These days Laura Craig is just happy to be alive and on Friday she had an opportunity to say thanks to some of those people who helped make that possible.
The recipient of a kidney nearly five years ago, Craig and four other volunteer members of BC Transplant were at Penticton Regional Hospital as part of the annual Operation Popcorn with three big, red boxes filled to the brim.
“I’m here to represent those of us who were lucky enough when someone signed their organ donor card, talked to their family about and then when their time came they left a legacy,” said Craig. “It saved my life, and my donor saved seven others, so I’m incredibly grateful for this program.
“I can’t imagine being put in the position to have to approach a family at a time of crisis and grief. It is an incredibly stressful position to be in, and we know that, so we’re saying thank you so much for going in there and supporting the family in their grief but also saving lives because sharing the gift is so important.”
Because the wait time for a kidney is about eight years in B.C. once someone even gets on the list and she and the others have embarked on an awareness campaign to get people to sign up.
“It’s the importance of registering your wishes, for or against, and letting your family know so they can follow through,” said Craig. “It’s very important because a lot of people support the idea of organ donation, but only a small portion has actually signed up to do it.
“We just want people to fill out that paperwork. They can do it online and it only takes two minutes.”
She added: “I remember every day and I’m always grateful because I can actually live my life and I can volunteer and I can be present for my children give back to the community and of course have fun. I’m a big fan of fun.”
Three hospital departments were singled out by the group, emergency room, intensive care and operating room.
“This is what we’re all about exactly,” said PRH operating room manager Lisa Van den Brink who received one of the boxes of popcorn.
“It closes the circle of care. We provide the care and then we get to see them afterwards and how they’re doing. It’s really nice.
“I just think it’s so nice to meet the people and hear the stories of people that we have touched.”
Operating room nurse Cindy Webber agreed: “It brings you kind of closer to them you actually see the people sometimes and it just seems more personal then.”
People can register their wishes at http://www.transplant.bc.ca/our-services.
Send Mark Brett an email.
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