J.D. Coldham

My Gift of Life

Rec Picture
I was an athletic student, enjoying rep. hockey, football, working in tobacco harvest and attending school and had a dream of becoming a police officer when I got sick and found out I had an enlarged heart. I had to quit all sports and start taking medicine to make my heart work better. It was hard to go and watch my friends play without me. I was able to attend school, but I was tired and didn’t have much energy. My family doctor sent me to London and the doctor there did a heart transplant assessment and said I wasn’t a candidate at that point. I was able to work at a fluffing job at my farmer’s tobacco farm and I enjoyed being with my friends. It was a year later and I was 17 when I started to get worse quickly. My doctors did another assessment and put me on the list for a transplant. My mom and I and my brother and sister go camping with friends for a few days every year after school is done, but I was too sick and had to go into the hospital. When they got back I was still in hospital and after mom had gone home, I was told that a heart was available and I called my parents to come to the hospital. I was going to have the operation the next morning. I was so happy, but I knew for me to have this operation, someone had passed away and I was sad for their family.

The operation was a success and everything was going great, but I was having pains in my stomach area so the doctors did another operation six days later and removed my appendix, but it was okay, so they looked further and found a collection of blood and removed it. It was good to have my appendix removed so I didn’t have a problem later. I did physio every day following the transplant and made many friends. I got out of the hospital about two weeks after the transplant and my mom and I stayed in London for three months till I was able to go home. I was strong enough again and I started school right away. I also wanted to play hockey again so four and a half months after the operation my doctors said it was okay to play. I was so happy. Nine months after my operation I was able to go with my school friends on a vacation to the Dominican Republic. I volunteer for The London Transplant Gift of Life Association now.

I just turned 19 and have my dream back of becoming a police officer and have just applied to colleges for this career. I am so grateful to my donor and family for their Gift of Life and the doctors and nurses who have made this possible.

Back to Recipient Quilt

LHSCWays to Give

Last Updated July 24, 2008 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada