The Cape Breton Post
SYDNEY, Nova Scotia — The story of a Louisdale woman who waited two years in Ontario before receiving a double-lung transplant has taken a tragic turn.
Marilyn MacKay, who suffered through financial hardship during that wait, died early Tuesday morning in Toronto, just six days after receiving her new lungs.
“They were trying to deal with their own personal issues, but they always had helping others in mind,” Louis Brill, president and CEO of the Lung Association of Nova Scotia, said shortly after learning of MacKay’s death.
Brill was referring to an aid package for Nova Scotians that was recently created because of financial struggles the MacKay family endured while Marilyn awaited her operation.
Lung transplants are not available in Nova Scotia, so the MacKays were forced to exhaust much of their life savings waiting in Ontario for the procedure.
Their situation improved in December 2008 when the provincial government extended emergency funding of $1,500 per month to help pay her accommodations in Toronto while she waited for the operation.
That aid is now available to other families.
“It is not easy to ask (for help) and it wasn’t easy for them, but they did it for their immediate need and for the good of others. You’ve got to applaud that and celebrate it. I just wish it didn’t end this way.”
Others in similar situations have told Brill that if they didn’t have the support that Nova Scotians now are provided, they would have come home.
“To say (the MacKays) played a role in something that was important when they were in a very, very difficult situation is very fair and correct.” That assessment is shared by Richmond MLA Michel Samson, who expressed his deepest sympathy and admiration to the MacKay family.
“Marilyn was able to shed some light on a health-care issue that affects many Nova Scotians,” Samson said in a release. “The strength, courage and determination shown by Marilyn and Ken will provide financial help to many Nova Scotia families seeking out-of-province medical attention in the future.”
MacKay’s family in Ontario confirmed her death but wasn’t ready to comment Tuesday afternoon.
Ken MacKay, Marilyn’s husband, is planning to offer a statement at a later date.
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