Kelowna-area organ donation recipients (in black t-shirts) thank Intensive Care Unit nurses at Kelowna General Hospital for the work they do, during the annual Operation Popcorn event KGH Tuesday.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Organ recipients say thank you at KGH

The annual Operation Popcorn thanks hospital staff for the work they do supporting organ donation

Kelowna-area organ transplant recipients thanked staff at Kelowna General Hospital Wednesday during their annual Operation Popcorn event.

Each year, for the last 26 years, the organ recipients and the B.C. Transplant Society get together to thank the doctors, nurses and staff in a number of departments at KGH with large cans of popcorn for the work they do in helping locate and retrieving organs used to help save recipients lives and for the post-transplant care they provide.

“It means so much,” said Matt Scaife, who has participated in Operation Popcorn for the last 16 years. “It’s hard to put into words.”

But he said the liver he received in 2000 enabled him to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding and see the birth of his two grandchildren.

Larry Zutz, who received a liver in 2015 called the staff at the hospital, particularly those in the ambulatory care department, his heroes, noting he has had to visit the hospital more than 160 times since his transplant, both as part of his after-care and also because of a serious fall when he was learning to walk again after the transplant. He sustained major injuries in the fall.

On Tuesday, presentations were made to representatives of the intensive care unit, the coronary care units, the operating rooms, and the emergency department at KGH. Popcorn also gets delivered to the coroner’s office.

Zutz said he, like many transplant recipients encourage people to become organ donors and said he would like to see donations become the default and the option to opt out available on request rather than the other way around as it currently is in British Columbia. He said that is the case in 24 European countries.

In B.C. in 2016, 651 British Columbians were on the waiting list for organ donations and 21 died while waiting. A total of 423 transplants were performed. Ninety-five per cent of British Columbians say they support organ donation, but only 20 per cent, just over 1 million people, have registered to be organ donors. For more information about organ donation contact transplant.bc.ca

Tuesday’s event at KGH was one of 29 similar events held across B.C. and the Yukon on the day.

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