JENNIFER Carroll has a special reason to reflect on the spirit of giving each holiday season. Her mother, Allison, gave the gift of life as an organ donor on Christmas Day 2015.
As a registered organ donor, she was able to give life to three people, plus a fourth the gift of sight. “My mother was selfless in life and death,” says Carroll. “Losing my mother broke my heart but I have found so much happiness and a sense of peace as a result of her being an organ donor. Her generous gifts mean other families are still sharing beautiful moments here on earth.”
This year Carroll is thanking the health professionals who support organ donation during BC Transplant’s 29th annual Operation Popcorn campaign, December 7-11. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff in hospital Intensive Care Units, Operating Rooms and Emergency Departments across the province continue to provide high-quality care to organ donors and their families.
BC Transplant’s volunteer transplant recipients, living donors, and deceased donor families usually visit hospitals in person during Operation Popcorn. Like previous years, festive boxes of popcorn will be delivered as a small token of thanks to the staff who support organ donors and their families in hospital all year long. Due to COVID-19, volunteers will not visit in person this year, but they are no less grateful: “I want to thank all the healthcare teams for the compassionate care my mother and our family received while in hospital, during a very difficult time,” adds Carroll.
“Operation Popcorn is such a special time of year, and an excellent opportunity to remind British Columbians of the caring, giving nature of organ donation,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix on Wednesday. “So many have given selflessly, so that someone can experience a new life and I’m glad that the tradition of thanking the health professionals that help make that happen can still continue this year, with precautions taken.”
Every December, Operation Popcorn signals the start of the season of giving – and what better way to embody that spirit than for British Columbians to register as an organ donor, willing to give the gift of life.
Registering as an organ donor gives hope to the more than 750 British Columbians waiting for a transplant.
“BC Transplant works in hospitals to directly support families of organ donors at a time of loss and grief, and our team sees first-hand the impact of these gifts of life,” says Eric Lun, BC Transplant’s provincial executive director. “Registering as a donor is a selfless act of kindness that takes just two minutes.”
A second chance at life was once at the top of Joanne Arcardo’s holiday wish list. She received a new liver in December 2013: “I am eternally grateful to my donor and their family. Amid their tragedy, they put the needs of others first and showed nothing but unconditional love and kindness,” says Arcardo. “My life was saved because of their selfless gift and it’s a true honour to carry their legacy by living my life.”
The need for organ donors has not decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet fewer in-person organ donor registration opportunities has resulted in a decline in registration in 2020.
At a time when we are all thinking of how to show kindness and protect others in our communities, British Columbians are encouraged to take two minutes and register their decision online as an organ donor: www.taketwominutes.ca