This article has a special interest for me because Barry Chadbolt and Judy Postma are good friends of mine. We all had our transplants at Toronto General Hospital and like most organ transplant recipients, continue to promote organ donation awareness so that others may enjoy the same "second chance" at life that we were given.
Barry Chadbolt, 56, tears up when he thinks of the anonymous person whose untimely death allowed him to continue living.
Three years ago this month, Chadbolt, of Brantford, received a double-lung transplant after only six weeks on the organ transplant recipient list.
He later wrote an anonymous letter expressing his gratitude to the organ donor's family through the Trillium Gift of Life program and received an anonymous letter in return.
"It was a really nice experience and quite tearful," he said on Saturday morning at the Brant Organ Donor Awareness Curling Bonspiel, held at the Brantford Golf and Country Club.
Now in its 14th year, the event attracted 66 participants, including four donor organ recipients. Reg Madison, chairman of the bonspiel committee, said the bonspiel is held annually during organ donor awareness month. The goal is to get people thinking about organ donation and let their relatives know their wishes should tragedy strike, Madison said.
The day's events included short presentations by organ recipients who shared their stories.
"There's not a dry eye left in the place," he said.
Chadbolt said he suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), having "smoked myself into a hole" for 30 years.
It took a year for his name to be placed on the transplant list but only six weeks passed before he received a call from Toronto General Hospital about matching donor organs.
Chadbolt said his experience has prompted several of his friends to quit smoking or sign organ donor cards.
Another curler at Saturday's bonspiel was Judy Postma, a 37-year-old Etobicoke resident who received a heart and double-lung transplant in 2001.
Postma was born with a congenital heart defect and underwent corrective surgery at the age of 18 months. She later developed another heart condition so serious that she was placed on the organ donor recipient list.
She was on the list for two years and had less than a month to live when her transplant took place.
Postma said she never thought about organ donation until she got sick, adding that events such as the annual bonspiel help create awareness.
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