're gonna talk in the car. I'm gonna mount the camera in the car, and I'm just gonna have a little button next to me, and I'm gonna hit record while we're driving and have a microphone on you. And I'm just gonna record us talking. And you could just tell me everything. It'll be the two of us in a car." And there's something about that environment, and I think the isolation combined with the beautiful world we were driving through the great plains...

Anna Jaworski:   14:37
Right. Oh, yeah,

James Eric:   14:39
...just to see our country and at the same time go from that outside the window to what was going on, conversation wise inside the car was a unique combination of elements that I think helped Jeni open up to what she was, perhaps not given the opportunity to really speak about in other times. And I think a lot came out in that experience and it was a treasure to be there to witness it.

Anna Jaworski:   15:03
I loved it. I love the documentary.  

James Eric:   15:06
Thank you.

Anna Jaworski:   15:06
It really did give us a view of what it must be like to live and grow up with a heart defect, a serious heart defect. I mean, she's had two major open-heart surgeries, even though she may not remember those original surgeries, we know that she's had a lot to deal with since then, and we'll be talking about that a little bit more in the next segment. But before we go to a break, I just have to know it took hours and hours and hours to put that documentary together. What was the most difficult part about creating it?

James Eric:   15:36
Certain things we filmed. I think the most challenging part for me, was when we were hitting the high points of Colorado and the air is thin. And I was really concerned suddenly for Jeni's wellbeing and we didn't have oxygen with us.  

Anna Jaworski:   15:55
Oh...

James Eric:   15:55
Yeah, and so I was in a place where I suddenly realized that this is something that we're doing that's going to be appreciated by others. But suddenly this was-I've taken responsibility for something that's serious here. And when we crested the high point of Colorado and started down the hill, it was a great relief to me. That was the hardest part of creating this, was the thought that in doing this documentary and filming it, I actually put Jeni in a position where she was and potential risk and speaking volumes to Jeni's character. She forged through that and said, "No, let's go, I'm doing this."

HUG Store Promo:   16:37
Hi, my name is Jamie Alcroft and I just published my new book, The Tin Man Diaries. It's an amazing story of my sudden change of heart as I went through a heart and liver transplant. I can think of no better way to read The Tin Man Diaries than to cuddle up in your favorite Hearts, Unite the Globe sweatshirt and your favorite hot beverage of course in your Hearts Unite the Globe mug, both of which are available at the HUG Podcast Network online store or visit heartsunitetheglobe.org.

Baby Blue Sound Collective Promo:   17:13
Home. Tonight. Forever by the Baby Blue Sound Collective, I think what I love so much about this CD is that some of the songs were inspired by the patients. Many listeners will understand many of the different songs and what they've been inspired by. Our new album will be available on iTunes, Amazon.com, Spotify. I love the fact that the proceeds from this CD are actually going to help those with congenital heart defects. Enjoy the music. Home. Tonight. Forever.

HUG Message:   0:00
Heart to Heart with Anna is a presentation of Hearts Unite the Globe and is part of the HUG Podcast Network. Hearts Unite the Globe is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing resources to the congenital heart defect community to uplift, empower, and enrich the lives of our community members. If you would like access to free resources pertaining to the CHD community, please visit our website at wwwcongenitalheartdefects.com for information about CHD, the hospitals that treat children with CHD, summer camps for CHD survivors, and much, much more.

Anna Jaworski:   18:28
In this segment, we are going to all be together in this studio, which is really awesome. And James, I'd like you to start by sharing your favorite memory from 10 years ago when you started filming "Journey's Beginning."

James Eric:   18:43
This might be tough for me to get through. I thought a lot about what I would say. Predicting the moments that the documentary was going to cover and things I wanted to film, like setting up cameras at Kaelyn's house and then going back and getting Jeni and saying, "Okay, things are set up. I'll run in and hit record," and trying to predict those moments was one thing. But as we were leaving the house, there was a moment where Tawni, Tony's wife, came in and said, "Jimmy, you wanna come get this." And I went in and did Jeni was saying goodbye to Kaelyn, and it was just- it was - I still can't watch it, because that was my favorite moment, but it's one I can't watch. Um, it was, it was from a production standpoint; the lighting is terrible, the audio is hideous and you can barely hear what's going on, but this is just this moment that, as a director, if I ever caught another moment like that on camera, it would be a gift from God because that was...I would have missed it had not been for Tawni who said, "Jim come film this." You know,

Anna Jaworski:   19:50
Wow,  

James Eric:   19:51
it was the last night of when we were there.

Anna Jaworski:   19:54
Yeah. Jeni, what was your favorite?

Jeni Busta:   19:58
I probably have to say, the part where Boom, you were talking about being in the high elevation and it's scaring you. That was probably my favorite part because =not because you were scared, but like I had never been up high in those mountains like that. 12,000 feet was the elevation we're at, and I think the most was at  8,000 feet that I'd ever been in. And so you gave me that opportunity to be like, 'hey, I can be here, in mountains, like this really cool so, that's probably my favorite part actually.

Anna Jaworski:   20:31
That's awesome. I love that.  

Jeni Busta:   20:35
Yeah, Yeah,

James Eric:   20:36
I think she just liked scaring the heck out of me. Well, there was a term we came up with.

Jeni Busta:   20:47
So, 'coleslaw' was a key-word that we used, that any time that he was freaking out, I would say "coleslaw," because that means 'don't freak out. I'm okay.' So, I would have to say that, 'coleslaw,' it was just so random, but I think it was the word that Nick came up with and that was the word. So, there were a lot of coleslaws being said.

James Eric:   21:10
Yes, we'd be in the car, and I'd say, "How you feeling? How are you feeling? How are you feeling? How are you feeling?" After the 10th time, Jeni would say, "Coleslaw! You're hungry. You're hungry. You're hungry."

Anna Jaworski:   21:22
So, was there a code word for, "I'm not doing well?"  

Jeni and James:   21:25
Nope!  

Jeni Busta:   21:26
I would tell him that.

James Eric:   21:28
I don't think there's ever a moment where Jenny wasn't doing well. She was -I don't remember a moment and maybe I'm just not remembering where Jenny looked over and said, "Boom, I'm not good. Something's wrong."

Anna Jaworski:   21:40
So her lips never looked blue? She never looked like she was in distress to you?

James Eric:   21:45
I've tried to remember, and I-I kept looking at her, and she seemed fine to me, but it was so frightening because I'm, of course, not a medical profession and didn't know exactly what signs to look for. We'd spoken to doctors and nurses before we left, but you never know. I was in my environment is a producer/director, but of course, completely unprepared for anything medical. And I became aware of that, and that's why those moments in Colorado with peaks were so frightening.  

Anna Jaworski:   22:11
Yeah,  

James Eric:   22:12
To me, obviously not to Jeni. She was.

Anna Jaworski:   22:14
She's Apparently that was her favorite part. She likes scaring you, Boom.   

James Eric:   22:21
Exactly! Don't think I don't appreciate it. I have a heart condition too, you know.

Anna Jaworski:   22:24
I love it. Jeni, how did making this documentary affect your life? I mean, you traveled across the country with this man who you knew, but I mean, did it known as well as you did when you were done, that's for sure. How did it affect you?

Jeni Busta:   22:43
It was just really healing for me. For instance, I talked about this one really bad bullying incident with Boom, and for 25 years I have this recurring nightmare of the same bullying incident, and I realized after the film got out there, and my story got heard for the first time, the nightmare stopped. I have a lot to be thankful for. Yeah, so it's just like this big release and also, what a gift it is to have the interviews that he did with my mom, my dad, my grandma. My grandma passed away over a year ago. And what a gift it is to have all of the footage of her interview just to hear her voice and tow have that comfort knowing I have that. And it's because of Boom. So...

Anna Jaworski:   23:34
That's awesome.  

Jeni Busta:   23:35
Yeah.  

Anna Jaworski:   23:36
Well, James, you have to tell us where people can find this documentary. Of course, I'll have a link in the show notes. But can you announce for people who aren't reading, the show notes how they confined the documentary?

James Eric:   23:47
There is a 'Journey's Beginning' Facebook page, and the link to view the video will be there. Plus, you can also message me, and I will send you a DVD if you'd like, particularly if your heart mom or heart dad, and someone who's going through an unpredictable and frightening moments of learning your child has a heart issue. That was one of the chief reasons for doing this along with, the reason we did with Jeni is to give to parents. And I got a lot of emails from parents that I sent DVDs to, back when we did more DVDs, the heart moms would watch. It would give them a lot of encouragement.

Anna Jaworski:   24:20
Absolutely. How much does it cost?

James Eric:   24:23
It's free. If your heart parent and you want a copy we'll just send you one. This is about the families of children with heart disease, not about money.

Anna Jaworski:   24:33
Did you get a grant to do this? Because this kind of thing can be expensive.

James Eric:   24:38
No, I basically paid for this myself.

Anna Jaworski:   24:42
Well, you're a philanthropist in the truest sense of the word. You're a lover of people. And to have this kind of expression of love for people who are going through quite potentially the most difficult time of their lives is a tremendous blessing.

James Eric:   24:56
It's difficult, I think, for heart parents, because the ones that I ended up meeting corresponding and sending out DVDs because, the doctors and nurses, it's their job to give parents the worst-case scenario, and they aren't often put in a position where they can share the optimism and faith and hope that Jeni expresses just with her story  

Anna Jaworski:   25:18
Mmm-hmm.  

James Eric:   25:19
And so this kind of covered the other end of that spectrum. I think that may have been missing for a lot of heart parents and their acceptance of this, and that was what this was really all about for me. To be honest, at the onset of this, I thought it would just be an interesting documentary. But as it unfolded, and as we drove across America, it became obvious to me that this was something a little more extraordinary than I had intended to do.

Anna Jaworski:   25:42
Well, how do you feel it's held up? Do you feel that the film is still relevant,

James Eric:   25:47
Particularly in our time right now, we're having a little bit of an unpredictability and uncertainty. For people. I think it helps to see someone who has to deal with that adversity, not just over the last few weeks, but her entire life. You know, having heart disease it has a very high mortality rate, and a lot of people seeing someone go through this like Jeni has, may realize that courage in the face of this kind of threat and adversity is, is something that should be just as contagious as whatever we're facing now,

Anna Jaworski:   26:19
Right, for those listeners who may be listening to this podcast far in the future, it is currently April 2020 and we are in a pandemic known as the Coronavirus. We are under lockdown, many of us in our homes. Many people are not working, or if they are, they're lucky enough to work from home. It's a very scary, uncertain time, and I think you're right. I think this kind of documentary gives us hope and helps us to see really what we're dealing with in the lock down. It's not much compared to what Jenny's had to deal with her whole life, right?

James Eric:   26:53
She's been locked down. I think Jeni's lived in lock-down. She's had to be careful of so many things where the rest of us are wearing masks and gloves. You know, Jeni's faced things that she just couldn't do in her life and still moved on and still persevered and that's a testament to her faith in character. And that's really what the documentaries about

Anna Jaworski:   27:17
Yeah. Yeah. Which is for me, the reason why it's still as relevant today as the first time I saw it. It's just a beautiful story. You captured Jeni's spirit beautifully in your documentary. You did an excellent job.

James Eric:   27:33
Thank you. As long as Jeni's happy with it.

Jeni Busta:   27:36
Yeah.  

Anna Jaworski:   27:36
Yeah, I was gonna say I think we have heard, multiple times, how happy Jeni is with it. And, Well, James, what do you have planned for the future? Is there another documentary in the future for you?

James Eric:   27:47
Well, Jeni and I have teased the notion of going back and meeting Kaelyn, who, by the way, is still thriving despite being told that the chances of her doing so was not good. And she and Jeni are still thriving. And

Anna Jaworski:   27:59
Wow, that's so awesome. Jenny, have you kept in touch with for over the years

Jeni Busta:   28:05
On and off. I see them on social media, but I haven't personally talked to them in quite a while, unfortunately, but Kaelyn will be 10 this September, I think.

Anna Jaworski:   28:14
Oh, my goodness. That would be such an amazing documentary.

Jeni Busta:   28:19
I would love to do something like that.

James Eric:   28:21
Yeah, we've definitely spoken about it, but I think it's something that maybe you to be 10 years after something like that. But since we're approaching that moment, maybe we'll do it. I've also written a script loosely on Jeni's life. I have tried to get that pushed along with some others. So there's a couple of things. Jeni obviously made a big impression on me.

Anna Jaworski:   28:40
Yeah. Wow. Well, thank you for coming on the program today, James. I really enjoyed hearing more behind-the-scenes information about this documentary.

James Eric:   28:50
My pleasure. Thank you very much for having me on.

Anna Jaworski:   28:52
I hope you're going to do another documentary, and I can have you come on for that as well.  

James Eric:   28:59
You have to talk to Jeni.  

Anna Jaworski:   29:00
Jenny, sweetheart, thank you so much for coming back on the program. It was great catching up with you.

Jeni Busta:   29:06
You're very welcome. And I'm so happy to be here. Thank you.

Anna Jaworski:   29:09
Oh, you are so welcome, sweetheart. It was so much fun. And that does conclude this episode of Heart to Heart with Anna. Thanks for listening today, my friends, if you enjoyed listening to this episode, please consider becoming a patron. Just go to www.patreon.com/hearttoheart and pledge a monthly amount to support our program. It only takes a few minutes to make a big difference. For the cost of a pizza, you can help us continue to provide great programming for the CHD community for a whole year, and you can be part of some special patron-only programs that we'll be recording. In April, we'll be recording a special patron-only program memorializing David Franco, who was one of my producers. So. if you have a story you'd like to share, please become a patron and join us. Have a great day my friends and remember, you are not alone.  

Closer:   29:57
Thank you again for joining us this week. We hope you have been inspired and empowered to become an advocate for the congenital heart defect community. Heart to Heart with Anna, with your Host, Anna Jaworski, can be heard every Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern Time.