A trot for transplants

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Erica Tomlinson didn’t know her neighbour Renee Ly for that long when she offered her another chance at life.  Renee was in a desperate need for a liver transplant and Tomlinson wanted to help.

Erica Thomlinson, host of the first run.
Erica Tomlinson, host of the first run.

“Two years ago I donated 70 percent of my liver to Renee, because this is a second chance at life and everyone deserves that” Tomlinson said.  The young entrepreneur who moved to Sault Ste. Marie to open The Pastry Shoppe on Second Line West last year is a huge advocator of organ donation.  This year she helped stage the first ever Transplant Trot , a 5km walk / run at the Sugar Shack on Fifth line Saturday morning. Proceeds from the run donated to the Canadian Transplant Association.  “If you saw someone about to be hit by a bus, are you going to sit there and watch that accident happen? or  you would do everything in your power to say move – move -move!, that was me, she was sick, she had two boys and a husband and I was healthy so why not give her a chance to live the rest of her life” Tomlinson said.

Terri with her daughter Silvana. Who had a heart transplant at age 2
Terri with her daughter Sevanna . Who had a heart transplant at age 2

Sevanna Zayet was just two years old when she was diagnosed with a life threatening heart defect said her Mother Terri. Sevanna needed a heart transplant. ” it was scary, you never think you’re going to be in that situation , you think everyday, is today going to be the day?”

The mother and daughter lived for a whole year in Toronto waiting for the call.

Sevanna’s wait ended. The call came.”I remember it just being very calming , I can’t remember how long the operation was, 6 or 8 hours, felt like forever” Terri said.  Today  Sevanna is in grade 4, she’s doing great and a tad shy. “She doesn’t remember any of it”

Sherri Duke tells her story of her husband's double lung transplant
Sherri Duke tells her story of her husband’s double lung transplant

Sherri Duke does remember when her husband Gary was diagnosed to have a double lung transplant. “Gary wouldn’t have lived very much further, I don’t feel without the hero who donated their organs” Duke said. “He only waited six months, which is very rare, he was very very lucky”  The stress of staying alive long enough waiting for a donor organ is a real one. Many do not live long enough but Duke and many others are living examples of how important it is to make that decision to register at www.beadonor.ca 

_DSC4076“the waiting while he is in surgery was hard, but to see him after and to take that first breath without his oxygen , it was amazing” Duke said.

Tomlinson wants to see as many people register to become a deceased donor, “you can’t rely on your driver’s license any longer you have to register and that’s what we’re trying to do and promote”

Tomlinson said that as a deceased donor a person can save as many as eight people and as a living donor you have a one in six match to anyone.

April is organ donation awareness month.

To learn more about organ donation visit http://www.thelivernextdoor.com

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