Saturday, July 19, 2008

Transplant recipient meets donor family

From News10Now in New York:

By Katie Morse
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- This past weekend, Robert Juneau, a recipient of a double lung transplant, competed in the 2008 Transplant Games in Pittsburgh. After winning two medals, Juneau went back to his hotel Tuesday night, where he began talking to a man he met outside.

"I noticed he had a pin on his shirt of a young man and I asked him if he was one of the donor families that was there and he told me that he was, that his son had died in an accident back in March of 2007," said Juneau.

Tim Packhem described his son, also named Tim, as a fun-loving high school student. He died in a skateboarding accident one day before Robert's transplant.

As the strangers kept talking, the coincidences got stronger, especially when Robert's wife mentioned a letter she had written to his donor family.

"At one point my wife was repeating one of the lines she had written and the family finished that sentence. At that moment we realized that I had their son's lungs, that their son had saved my life," Juneau said.

The chance meeting was nothing short of a miracle and Tim Packhem is convinced he knows whose idea it was.

"I honestly believe that my son, because it was a Tuesday night and the All-Star game was on and being the big baseball fan he was, he was watching the All-Star game and somehow he saw us getting together and he said 'I'm gonna set it up,'" said Tim Packhem.

"You think about this as a donor mom. You think about that moment. You think about what it will be like," said Paula Packhem, Tim's mother.

And both families realize Tim's amazing gift has brought them together forever.

"Before the games, I had that gold and silver laying on my chest. Now that's where Tim is. And I gave that gold and silver to his mom and dad, because I wasn't the one alone who won those medals. It was Tim and I who won those medals," said Juneau.

Tim Packhem told his parents he wanted to be an organ donor when he was applying for his driver’s license. He also donated his heart, kidneys and liver. He was 17.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network
For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through cornea and tissue donation

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