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#RTWeek2021: Bobbi’s personal life and professional career connected by transplant

October 24-30, 2021 is Respiratory Therapy Week in Canada and we are spotlighting one of our very own. Bobbi Paquette’s outstanding commitment and passion as a dedicated respiratory therapist (RT) and healthcare worker shines daily in her line of work.
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                (Bobbi with her daughters Thalea and Sophia) ​

As a cornea transplant recipient herself, Bobbi works every day to help offer the same gift of life to others.

Bobbi joined BC Transplant in 2018 and is currently the In-Hospital Coordinator for Fraser Valley donation hospitals, and proudly works in the community where she lives. In this role, she supports hospitals and families in organ donation. Bobbi's personal connection to transplant makes her even more passionate about her career.  

Tell us more about your experience as an RT and your career path before joining BC Transplant.

"I have been an RT since 2008, and have always worked in acute care. I was a preceptor for student RTs for seven years and worked at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre until 2015. I then made the move to BC to be closer to family and worked at the hospitals in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Langley. I also previously taught neonatal resuscitation for two years in the Fraser Valley.

Being in a hospital is like home to me because I grew up as a severe asthmatic and was admitted to the hospital 14 times before the age of five. I actually love the hospital smell because to me, it's the place where I was able to breathe again each time after struggling."


What do you love about your job?

"My favorite part of organ donation is when we get to the end of a case and assign patients to receive specific organs. I often get emotional during this part because I realize that all the work our team has done over several days is finally leading to actual lives being saved. Writing their names is the direct result and goal of our hard work. I love sharing with the families of organ donors which organs we have found recipients for and bringing some comfort to them in a time of such loss."

How does it make you feel, knowing the difference you make in the lives of our transplant recipients, organ donors and donor families?

"I feel honoured to be able to work in organ donation and privileged to work in healthcare. It is an honour to work with all the hospitals across BC and meet with donor families. Our team is so amazing and made up of individuals who thrive on making a difference and I am proud to be part of that team."

Can you tell us about your personal connection to transplant and how that reflects on your experience working at BCT now?

"I started to notice a steady decline in my eyesight from 2016 to 2018. I was referred to VGH and later diagnosed with an eye disease called Keratoconus. After I had my first child, my eyesight took a severe decline. I was no longer able to drive or read to my daughter. I didn't feel safe biking or taking my child on a bike ride because I couldn't protect her. I felt like my life was becoming so limited and I lost my independence.

My biggest fear was not being able to work in healthcare. I am so passionate about helping others and have worked so hard to be in this career, and the thought of not being a healthcare worker was devastating.


                  (Bobbi with her husband Nick and daughters                                                          Thalea and Sophia) 

I was listed in March 2018 for a transplant and received the call that changed my life on June 30. I am so grateful to this one family's generous decision to donate their loved one's eyes. Because of their decision, I regained my ability to read to my children, bike with my children, drive, and go back to work in a job I love.

I choose to honour my donor and donor family by helping others receive the gift of life."

We want to give a huge thank you to all the RTs across BC Transplant, PHSA and Canada for the important work they do to help patients regain their breath again. 

SOURCE: #RTWeek2021: Bobbi’s personal life and professional career connected by transplant ( )
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