Can you please explain your connection to the transplant world?
"I am a transplant wife and I am married to Darvy Culleton who received a double- lung transplant in 2006. While we were dating and after we got married, we have volunteered together at booths and events to help spread awareness of organ donation and to encourage people to register their decision as organ donors."
When did you meet Darvy relative to this transplant journey?
"I met Darvy six years after his transplant. In my experience, I had to learn all about the transplant world (i.e. medications, doctors' appointments, needs and requirements). However, I was immediately grateful for his organ donor. I had never thought about organ donation before meeting Darvy and he changed that. I registered to be an organ donor myself very shortly after we started dating and now I am very passionate about it."
How has the quality of life been since the transplant for the entire family?
"Darvy's quality of life (and life in general) has drastically changed since his transplant. As he always puts it, "It didn't change my life; it gave me a whole new life." He was tied to an oxygen tank before and could do very little. Now he is able to live his life again and we have also been to Mexico together several times. We got married. We are able to plan a future together, and most importantly, I think our biggest accomplishment has definitely been the birth of our daughter. This is something that absolutely would not have happened if it was not for his organ donor. It has also given his family 12 more years with him which was not possible before his transplant."
Having seen the miracle of transplant so closely, how important is organ donation and discussing one's decisions to donate to family and friends?
"Organ donation awareness is extremely important to me and I am very passionate about it. We share our story with strangers all the time. Darvy was featured in the BC Transplant campaigns and commercials so people often recognize him when we are out and the conversation always starts from there. We have also spent a large portion of our time together volunteering with BC Transplant and we encourage everyone to register all the time!"
What would you like to say to the medical teams that are so vital to the success of transplant in our province and in Darvy's circumstance?
"I think the transplant medical teams are amazing. The fact that they are able to help so many people and literally keep many people alive is amazing. Darvy has met some wonderful people along the way who he speaks very highly of and has frequently mentioned that his journey would not have been the same without them. They went above and beyond and made the process much easier for him. I will always be grateful for the work that they do."
What would your message be to Darvy's donor family?
"My message for all donor families would be that their loved ones made the most unbelievable decision and they have become angels saving the lives of people they don't even know. My husband would not be here without his transplant. My daughter would not be here without his transplant. And I would not have the life I have without his transplant. Thank you will never be enough."
What is your perspective on BC's milestone of 50 years of donation and transplant?
"I think it is incredible that it's been 50 years! I believe that things will constantly be changing for the better to help the patients."