June 30, 2008

For people who only know Emru through this blog, he and I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Today, another Quebec native, Diane Hébert, passed away. She was the first recipient in the province of both a heart and lung transplant. I remember in my early teens seeing her face on the television and in the papers. She made news with her story, and went on lead a normal life, write an autobiography, Second Chance, set up a foundation promoting organ and tissue donation that also supports patients awaiting donation (including those awaiting bone marrow), and live for 23 more years, leaving this world at 51.

I panicked last month when I noticed my organ donor sticker on the back of my Medicare card had worn down so it was hardly readable. My new sticker arrived in the mail last week with my new card, to my relief.

Her efforts made organ donation acceptable in Canada, and very much so in Quebec, which has the highest number of organ donors per capita. People became aware that lives could be changed for the better with their gift.

While bone marrow and stem cell donations are only provided by living donors and one must consent to be added to a different registry, her efforts had an impact on how people feel about helping one another in this manner and made them realize how meaningful it is to give someone a better chance of survival even in the direst of circumstances.

In the title, I include Diane Hébert's transplantation year as her "birth date." It marks the beginning of her second chance at life.

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