Transplant recipients visit Langley Memorial Hospital with a token of gratitude

People with transplants visit hospitals where organ donations are harvested to offer thanks.

Doris Keightley will never know why she was struck with an autoimmune disorder that so scarred her liver, it would almost rob her of raising her three children, seeing them graduate high school and her very life.

She had her liver transplant about 12 years ago, having gotten sick when she was a mother of young kids in her 40s.

“When I found out they were in elementary,” she said. “When I had my transplant, I had two in university and one in high school. Now one is married and I have two grandkids. I’ve travelled.”

Without a donated liver, she would have died years ago.

“There’s no other thing they can do for a liver other than a liver transplant,” Keightley said.

The autoimmune disorder attacked her biliary glands which caused cirrhosis of the liver.

“I found out about nine years before I actually had my transplant,” she said.

Keightley had the telltale yellowed skin of liver disorders that also cause fatigue. Without the liver filtering the blood, the entire body is affected.

“You don’t realize how sick you are until after,” she said.

But now this grandmother who lived for many years in Langley and recently moved to the Abbotsford/Aldergrove border is active.

Keightley curls and has travelled.

“I volunteer for the hospital. I’m a volunteer for Penny Pinchers,” she said.

And she’s been able to see her family grow and expand.

So she’s only too happy to spend time each Christmas delivering popcorn to hospitals.

Any hospital that has been involved in the retrieval of organs get a thank you from B.C. Transplant.

“For these nurses and doctors, they see the side of the dying and the family loss,” Keightley said.

This week almost 100 volunteers delivered more than 100 tins of popcorn to 28 hospitals in B.C., and one in the Yukon.

The treats allow health care workers to meet the people who have received the transplants and allow them to, in this small way, thank those medical professionals.

Want to be a donor?

About 50 per cent of British Columbians think they are signed up to be donors but in fact only about 21 per cent are registered.

The decal on the driver’s licence is no longer the way it’s done. Customers are asked when they go to ICBC offices if they want to register, a partnership program between ICBC and BC Transplant.

People can also go to register.transplant.bc.ca or call 1-800-663-6189. People need only register once, and it’s for a lifetime.

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