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50. 50 Years of Transplant: Jennifer Carroll

When Jennifer’s mother passed away on Christmas Eve a few years ago, her family didn't think twice about honouring their mother’s decision to donate her organs; they knew this decision would have made her very proud.
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"I cannot imagine anything more gratifying than knowing when my time here is done, my organs could enable others to keep on living. When I tell people about my mom, I always start with 'She was selfless in life and death - she was an organ donor.'"

Can you share a few details with us, on your mother's passing?

"My mother had a brain hemorrhage while at work one morning in December 2015 and was declared legally deceased on Christmas Eve.  She hadn't complained of any headaches or pain at all prior to collapsing. Although she never regained consciousness, our family was able to hold her hands and say goodbye to her."

Experiencing the trauma and grief of losing someone so dear to you can be overwhelming, to say the least. What motivated you and your family during your experience of loss, to decide to donate the organs of your mother?

"My mother was one of the most selfless and compassionate people I've ever known. Her own mother died when she was a teenager and because of this early loss, she knew how precious life was. Our family had all registered to be organ donors years prior. For us, there was no hesitation in honouring what we know would have given her great pride which was giving others the gift of life."

What has being involved with BC Transplant as a donor family advocate meant for you, and the legacy of your mother?

"Being involved with BC Transplant as a donor family advocate has given me immense joy. I take great pride in educating others about the incredibly important work BC Transplant does and the legacy my mother has left behind.  Losing my mother broke my heart but I have found so much happiness and a sense of peace as a result of her being an organ donor. Her generous gifts have meant other families are still sharing beautiful moments here on Earth. That never ceases to amaze me."

Have you been in contact with your mother's organ recipients?

"Since becoming a volunteer with BC Transplant, I have been blessed to meet many donor families and several recipients but not my mom's - yet! It is such an incredible experience to connect with others whose loved ones have given the gift of life and those who are here today because someone did. I feel so energized after meeting a recipient. It's a feeling like no other."

Being a donor family member; what would you say to those that haven't yet considered the importance of speaking about organ donation amongst family and friends and registering one's decision to give?

"I was shocked to discover you are more likely to need a transplant than you are to become a donor. There are so many people waiting for a match and the matching process is so specific that it's imperative we talk about it with our loved ones. I cannot imagine anything more gratifying than knowing when my time here is done, my organs could enable others to keep on living. When I tell people about my mom, I always start with, 'She was selfless in life and death-she was an organ donor.'"

 Organ donation is a vital part of BC's milestone of 50 Years of Transplant. What would you like to share about all those that have given the gift of life, including your mom, to offer a second chance at hope, happiness, and future to so many?

"The decision to become an organ donor is truly beautiful. I am so humbled when I think of the life-saving gifts that are given. To bring another day of hope and happiness to a stranger is so inspiring. We are all connected to each other here and nothing says that more to me than choosing to be an organ donor."

What's your perspective on the milestone of 50 years of donation and transplant in BC?

"50 years! I cannot believe everything that has been accomplished and how many people have been given another chance at life because of BC Transplant.  It's such an impressive milestone to reach! The impact that BC Transplant has had on so many individuals and families is immeasurable and I am so humbled and proud to be a part of a donor family."

BC Transplant; 50in50
 
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