Transplant recipient Ken Knott (centre) with Drs. Neil McKenzie (left) and Bill Wall.
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The Greatest Gift

In 2002, Ken Knott discovered he had an extremely rare, inherited genetic condition called Familial Amyloidosis. It caused his liver to deteriorate and produce a mutant protein that was starting to destroy his heart. Prior to the onset of the disease, Ken was fit, athletic and loved baseball, hockey, bowling and horseshoes. Three years later, he was showing symptoms of the disease and had to give up the sports and activities he loved due to the pain and exhaustion.

The only option for Ken was the replacement of both organs – a combined heart and liver transplant that had only been done a handful of times in Canada and only once before at London Health Sciences Centre. After being on the transplant waiting list for a year and a half, Ken and his family received the call they had been waiting for on – of all days – Christmas Eve.

Ken’s transplant was done by the team of heart transplant specialist Dr. Neil McKenzie and liver transplant specialist Dr. Bill Wall, each of whom founded their respective transplant programs at London Health Sciences Centre. After nearly 13 hours of surgery, Christmas morning arrived and Ken had the greatest gift of all: a new lease on life and the promise of many more Christmases with his family.

In 2010, the Matthew Mailing Centre for Translational Transplant Studies was opened beside LHSC’s Multi-Organ Transplant Program. The Mailing Centre promotes the accelerated translation of basic research in transplantation to improve patient care.

ABOVE: Transplant recipient Ken Knott (centre) with Drs. Neil McKenzie (left) and Bill Wall.