Tuesday, November 09, 2004

And What a Birthday Celebration it Was

Photo Gallery for this article: Birthday Ball

Last Wednesday, November 3rd, almost 600 were in attendance for the first annual Birthday Ball fund raiser to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Toronto General Hospital's new multi-organ transplant center. It was also a celebration of the very special birthdays of all our transplant patients; marking the anniversaries of our second chance in life.

The gala was a stunning success and moneys raised will help the Transplant Centre maintain it's status as a world model in the delivery of patient care, the education of transplant health professionals and transplant research.

The Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex in Toronto buzzed with excitement and guests included a literal "who's who" from the world of organ and tissue transplantation. During the day about 270 transplant scientists and physicians from around the world attended a medical symposium sponsored by our Transplant Centre and many were present at the Ball.

Included was Dr. Joel Cooper, who performed the very first successful lung transplant in the world on November 7, 1983 while he was director of the Lung Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital. Dr. Cooper is now located in St. Louis, MO but his ties to Toronto are very, very strong. My number one hero Dr. Shaf Keshavjee was there and I had a chance to talk to him. He is head of the Lung Transplant Program at the hospital and he rescued me from death with my "Gift of Life" single-lung transplant April 20, 2002.

It was a very special evening for transplant recipients. There were donor families present; representatives of the Trillium Gift of Life Network, Ontario's Organ and Tissue Donation program; transplant physicians and their transplant teams, and other support staff. Patients had a chance to chat with the doctors and staff and likewise it was, as many of the staff told me, wonderful to see their patients so full of life and doing the normal things that people do.

Many people were responsible for the evening's success, including Dr. Gary Levy, Medical Director of the Multi-Organ Transplant Program; the staff at the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation; the Birthday Ball committee and all the volunteers, many of them organ transplant recipients. And it goes without saying that none of this would have been possible without our many sponsors, companies and individuals who gave their support.

I was able to capture a few photos and have published them to my gallery with captions and comments for you to browse and enjoy.
Birthday Ball

Merv Sheppard.
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