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Popping up to say thanks


Judy Mori, B.C.’s 500th lung transplant, (center) with her surgeon Dr. John Yee (right) and Minister of Health Adrian Dix.

“To think that less than two months ago I didn’t know what my fate would be and now I am breathing easy with lungs so kindly donated, I am humbled,” said Judy Mori, a Vernon grandmother and B.C.’s 500th lung transplant.

Last week she visited VGH for Operation Popcorn. Organized by BC Transplant, this annual event brings transplant recipients like Judy to B.C. hospitals, including Lions Gate and Richmond, where they deliver big holiday boxes of popcorn to show appreciation for the compassionate, life-transforming care they received.

“I feel awesome,” she said. “I was a nurse and have a big family. But my health has been going downhill for the past seven years. I was very grateful when I got the call.”

Judy delivered popcorn with her surgeon Dr. John Yee, who has performed a remarkable 322 of the 500 lung transplants in our province. 

Giving a part of themselves, quite literally ​

Over in Richmond, liver donor Debbie and anonymous kidney donor, Coady, brought boxes of popcorn to the OR and ICU. While Richmond Hospital didn’t have any donors in 2019, they had four deceased donor referrals, and the team was excited to see the smiling faces of the BC Transplant volunteers as they acknowledge the work everyone in the health care system plays in order for transplant recipients to receive a second chance at life.

“It’s such a heart-warming experience to listen to the stories that these two donors shared with us. The fact that they gave a part of themselves to help someone else is so powerful” says OR manager, Bhal Randhawa. “And even though Richmond isn’t a large transplant centre, Operation Popcorn is a great reminder of the difference we can all make and the impact organ donation can have on someone’s life.”

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Operation Popcorn donors visit Richmond Hospital ICU. 

Celebrating “seasons of love” at LGH

Five transplant recipients visited Lions Gate Hospital (LGH) emergency department, intensive care unit and operating room to say thanks. While LGH doesn’t perform transplants, its ED, ICU and OR staff and physicians play a role in facilitating organ donation, and in supporting patients pre- and post-transplant.

Margaret Benson received a double lung transplant 20 years ago and just 13 weeks ago received a kidney transplant. She was joined by Chris Bond, a 33-year heart transplant recipient; Rob Williamson, a 26-year heart transplant recipient; Susan Harrison, an 18-year liver transplant recipient; and Rock Dauphinee, a 16-year heart transplant recipient.

“Those of us here today together have more than 100 years of extra life thanks to our donors and their families and we are living it to the fullest,” said Margaret. “I refer to the extra time I’ve been given as my ‘seasons of love’ and I am grateful for every day I live.” 

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LGH Operation Popcorn team with LGH ED staff and physicians.

The gift of life this holiday season

Register or verify your own wishes for organ donation on the BC Transplant website​. All you need is your B.C. Personal Health Number. ​

SOURCE: Popping up to say thanks ( )
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