Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dartmouth man hoping McCartney tickets draw will aid Nova Scotians awaiting lung transplants


By Davene Jeffrey The Chronicle Herald Halifax, Nova Scotia

Trevor Umlah is hoping a pair of Paul McCartney tickets will help Nova Scotians awaiting lung transplants breathe a little easier.

The Dartmouth man’s website is raffling off a pair of VIP tickets to the former Beatle’s concert worth more than $600.

At any time there are about 10 to 12 Nova Scotians living in Toronto waiting to receive a lung transplant, Mr. Umlah said.

"And Toronto is not a cheap place to live," he said.

The double lung recipient was lucky; he only had to wait three weeks before he received his transplant. But his wait, coupled with a three-month recovery, cost about $20,000.

He knows of two Nova Scotia women who have been living in Toronto for the past two years waiting for their transplants.

In his case, he and his wife took leaves from their jobs, but many people waiting for transplants are too ill to work and have to be accompanied by a caregiver. In some cases, that means both breadwinners are out of work, Mr. Umlah said.

Last December, the province announced a new program that helps pay the rent of people who must leave the province to get their transplants.

The initiative was sparked by the plight of Marilyn MacKay of Louisdale, Richmond County. She has been living in Toronto for two years waiting her turn on the transplant list and for suitable organs to be found.

Mr. Umlah said his site raised $1,500 by raffling Neil Young tickets last fall. He also organized a golf tournament which brought in $20,000.

His working on another tournament for this fall, but the location has yet to be determined, he said.

To find out more about the raffle or to buy tickets visit Trevor Umlah’s website.

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