Today, Ian volunteers for BC Transplant alongside his mother Amanda, and even delivered a presentation to the organ donation staff at BC Children's Hospital in June 2022.
Amanda adds, "For everything Ian has gone through and endured he is the happiest kid I know. He has the biggest heart and loves to help and give to others. He struggles through the hard times the best he can, and always has a smile in there somewhere."
An interview with Ian, liver recipient
What are some important milestones you've been able to accomplish post-transplant?
I made it to my 11-year liver anniversary! I have also been able to graduate elementary school and go to middle school, and learned to ride my bike. In 2019, I threw the first pitch at a Vancouver Canadians baseball game.
What specific hobbies do you enjoy?
I like to golf, curl, play baseball, ride my bike, play video games and cheer on the players at the Chilliwack Chiefs hockey games. I also enjoy painting and drawing, and listening to music.
What do you enjoy painting? Tell us more about the artwork you brought to the photo shoot.
The paintings I brought to the photo shoot are all my recent paintings. They are of things that have inspired me. I really like being outside in nature with trees and mountains, and I enjoy painting them.
There is a quote I like by George E. Miller: "Creating artwork allows your mind to be in a safe place while it contemplates the tougher issues you are dealing with. One can use the tools of brush, paint, pastels, crayons, etc. to expose and even for a short time color those issues in a different light."
I have had lots of hospital stays and 60+ surgeries in my life so far. Painting helps me relax and forget about all that for a little bit. I included the organ donation ribbon in my bear painting because I am strong and brave just like the bears in nature. Having my transplant has made me strong and brave.
We heard you had a special opportunity to paint shoes for Dr. Bonnie Henry. Can you tell us more?
I painted shoes for Dr. Henry in the summer of 2020. Starlight Canada sent me a pair of shoes and asked me to design them for our medical heroes. I decided to paint shoes for Dr. Henry because my mum and me watch all her daily updates to see what we need to do to keep me and my family safe.
An interview with Amanda, Ian's mother
As a mother, what does Ian's life-saving transplant mean to you?
It means we are and can still be a complete family of five. Ian's transplant came in the nick of time – he had less than six weeks to live. We were wrapping our minds around losing him and now we get to have a future and watch him grow into the amazing kid that he is.
What are some of the milestones you have shared with Ian post-transplant?
Each liver anniversary and birthday is an occasion we celebrate with Ian. It is one more year that he has conquered life and the trials and tribulations that come with transplant. To get to take him to his first day of school every September is a celebration. To get to see him live his life and to be a spectator and cheerleader at his activities is something I'm grateful for every single day.
What does organ donation mean to you?
Organ donation means HOPE. We get to have lots of bonus days to make memories. It has made our family realize what is truly important in life. It's not the material things, it's the love and memories we get to share as a family.
Do you have a message you want to share with Ian's donor/donor family?
We want to express our never-ending gratitude and thank yous for making the decision to save our son's life during your hardest time. We do not take your decision for granted and do our best to honour your loved one each day. We are forever grateful to you.