Saturday, December 31, 2005

"For Auld Lang Syne"

Millions of people will sing "For Auld Lang Syne" as we ring in the New Year tonight and most will not know the exact meaning of the words. Here's a link to the most popular version of Auld Lang Syne and a translation that shows everytime we sing 'for auld lang syne' we are simply saying "for old long ago".

I Wish You a Very Happy and Prosperous Year 2006

Friday, December 30, 2005

Donate Life Float in 2006 Rose Parade

The 117th Rose Parade, themed It's Magical, will take place on Monday, January 2, 2006 at 8:00am PST featuring spirited marching bands from throughout the nation, majestic floral floats and high-stepping equestrian units.

For millions of us, the Rose Parade has been must TV viewing as we rest and relax after the holidays and New Year's eve celebrations. Since 2004 the Rose Parade has taken on special meaning for our transplant community with the entry of the Donate Life float.

Lung transplant recipient Gary Foxen suggested the idea of a Donate Life Float entry in the Rose Parade. In 1999, suffering from severe emphysema, Gary Foxen received a lung transplant. A couple years later, Gary wrote the letter originally suggesting the entry of a Donate Life-themed float in the Rose Parade as "a way to repay society for this wonderful gift" of life. Last June, Gary was honored with the Coalition on Donation’s James M. Wolf Award for his "inspiration and commitment to increasing organ and tissue donation." Gary is a rider on this year's float.

The Donate Life float and its 23 riders represent millions of people touched by organ and tissue donation, including donor families, living donors, transplant recipients and transplant candidates.

News from Transplant Living
2006 Donate Life Rose Parade Float Features 'Life Transformed' by Organ and Tissue Donation

Los Angeles, CA -- A nationwide partnership of organizations, united to inspire all people to "Donate Life: through organ and tissue donation, unveiled its 2006 Rose Parade float design June 30, 2005 at the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) annual meeting in Los Angeles.

The 2006 Donate Life Rose Parade float, themed Life Transformed, will mark the third appearance of organ donors, donor family members and transplant recipients in America's New Year Celebration. The float's 22 riders--whose lives, families and communities have undergone a physical, emotional and spiritual transformation through being touched by organ and tissue donation--will be surrounded by new life that has sprung forth from the shelter of a fallen tree. The riders will hail from communities throughout the nation, including California, Illinois, New York, Ohio and Oklahoma.

The Donate Life float adds an emotional dimension to the Tournament of Roses Parade theme, It's Magical. "A life touched by organ and tissue donation and transplantation is a life transformed," said Bryan Stewart, chairman of the Donate Life Rose Parade Float organizing committee and director of communications for OneLegacy. "While organ and tissue transplantation helps hundreds of thousands of people regain their health each year, giving and receiving the gift of life has a profound--many would say magical--impact on the lives, families and communities it touches." Full Press Release

For more information:
Official Float Web Site

Official Tournament of Roses Web Site

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Canadian Transplant Games, Edmonton, Alberta August 8th to 13th, 2006

The City of Edmonton is hosting the 2006 Canadian National Transplant Games. As much as the Games is an athletic event that calls attention to the success of organ and tissue transplantation, it is also a celebration of life among recipients, their families and friends. Athletes compete at an extraordinarily high level, demonstrating the physical success of transplant surgery and the need to increase organ donation. More..Canadian Transplant Association, Alberta Edmonton Transplant Games Aug 8-13, 2006

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

U.S. Transplant Games June 16-21, 2006 Louisville, KY

The U.S. Transplant Games is a four-day athletic competition among recipients of organ transplants. Competition in the U.S. Transplant Games is open to anyone who has received a lifesaving solid organ transplant--heart, liver, kidney, lung, and pancreas. Bone marrow recipients are also eligible to participate. As much as the Games is an athletic event that calls attention to the success of organ and tissue transplantation, it is also a celebration of life among recipients, their families and friends. More..Transplant Games

Sunday, December 25, 2005

April is National Donate Life Month in the U.S.

Now is the time to start planning activities in your community.

The History of National Donate Life Month (observed in April)

In 2003, President Bush first announced that the month of April will be observed as National Donate Life Month, a time to raise public awareness of the critical need for organ, tissue, marrow, and blood donation.

Originally known as National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week and celebrated for one week in April, that observance was the result of smaller, independent efforts around the Nation to recognize the altruism and generosity of organ and tissue donors.

In 1983, the Congress of the United States "authorized and requested" the President to "issue a Proclamation designating April 22 through April 29, 1984 as National Organ Donation Awareness Week." Aware that many more tissue donations are made each year than organ donations, "Tissue" was soon added to the name, and the third full week of April became the traditional time of observance.

Over the years, many participating organizations and individuals found it restrictive to limit special donation awareness efforts to one week in April-especially as the week often conflicted with other observances such as National Volunteer Week, or at times, with Passover or Holy Week.

The change to a month-long observance of "National Donate Life Month" underscores the importance of donation of not only organs and tissues, but also marrow and blood. Having a month focused upon donation awareness and donation also gives donation and transplant organizations more time to sponsor public awareness activities in their communities.

Seasons Greetings

Wishing you the happiest of Christmases and Hanukkahs and Kwanzaas and Festivi, a beautiful holiday season and a new year of peace and happiness. Merv.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Reviews of Blogs

The Health Care Blog The Wall Street Journal says this is a “must-read” blog. It is hosted by Matthew Holt, a healthcare consultant, researcher, and strategist. The site is frequented by many industry and information tech professionals but also by many doctors, students, and patients. This blog has extensive links to other health and medical blogs that Holt rates highly. I especially liked the comparisons to health care systems around the world as the debate continues about our's here in Canada.

A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure
A perspective on medical and other issues from a general surgeon. A highly recommended site with many excellent links.

Kristy Mitton
Kristy, 23, has Cystic Fibrosis and is waiting for a lung & liver transplant at Toronto General Hospital. Her passion is horses and she hopes to be able to enjoy them for many years to come. Her blog is a plea for organ donation.

Medicine and Man
Putting medicine into perspective. Continuously updated by a doctor practicing in India. Excellent and extensive links.

Kidney Notes
Notes on Medicine, Science & Technology from a Nephrologist in New York City. Well written and thoughtful posts. Extensive links. Highly recommended.

Slaying The Fat Monster
This is an excellent diet & nutrition blog.

Healthwise, Agewise
How to grow old healthfully and gracefully. A brother and sister publish this excellent blog with advice on lifestyle, diet and excercise. He is a physics professor and she is a medical doctor.

Breast Cancer Central
The latest information and resources for survivors and the ones who love them.

Two Hands
Jeannette from California is publicly sharing her breast cancer experience in the hope of educating people about breast cancer and how it impacts a person emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and physically. Good links also.

Young Savannah's Liver Transplant
The story of a young liver transplant recipient who received a 2nd transplant December 9, 2004 and how this has brought economic hardship on a U.S. family. A photo of her 6 year-old donor is posted on the blog.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lung Transplant Xmas party a big success

The lung transplant Christmas party December 7th was a huge success, with an excellent turnout. I took quite a few pictures and Joe Gomes contributed to the photo gallery also. You can view them at this link: Christmas Party Photos

Check presentation - click for larger photo

A highlight of the day was fundraising donations made to Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Director, Lung Transplant Program, Toronto General Hospital. In this photo, lung transplant recipient Gerald Sutton, along with his wife Kathy Marceline and daughter Karleigh, are presenting a check for $6500 raised at their October 15h Rock N' Roll event for lung transplant research. Please see the separate post in Gerald & Kath's thank you letter below.

Here Dr. Shaf Keshavjee is receiving a donation of $5,000 from the Nirvana Cultural Society. These donations are fine examples of our transplant community "giving back". Fundraising activities are limited only by one's imagination and the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation will be very pleased to offer advice and guidance.
For information email:
Linda Ruickbie

Claudia Vico, Linda Ruickbie and Mary-Claire JankowskiThe Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation was well represented and in this photo we have Claudia Vico, Linda Ruickbie and Mary-Claire Jankowski. The Hospital Foundation has been very supportive of our fundraising initiatives by providing their guidance, help and expertise.

Thanks for a Night of Rock 'N Roll

Transplant recipients are generally very grateful for their "second chance" and like to show their thanks by giving back. One of the ways to do this is raising money for transplant research and lung transplant recipient Gerald Sutton along with his wife Kathy Marcelline came up with a very creative initiative. Their letter below tells the story.

Dear Friends,

Saturday October 15, 2005, more than 200 attended A Night of Rock 'N' Roll at The Original Motorcycle Café & Lounge in support of Toronto General Hospital, Lung Transplant Research. Ticket sales, the raffle and donations raised over $6500!

Wednesday December 7, 2005, we had the enormous pleasure of presenting the cheque to the surgeon who performed Gerald's transplant in 2002, Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Director, Lung Transplant Program, Toronto General Hospital. See photo

We are incredibly grateful to:

Clevelands House, Muskoka
Jestlyn Products, Inc.
The Original Motorcycle Café & Lounge
Steve's Music Store
Tennis Canada
Toronto Argonauts

The Well
Tyler Ellis Band
Last Call
Eugene Ripper
The Woodleys

Volunteers, and YOU for your support!

And we are forever grateful to Dr. Keshavjee, the entire Organ Transplant Team at Toronto General Hospital, and, the Donor Family.

Gerald, Kathy and family

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snow Day in Waterloo

Snow Day Here's the view from my kitchen window this morning. I turned on the radio to hear nothing but news about traffic jams and accidents so I decided right then and there to make this a "Snow Day for Merv" and stay home to tackle the dreaded job of unpacking and settling into my new place in Waterloo, Ontario. Now that I've finally moved in I can resume regular posts to this blog. Stay tuned.

For my new address & phone number please email me:

The Laurence's Home, Mississauga, Ontario
After reading the above, lung transplant recipient Peter Laurence sent in this photo of what he and his wife Lynne woke up to this morning in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga. Looks like a lot of us had a snow day today.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Annual Lung Transplant Xmas Party Wednesday, Dec 7th, 2005 - 10am to 2pm

Xmas Party 2004 Courtesy Joe GomesDirections: New Clinical Services Building (NCSB), Toronto General Hospital. Take elevators from University Avenue lobby to the 11th floor west, Room 1135.

UPDATE: Dr. Shaf Keshavjee will attend between 11:30 am and 12 noon and will be accepting a donation of funds raised for lung transplant research by lung transplant recipient Gerald Sutton and his wife Kathy Marcelline. Gerald and Kathy held a "Rock N'Roll" musical fundraising event October 15th in conjunction with Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation.
Mark your calendars and plan to attend this wonderful social opportunity for our lung transplant community.

Lung transplant recipient Linda Lycett, with help from Maureen O'Dell and others, has generously donated her time and committment over the years to make this an event to look forward to. I'll be there and look forward to meeting and greeting everyone. Merv.

Here's the announcement from Linda:
"Once again, we are holding our Annual Lung Transplant Christmas Party for pre and post lung transplant patients, their supports, doctors, nurses, and all other medical staff. As usual, this is a potluck affair, and we would appreciate any type of finger food. You can bring sandwiches, cheese plates, veggie plates, deserts of any type, etc. I will have the hospital cater the coffee and tea. We always have a wonderful array of food as anyone who has gone before can attest to. We are holding it in the regular meeting room on the 11th floor of the McEwen Wing, on Wednesday, December 7th, 2005. The time will be from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. We have to leave by 2:00 because the room is booked for that time so please come early and enjoy meeting with old friends, and hospital staff. It is a great time to connect with post transplant patients, and get to know those pre-transplants on the list at the moment. Cepacia negative patients are invited between 10:00 am and noon, and Cepacia positive patients from noon to 2:00 pm. I look forward to seeing you all there. Linda"

For more information e-mail: Linda Lycett or Maureen O'dell