Friday, June 05, 2009

Strangers lend helping hand to man waiting for lung transplant

This heartwarming story about a church group from North Charleston, S.C. driving 1,628 miles to Nova Scotia, Canada and paying their own expenses to help re-hab his home and provide comfortable living quarters for a man waiting for a lung transplant is a wonderful example of human kindness.

Mark Dorey, of East Stewiacke, Nova Scotia is heading to Toronto to await a double lung transplant

By Pat Healey Enfield Weekly Press

EAST STEWIACKE: As his eyes swell with tears, the appreciation an East Stewiacke man has for people he never met before this week is very apparent.

Mark Dorey was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis eight years ago and also has been diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, which closes off the main artery where the blood flows to the lung. Doctors told him a year ago he had about two years to live without a double lung transplant. He says he’s at the tail end of the pulmonary fibrosis disease and has been warned that the ‘bottom’ could fall out at anytime.

In January, he contacted Pastor Chad MacKenzie, with Journey Community Church in Enfield, requesting some help to raise the cash needed to cover expenses for the stay in Toronto while awaiting the lung transplant. That’s where things took on a life of their own.

“He came to us and asked if we could help him do some fundraising,” MacKenzie said.

“We said yes, we’ll help you.”

During a visit by MacKenzie and members of the church, they realized Dorey needed more then just fundraising help; he needed help making his Cloverdale Road home liveable given his condition.

“It needed some work,” he added. “The insulation was still showing, the roof leaked.

It just wasn’t a good situation for a guy who needed to breathe as much clear air as possible.”

After the visit, MacKenzie contacted Pastor Wayne McNeill, with Doorway Baptist Church in North Charleston, S.C. When McNeill heard about the plight of Dorey, he knew they could pitch in and help out. So McNeill rounded up 10 of his church ‘campers’ as they call themselves and made the 1628 mile (2,619.5-kilometer), 35-hour trek to East Stewiacke, arriving at 4 a.m. on May 18.

With barely three hours sleep, the group went right to work replacing the roof, dry-walling the ceiling and even renovating the bathroom with a sit-down shower, just for Dorey.

“It means so much,” he said. “It takes the worry off my mind if things don’t go right (in getting a transplant). At least, I know the wife is looked after. That was my biggest worry. It’s something I don’t have to think about.

“I’m speechless for words at what they are doing for me.”

The group was soon joined by neighbors and members from the Enfield church as they worked away in beautiful, warm weather from sun up, to sun down, before packing up and heading back home May 24. While here, the group was lodging at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

“It’s all volunteer work. We’re going to get this done,” MacKenzie said. “This group has been very gracious. They’ve paid for all the supplies themselves.”

He noted local businesses, such as Stewiacke Home Hardware has been kind enough to give the group discounts on supplies. Miller Waste even donated two large bins for garbage to be thrown into.

MacKenzie said the show of support for a guy they’ve not met or knew before the request, shows how big a heart those with Doorway Baptist Church have.
“You don’t see that much nowadays,” he added.

McNeill said it was an easy choice to decide to head across the border and do a good deed. He said while they haven’t had a chance to explore the area, which wasn’t the point of their visit in the first place, they have enjoyed their stay in Nova Scotia
“It’s what we’re there to do,” he said. “We’re just helping out someone who is in need as any good person would do.”

Dorey and wife Sandra will be leaving for Toronto in the next few weeks, where upon his arrival he will be put on the waiting list.

“They (hospital officials) told me to prepare for two years, but usually its six to eight months if you don’t have any blood problems,” he said. “I think I’m pretty good that way. We’re hoping within six months, but you just don’t know.”

He remains in amazement at what is taking place before his very own eyes.

“It’s beyond what I thought they were going to do,” he said, adding he thought they were only going to help fundraise. “It’s unbelievable. I heard there was help coming, but I had no idea people were that kind and donated their time. I’m not used to it.”

Raelene Rose, a member of Journey Community Church, said the group is awaiting confirmation from a couple of local businesses about holding possible fundraisers to help Dorey. She added more information on the locations and dates will be released when they are confirmed.

email Pat Healey.

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