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

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Skydive So Others Can Stay Alive

How many Mom's will jump from a plane to support their daughter?? MINE!!

Carol, my Momma, is planning a fundraiser to raise money for Toronto General Hospital, specifically for transplant and mechanical heart research. The reason I am alive today. She will be skydiving at the Niagara Skydive Centre on Saturday June 18th. This is a small way we can show our appreciation for the hard work that has been done for our family.

Over time we have actually created a great team to jump with my Mom. I'm really excited!

Carol, my Mom
Steve, my Father-in-Law (maybe)
Dana - heart and double lung recipient
Janine - her father passed away and saved many lives by donating his organs
Paula and her son Matthew - Paula's husband is waiting for lungs

Our intent is also to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. The Life Donation Awareness Association will host a booth at the event to share our cause and get conversations started. Jumpers have contacted local media and vendor support.

Please visit http://www.tgwhf.ca/sites/testyourlimits/skydivingforandrea/index.asp for more details and to make a kind donation to this life-saving hospital. It is important to note that all monies donated go directly to the hospital, the jumpers pay for their own jump.

I would like to take a moment to tell you that I have the bestest Mom anyone could ask for. She has been right beside me through my whole journey. She has altered her lifestyle to support me in every way. I haven't been the easiest daughter to deal with over the past while, which I'm sure you are all so surprise to hear, haha.... But my Mom has tolerated my moods very patiently and never made me feel like I was a burden. And to top it all off, she's jumping from a plane!! I joke that I would like to go up with her to push her out! That's my way of encouraging. I'm not gonna lie, it still makes me a little nervous, but it's something she has wanted to do for a long time and I support her dreams 100%! Thank you for being a great Mom. You are where my positive perspective comes from and my desire to help others.

We are hosting a day at the skydive centre in Dunnville and we would love to have anyone come out to support us and watch everyone land safely. Your support is very important on a personal level and also as a mission in my journey. Saving the lives of people that have traveled a path such as mine gives me strength to face my challenges with my head held high. This is my passion and with your support we can make life-saving a reality.

Thank you from the bottom of my second heart.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

100th LVAD Celebration

What a milestone! One hundred lives touched with the use of a mechanical heart. I am proud to be one of those lives.

I was kindly invited to the 100th LVAD Celebration at Toronto General Hospital on May 11th, 2011. I was also given the pleasure to speak about my experience and express my gratitude to the medical staff and financial donors. Here are some great pics:

My hubby, Shaun and me.

My Mom, Carol, Shaun, me and my Dad, Dave

Dr. Viv Rao, heart surgeon, me, Dr. Heather Ross, cardiologist, David, another LVAD patient

LVAD patients in attendance

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


To remember me...

The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying.

At a certain moment, a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.

When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine.

And don't call this my deathbed. Let it be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes a woman.

Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing by endless days of pain.

Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.

Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.

Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body, and find a way to make a crippled child walk.

Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday, a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.

Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.

If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow man.

Give my sins to the devil. Give my soul to God.

If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you.

If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.

Robert N. Test
Cincinnati Post, 1976

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yippee Skippee!!!!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Transplant Trot - London

The Transplant Trot was in London today to support Canadian Transplant Association (CTA). We walked or ran 5km in support of organ and tissue donation. Members from the Life Donation Awareness Association were a part of the event. It was a fantastic day! We wore our own t-shirts with our logo. CTA hosts the transplant games and raises awareness for organ and tissue donation.

Organ Recipients

This is Ryley, a sweet 5-year-old that had a heart transplant at 7months old. She was a part of the Trot with her Mom, Joanna and brother Landon. It was a pleasure to meet this family!

Back: Cathy, Janet, Glen, Bob, Dana, Grant
Middle: Betty, Josie, Andrea, Carol
Front: Joanna, Ryley, Kate, Chili, Shaun, Sadie

Go Team!!