by Charlie Fox
Special to the Langley Advance
During the month of October, B.C. Transplant will be celebrating its 30th birthday.
For 30 years, B.C. Transplant has been providing leadership – bringing a focus to the need to increase the number of people on the organ donor registry.
Long past are the days of the sticker on your driver’s licence and now it takes merely 60 seconds to register online.
The advent of technology has made registering faster and easier, but even with those factors in play the need for the populace to register to become organ donors is even greater than ever before.
The organs from one deceased donor can become lifesaving opportunities for up to seven individuals presently sitting on the organ donor waiting list.
With the marvels of today’s medical advances organ donation has evolved to include live donation.
Willing donors can be tested and donate a kidney and part of a liver to provide quality of life improvements and in some cases lifesaving opportunities for the recipient.
Such was the case me, Charlie Fox, and my wife Diane.
I suffered from a genetic kidney disease (polycystic kidneys) and knew from my teenage years that dialysis would likely be an eventuality.
Over the many years of seeing my mother on home dialysis, this eventuality was not one that I was looking forward to.
In the mid 2000s, with my kidney function failing and my health at risk, a long look at other options was the order of the day.
My wife, Diane went through the rigorous testing to determine if she was a match, and low and behold it was determined she was.
On Jan. 7, 2009 one of Diane’s kidneys was removed and through the wonders of modern medicine transplanted into me.
Life for the us has been significantly improved since, with Diane having no lingering or long-term effects and my quality of life returning to where it once was.
As is the case in so many of these types of circumstances, giving back is important.
Diane and I, along with another live donor pair, Tanya Tait and Todd Hauptman started the Fraser Valley Transplant Network.
It is a loosely formed group designed to help others who may be in need of a transplant, a donor pair just wondering what to expect, or an individual just needing some advice on what to do, or assistance on who to talk to in the transplant team.
During the last few years, we have helped several people in their transplant journey, and what a great thing it is to see these folks after they have had a transplant and they get on with their life’s journey.
A person never knows when a family member, a friend or in the case of the ‘paired exchange’ program even a stranger may be in need of a lifesaving organ transplant.
B.C. Transplant is a leader in the province, maintaining the organ donor registry, supporting research, and providing oversight in the day-to-day task of increasing donor awareness and registration numbers.
Our story is not unique and nor should be a registered organ donor.
As of today, there are 604 people in B.C. waiting on the transplant list.
There are 1.021,635 registered donors but more are needed to reduce the waitlist.
We plead with you… please take the time and go to ‘LIVE LIFE. PASS IT ON at www.transplant.bc.ca.