Penticton woman is the poster child for organ donation

For Annick Lim, being featured on the B.C. Transplant Society’s new poster is a dream come true.

Penticton's Annick Lim poses with a poster of Annick Lim. The kidney recipient is the latest poster child for the B.C. Transplant Society and is urging people to become organ donors.

Penticton's Annick Lim poses with a poster of Annick Lim. The kidney recipient is the latest poster child for the B.C. Transplant Society and is urging people to become organ donors.

For Annick Lim, being featured on the B.C. Transplant Society’s new poster is a dream come true.

“I’ve been wanting to be on their brochures and posters since before I got my transplant,” said Lim, who was diagnosed with kidney disease at 18 months, though she was in her mid-twenties when she finally got her transplant.

“I always knew I would need a kidney transplant. Sixteen years ago in February, I got my kidney transplant from my dad,” said Lim. In those intervening years, there were a lot of visits to doctors’ offices and drugstores, where Lim saw lots of brochures from the Transplant society.

“I always thought, I want to be on there,” said Lim. The call asking her if she would like to be on the poster came while she was at work.

“The whole store heard me,” said Lim, laughing. The image of a smiling Lim, pointing to her transplanted kidney, will be used in a number of locations from promotional posters to advertisements on the Metro Transit system.

The poster is also tagged with a quote from Lim.

“Thanks to a kidney transplant, I am alive and paying it forward,” it reads.

Lim has been volunteering for the Kidney Foundation since 2008, educating people on how to keep their kidney health and fundraising.

“One of the other things we do that is really critical is we help people register their wishes for organ donation,” said Lim.

In B.C., only 17 per cent of the population has registered as an organ donor. Lim said that years of volunteer work has paid off in the Okanagan, where 33 per cent of the people have registered.

It’s still a long way from the 50 per cent goal the transplant society has set.

“It is so critical. If 50 per cent of the population was registered, there would be no waiting list. Only 50 per cent,” said Lim. “Now people are waiting and they are dying. It doesn’t have to happen.”

One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease and millions more are at risk. Throughout March – Kidney Health Month – The Kidney Foundation of Canada, its partners and volunteers work together to host awareness events aimed at raising the profile of kidney disease and organ and tissue donation.

Showing a cheerful positive image on the poster, is important, said Lim.

“My health is fantastic. My numbers are where they should be, the doctors and nurses are pleased, I take my medication,” said Lim, explaining she takes 17 pills a day as part of a life-long regiment to keep her body from rejecting the transplanted kidney.

“If you were to skip a day, you would be in big trouble. Your body never accepts a foreign organ, ever,” said Lim. “That’s why they want to concentrate on that, because you want to focus on the positive.”

The positive, for Lim, from working hard to stay healthy, means a positive life, travel, even a marriage in Jamaica.

“I volunteer, I work part-time, I have an awesome life,” said Lim. “To think that I wouldn’t be able to do that if I didn’t get a kidney … we take it for granted, but life is easy to take for granted when everything is good.”

More information on registering to be an organ donor is available at transplant.bc.ca. and the B.C. Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, kidney.ca/BCHome, where you can also donate to the cause.

Sixty per cent of every dollar goes to research, while 40 per cent stays in province to help with patient support, education and volunteer support.