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I was always healthy – or so I thought – and I was very active – played baseball and hockey, curled and golfed. In my 50s, I started to notice I tired more easily and my body wasn’t responding the way I wanted it to. However, I didn’t feel sick and I just pushed myself a little harder. After all, I was getting older!!
When I was 56, I went into congestive heart failure and I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart). The doctors at UH replaced my leaking aortic valve and I felt much better for about 3 years and then my heart just couldn’t keep pumping any more.
I had to go on disability from my work – any physical activity, even taking a few steps, was impossible. I was assessed by the doctors at UH and accepted as a candidate for a heart transplant. I knew I didn’t have long to live but I also knew it could take weeks, months, even longer before a compatible donor became available.
I was only on the list one week when I received my new heart – 2 days before my 60th birthday. I was very fortunate to receive a heart so quickly.
Somewhere, a loving, grieving family had decided to donate their loved one’s organs and I was given a second chance to live. I will always be grateful.
I want to thank my surgeon, Dr. McKenzie, and the wonderful medical and support team in the transplant program at UH. A special thank you to our family physician, Dr. John Sangster.
Once again I am able to spend time with my family and friends and watch our 3 grandchildren grow up. It has been 8 years and I am still working full time and enjoying golfing and travelling.
I am also active with The London Transplant Gift of Life Association and encourage everyone to sign your donor card. I am only one of the many successful stories but there could be many more. The gift of life works.