Friday, November 04, 2011

Samaratan helps transplant family

Humble Hamilton, Ontario hero buys family an SUV

The Hamilton Spectator
Jamie Zivanovich’s mental engine flipped into high gear after he read about the family whose van was stolen last Sunday and burned, and whose daughter needs medical treatments in Toronto ahead of a heart transplant.

The Cassavetes family get their car thanks to the generosity of Jamie Zivanovich, who bought the vehicle. Shown at rear are parents Kim and Dale, with their son Kevin, and daughter Nicole is front and center.
Kaz Novak/The Hamilton Spectator

Zivanovich, 36, took a copy of The Spectator’s story about the Cassavetes to Queenston Motors and told the salespeople he wanted to buy a car to give to 13-year-old Nicole’s family.

What happened next stunned him.

In minutes, the staff at Queenston, including manager Mike Weber, all wanted to help. So when Jamie bought a 2004 Saturn Vue SUV, Queenston’s service department donated their time to put it in top running order.

Nicole’s dad Dale Cassavetes said the response to the family’s plight has been overwhelming. Nicole was headed to Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital yesterday for a preoperation appointment, and at least they didn't have to worry about getting her there.

“I want to thank everybody on behalf of our family,” Dale said at the dealership Wednesday afternoon.

Zivanovich, his wife Kristin, son Jordan and daughter Jessica delivered the SUV to the Cassavetes family Tuesday evening.

Zivanovich, an ArcelorMittal Dofasco employee of 12 years, was starting the night shift and couldn’t make it to the presentation of the keys on Wednesday. That’s OK, he says. He’s not very comfortable with the limelight anyway.

“That’s not why you do some things like this,” he said.

Nicole’s father said Zivanoviches certainly deserve recognition, as does the dealership. “(We were) very surprised. We’ve tried to say thank-you, but it’s hard to put it into words.”

Meanwhile, students and staff at Memorial School, where Nicole attended for Grades 6 to 8, raised enough money to pay for a rental car for the family to use for a month and a gas card to keep the tank full. She’s now in Grade 9 at Saltfleet high school.

An account at TD Canada Trust was set up by Dale Cassavetes’ mom, Lillian McConnell, in trust for Nicole. The account number is 237 6354816.

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Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You

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