A powerful journey from living with an artificial heart to a heart transplant....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Getting into highschools.

I was invited to speak to a high school class today at Huron Park Secondary School in Kitchener.

I was invited by a new friend, Bob, who is 4 years post liver transplant. I got to know him a little during National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. It was a pleasure to meet him. A liver transplant is not an easy thing to go through. He has shown strength and perseverance to get to the healthy place is in today. It is wonderful to look at him and see the success after a transplant.

The high school teacher, Mrs. K, is a wonderful person on the other side of the coin. She lost her daughter Kyla when she was only 16 and decided to give the gift of life to several other people. Mrs. K was able to donate Kyla's tissue and eyes to give other people a new chance at life. Her legacy will live forever. I cannot begin to share the kindness Mrs. K and her family have shown. It was an honour to meet her and learn of Kyla story. Kyla was an amazing young women. Every year Mrs. K hosts a special weekend hockey tournament for young women. This is an event to raise awareness for organ donation and money Trillium Gift of Life. This tournament is a legacy of Kyla and continues to express the generosity of Mrs. K's family.

So to connect the dots, Bob was a volunteer for Trillium at Mrs. K's hockey tournament.

The class that Mrs. K teaches is a health/phys. ed. class. As I understand, it is a newer program and as a part of the curriculum the students are to learn about organ donation. What a wonderful way to integrate this into the schools. Not all high schools offer this course, so it has a long way to go, but this is a great start. This is obviously a topic that is important to Mrs. K and she chose to make a lasting impression on the students by asking Bob to come to the class to speak. Since Bob has the perspective of having a transplant, he thought it would be good for the kids to hear from me, someone waiting for a transplant. It is so wonderful that he thought of me.

The class was very polite and attentive. A bit of Kyla's story was shared, Bob shared his story, I shared my story and we discussed organ donation and the importance of registering. I really enjoyed being a part and allowing to influence more people to sign their consent.

Here are some pictures of Mrs. K and Kyla, Bob and myself. (Check out the amazing green pillow with the ribbon!!)

It was really special to meet Mrs. K. I can't image how hard it would be to loose someone so close. I admire her ability to take her loss and try to make a difference. She is certainly doing great things in Kyla's memory. On behalf of all the recipients out there, thank you to Kyla, Mrs. K and your family. You make me want to try harder to make a change and help others.

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