Robert (Rocky) Larocque

Heart transplant

Rec Picture
As a child growing up in a remote part of northern Ontario, I remember listening to the early radio broadcasts reporting the first heart transplant that took place in Cape Town, South Africa in December of 1967. I was fascinated by the details as I listened and marveled at what had taken place – clipping out the news articles and presenting them in ‘show & tell’ at school. Never once did I imagine that one day I’d be following the path of those early transplant pioneers. Yet more than 30 years later, I found myself waiting on the transplant list for a new heart!

For our family, life has now come full circle, as a second chance has been offered to a very thankful person. A new heart has enabled me to continue to live life to its very fullest. The hunting and fishing trips I have always enjoyed are still possible, and I’ve even returned to coaching minor hockey – just in time to guide our team to a provincial title. I’ve celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary in grand style, and even a few more to boot – something I did not think possible while virtually lying on death’s doorstep! I have been fortunate enough to watch my kids graduate from grade school and then move on towards adulthood. And I have shared in their moments, both the good and bad ones, with a depth of gratefulness that cannot be fathomed by those who have not ventured down the path of transplantation.

In choosing the theme of my patch for this quilt, I believe that the design is both a reflection and a testament to both the past and the future. From childhood to the present, the various parts of the patch reflect the people and the times that have been most influential in my life. It is also a chain that binds the memories of the life I have been blessed with. From the friends and events of my early childhood, through the influence and love of my family, to the ever-changing life I enjoy still today it pays tribute to so many memories that have come to pass. As well, it is a challenge to the many new ones that are yet to be made for many years to come, Lord willing. But most of all, it is a tribute to my loving wife, Karen, whose great faith and determination has helped me to soar like the eagles of Isaiah’s great promise to God.

Words can never express the depth of gratitude one has for a family that chooses to donate the organs of a loved one in their hour of grief to someone who so desperately needs their offer of compassion. Nor can one define their appreciation for the professionals who strive daily to make these moments a reality.

Shortly after coming home from my transplant a friend suggested that, given my streak of good fortune, I should buy a lottery ticket? My response was quite simply that I had already won the lottery…

Today, thanks to a family somewhere out there in our wonderful nation, I am enjoying life to its very fullest extent. What more could I have asked for?

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