Luc Lessard will never forget the phone call that changed his life.
It was Sept. 12, 2019. On the other end of the line was a Transplant Co-ordinator from Trillium Gift of Life Network with news Luc and his family had been hoping to hear for several years: He would be undergoing a kidney transplant operation.
The Niagara Falls resident, who suffered from kidney failure and was receiving care through Niagara Health’s Kidney Care Program, headed to Hamilton to prepare for the surgery.
“I was excited, relieved and nervous at the same time,” Luc recalls of the phone call. “I wondered if it would work.”
The surgery, which took place at the Charlton Campus of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, was a success and Luc has been doing well ever since.
Luc is sharing his story for Be A Donor Month and encouraging others to register as organ and tissue donors.
Luc was diagnosed with kidney failure 10 years ago and had been receiving dialysis at home for several years. He was on the transplant waiting list for about three years before receiving that phone call from Trillium Gift of Life Network, which plans, promotes, coordinates and supports organ and tissue donation and transplantation across Ontario.
The 54-year-old says he is extremely appreciative for the gift of life.
“I am so grateful to the person who donated and to their family. They gave me my life back.”
The transplant made him realize how sick he had been.
“Before, I was always tired and lethargic. I had no motivation and my appetite wasn’t good,” he says. “It took me a great deal of time to do something like mowing the lawn. I had to take breaks every 10 minutes. Now I have more energy and my brain is less foggy.”
Luc says he can now spend more time with his wife and their seven children.
“I was too tired to do a lot with my family. Now I have the chance to be more part of their lives.”
Nearly 1,600 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in Ontario and every three days someone will die because they did not get their transplant in time.
Luc hopes his story inspires others to register their consent for organ and tissue donation. “It takes so little time to register and the gift that you are giving is incredible,” he says.
Visit www.beadonor.ca to register or learn more.
Organ Donation Facts
- One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation.
- Another 75 lives can be enhanced through the gift of tissue: eyes can restore sight; skin can help burn patients; bones can be used for joint replacements; heart valves can help patients with congenital heart disease; and tendons and ligaments can help recipients walk and run.
- Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor, regardless of age or medical condition.
- More than 90 per cent of Ontarians are in favour of organ donation; however, only 35 per cent have registered their consent to donate.