Susan Harrison

Susan Harrison

A gift to be truly grateful for

When Susan Harrison was on life support, waiting for a liver transplant, she knew how hard hospital staff were working to save her life.

When Susan Harrison was on life support, waiting for her liver transplant, she could feel how hard hospital staff were working to save her life.

Today, 12 years later, Harrison is healthy, happy and excited to thank those who helped her.

“It’s just a real miracle for me, for all of us, that we’re standing and alive,” Harrison said. “All the hospital staff … they fought to save my life, I could feel that when I was dying. The work that they do is extraordinary.”

Harrison and other recipients visited Victoria General Hospital on Wednesday, Dec. 4 with Operation Popcorn to thank the staff of various units for the good work they do to help give seriously ill people a second start. They presented the nurses with seasonal tins of popcorn in thanks.

Glenda Beecham received a liver transplant in August 2012 and is now near graduation at the University of Victoria with a bachelor of arts in anthropology.

“They mean I’m here today. They’ve saved my life and helped me through the hard times,” Beecham said.

Also carrying out Operation: Popcorn was Stephen Farmer, a View Royal resident who received a transplant after hepatitis C destroyed the majority of his liver.

While he waited a year for his transplant, Farmer slipped into a coma on five different occasions and spent much time in the Intensive Care Unit of VGH, making his stop at that unit all the more poignant.

“I spent a lot of time here,” Farmer said. “My children were eight years old and ten years old when I had my transplant. Now they’re 17 and 20 years old, graduating from school. … I wouldn’t have seen any of that.”

The act of donating an organ can also be a glimmer of positivity in what is otherwise a terrible situation for the families of donors, the recipients said. Recipients will often write a thank you letter to the family of the donor

“One person said that she had lost a son, a young man, to a sudden aneurism,” said Sam Duke, whose own son received a live-donor transplant from his sister. “He was a donor, and she was so grateful in the long runner that he had been a donor. It gave her great comfort.”

All the recipients stressed their belief in the importance of registering as an organ donor in B.C. Statistics from B.C. Transplant show that while about 85 per cent of B.C. residents believe in the importance of registering as a donor, only 18 per cent have done so.

“Organ transplants are amazing, a miracle, a true gift,” Beecham said. “I’m here today and I get to spend times with my friends and my family and just live my life because of them.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is closed between Impala Road and Humpback Road following a “major” police incident, according to DriveBC. (Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATED: Major crimes unit takes over after police incident closes Highway 14 through Sooke

Incident occurred Friday night, detour made available early Saturday

(Black Press Media file photo)
Get the word on art on Sunday afternoons in Victoria

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria presents Sunday lecture series in March

To each their own pipe. The new sewer main during staging in James Bay before it was installed in 2018, to convey waste to the McLoughlin Point treatment facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘End in sight,’ for Victoria’s annual sewage overflows

Wastewater projects underway should end sewage overflows

Community members Ed Hutchinson, left, Dave Noren, and Pat Graham, president of The Ladies Guild, stand before the new book house outside the Church of the Advent in Colwood. The tiny library was built as a result of the annual Church of the Advent book sale being cancelled due to COVID-19. (Submitted/Joan Hoffman)
Colwood church builds little library

Church of Advent annual book sale cancelled due to health restrictions

(Courtesy Very Good Butchers)
Very Good Butchers brand adds cheese to its platter

The Cultured Nut products to be rebranded under Very Good Cheese banner

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read