Heart & Sole: The Dylan Kalambay Story

Person with a basketball with a scar in the middle of the chest
The documentary Heart & Sole: The Dylan Kalambay Story premièred at a special screening in Toronto in October 2023. The film follows a promising young basketball player, Dylan Kalambay, as he returns to the court after a lifesaving heart transplant. 

In November 2020, high school basketball star Dylan Kalambay’s world turned upside down. He experienced heart failure at the young age of 16. Over the next six months, he first had open heart surgery and then, thanks to the generosity of an organ donor and their family, received a lifesaving heart transplant. In September 2021, after a long and challenging recovery, Dylan stepped back onto the court.

The film takes viewers on a winding and unlikely journey as Dylan pursues his dreams both on and off the court. It also details his coming to grips with a second chance at life, his new identity as a basketball player who is also a transplant recipient, and his desire to learn more about the person whose death allowed him to continue his life. 

Throughout the documentary, Dylan expresses his hope of educating young people about the life-changing impact that organ donation can have. 

“I thought it would be inspiring to share my journey with those who might be going through challenges or going through the same thing as me," says the 6'10” Toronto-born basketball star of Congolese descent. Dylan has also played for Canada Basketball's U16 national team (alongside players who are now in the NBA) and for the basketball club, Canada Elite. "I think this film might connect with people coming from all different walks of life, demographics and cultures, who might not know about the heart transplant process."

The film features Toronto Raptors world champion and NBA All-Star Pascal Siakam and Philadelphia 76ers head coach, Nick Nurse, as well as the parents of Logan Boulet, whose story inspired more than 100,000 people to register as organ donors following the Humboldt bus crash in 2018.

Canadian Blood Services organized a première screening event in Toronto last October. The event was attended by Dylan’s friends and family, members of the public, and special guests from Ontario Health (Trillium Gift of Life Network), University Health Network, SickKids (Hospital for Sick Children), the High School Outreach Initiative, Ridley College, representatives and partners of the basketball development community in the Greater Toronto Area and Canada, and the film’s production team, including director and editor Michael Hamilton and producer Kyle McCutcheon.

After the screening, a moving panel discussion featured a heartfelt Q&A about heart transplant, organ donation, basketball and filmmaking. The panelists spoke about what we all can do to help, reminding the crowd to talk with their families about their wishes and to register to be an organ donor.

Produced by Game Seven Media (@game_7_media), Heart & Sole: The Dylan Kalambay Story is presented by Canadian Blood Services on behalf of Canada’s organ and tissue donation community.

You can watch the full documentary here.

Want to show Heart & Sole: The Dylan Kalambay Story in your office or classroom or host a screening in your community? Please contact OTDT@blood.ca to request access to the film and supporting materials.

Special thanks to the financial supporters of Canadian Blood Services, who helped fund the making of this film.