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On August 22, 1998 in downtown London, transplant patients, hospital staff and the public joined together in a community celebration to mark 25 years of transplants at University Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre.
Throughout the afternoon, the climbing wall was a popular attraction with competitions featuring liver recipient Heather Fisher. Music provided by local groups, Julia Propeller and the Glenn Bennett Band, added to the celebration. As well as an information tent, some patients and their families sold our t-shirts, golf shirts and caps, raising almost $1,200 in four hours! Elaine – one of our liver recipients– and her family donated hamburgers for a BBQ, with the proceeds going to the Transplant Program.
A young liver recipient spoke to the crowd, and a living kidney donor recounted his decision to donate a kidney to his dad. NBA star Carlos Rogers touched the hearts of the crowd with the story of his sister René, who died from kidney disease in January 1997. Carlos' offer to give one of his kidneys to his sister raised awareness of the need to donate organs across North America. "I'm not a hero," he insisted, emphasizing that the decision to help save someone's life with an organ donation is a "no-brainer". Inspired by his sister, Carlos spoke about their family's experience and the need for donation. At the event, he autographed mini-basketballs with the slogan, "Life...pass it on!"
Dr. William Wall thanked several organizations that have helped the Program over the years, including the Ontario Provincial Police, Air Canada, Checker Limousine, London Police, and Thames Valley Ambulance.