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living liver donor and recipient
In 2003, I was diagnosed with a hereditary gene disorder called “Amyloidosis” (a protein in the liver attacks the nervous system and heart). My father and an uncle both passed away because of this, but at the time, the medical profession did not know too much about Amyloidosis. The only way to stop it from attacking the body is to remove it by a transplant. The good news was, my liver could be transplanted into someone else, because it takes years to attack vital organs. It could give someone else a few precious years. I was put on the transplant list, and my call came in the Fall of 2004. I was able to work up until my transplant date, but was rapidly deteriorating. Because of the circumstances, I was able to meet my liver recipient, as we were both in the transplant unit at the same time. He is doing fine, although he only had 2 weeks to live. It has created a special bond between two families. I am 50 years old, with 2 sons, 18 and 10, so still like to think I have lots of life left. I also have an uncle and a cousin who had transplants, so the LHSC Transplant Unit is very close to our family.
I volunteer with the Gift of Life Association and have done some public speaking on donor awareness. The saying “Don’t take your organs to Heaven, Heaven knows we need them here”, is a simple saying that means so much.