Diane Fox jokes that she brought out the feminine side of her husband, Charlie, when she gave him her kidney more than a decade ago.
What Langley woman did was give her husband years more life, years more quality of life and years more with her, and they make sure they take part in the annual Operation Popcorn delivery of treats to area hospitals that do organ donation and transplant procedures.
“I was very please because we’ve had 12 years of doing what we want, we’ve travelled the world, we’ve retired beautifully, we’ve got grandkids,” Diane Fox said. “We can take them anywhere, do anything. It’s absolutely amazing.”
Theirs was a unique organ donation journey. Charlie became sick with in his 30s and by the time he was in his 50s needed a transplant. Diane ended up being a match, rare for someone not biologically related.
His procedure was necessary due to congenital kidney disease. He was 59 at the time of his surgery, and had seen how his mother suffered with the condition in the era before organ transplantation.
“If I hadn’t had the transplant, I would have been on dialysis three times a week,” Charlie explained.
Charlie and Diane Fox and Earl Howell joined BC Transplant representatives for the annual Christmas-time presentation of treats and swag for the various departments that care for transplant patients at Langley Memorial Hospital Thursday, Dec. 9 and other B.C. hospitals (intensive care units, emergency departments and operating rooms).
Howell, a 72-year-old White Rock resident retired from banking, takes part in the donations at a few hospitals, determined to meet with health care staff so they can see the impact they have.
“They are at the very front lines of organ donation meeting the families at that most tragic time in their transplant journey,” Howell said. “We do it as a means of thanking them for what we have.”
His transplant was 24 years ago, a time when living donors weren’t an option so he has been diligent in trying to live a healthy lifestyle, knowing someone died so that he might live. The treats are a small gesture for health care workers who give transplant patients so much.
“I’ve been very very fortunate in that I’ve been able to see my two kids grow up, get their education and present my wonderful wife of 51 years with five awesome grandkids,” he said.
Without the transplant he would not have survived more than a couple of years after getting sick with an auto-immune liver duct disorder.
“Failing a transplant I would not have been able to survive,” Howell said.
After two tough years of dealing with COVID, Kiran Parmar and Vijitha Devadass, who accepted the items on behalf of LHM staff, appreciated the gesture of kindness.
“It’s the hope. Before people are waiting for the organ. When you get the phone call for the organ, it’s an amazing feeling for the recipient,” Parmar said.
They find it rewarding to watch people’s live change, see the return of hope and the ability for patients make plans for the future.
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