Story on families awaiting transplants wins Bay Area DFMie

Headline: Moms share joy, heartache while waiting for kids' transplants
Outlet: Contra Costa Times
Journalist: Gary Peterson

Reporter Gary Peterson and photojournalist Jane Tyska won the February DFMie for the Bay Area News Group for their poignant story of two families waiting for transplants.

Managing Editor – Digital, Randy Keith explained the project in his nomination:

On the enterprise front, Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times continued the remarkable story of Matthew Ouimet, the two year old boy from Antioch waiting for a liver-kidney transplant. On November 25, Gary chronicled the incredible devotion of Matthew’s mother who must haul him to all-day dialysis in San Francisco six days a week. On February 17, he told of a rare friendship between Kristi Ouimet and Kim Welch, whose own 17 year old daughter also needed a liver kidney transplant. The two women met over dialysis and became fast friends, but their friendship was tested when a liver kidney donation came in that was specially designated for Welch’s daughter — bypassing the child at the top of the transplant list, Matthew Ouimet. Ultimately, Kristi Ouimet revelled in the Welch’s good fortune, telling Peterson, “It was not Matthew’s time.” Said one reader of the story: You can’t write a mini-series this good. Both installments were aided by wonderful photos and video from Jane Tyska.

Judges praised the project:

This is a nicely put-together package. The story itself is compelling, the writing is tight and the tone is compassionate without going over-the-top, which is easy to do in these types of stories. The box answers the question about the illnesses and prognosis without bogging down the mainbar. And the use of video is a perfect example of how to use the medium to advance the story, and I suspect something that either has been or will be used again and again as this narrative continues. Very nice work.

Another judge:

Intimate and touching, with an eye for feelings and details, a wonderful intertwining of words and photos.

And another:

Gary did a good job of chronicling the story of Matthew Quimet. Any time a writer focuses on a child with special needs, it pulls at the heartstrings of readers. The accompanying video by Jane Tyska was also well done.

Other BANG finalists were Nhat Meyer for Super Bowl photography and Randy Myers for his Oscar coverage.

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