Many people think the difficult part of our journey is over now that Addison has had her life-saving heart transplant. However, transplant is not a cure. It comes with its own set of risks and complications, and frankly the long-term survival rates are not something we want to dwell on for too long. But this weekend, I was again reminded statistics don’t matter. Aaron kept saying that to me when we were in the ICU watching our baby girl fight for her life. There is only one number that counts and that is Addison’s.
Simon Keith said something very similar to me on Saturday when I had the privilege to meet him and interview him. (Click HERE for the story on Global BC.) Simon is one of the world’s longest living heart transplant recipients and the only one to go on and play professional sports after a transplant. He has had his transplanted heart for 26 years…and counting. For years, Simon didn’t want to talk about his transplant and many people in his life didn’t even know his medical history. Last year, after 25 years, he decided it was time to share his story and meet the family of his donor. He is originally from Victoria and this weekend he was in town as the keynote speaker for the Children’s Heart Network conference. It was so powerful to talk with someone who has been down the same road and is living such a healthy, meaningful and successful life. Sometimes it’s hard for us to even imagine that far into Addison’s future.
I won’t go into all the details about Simon’s story. If you want to learn more, he has launched a foundation and written a book, all part of his efforts to increase organ donation awareness.
Now Addison didn’t seem overly impressed with Simon’s story. She balked when he tried to hold her. She did seem to enjoy his speech, or maybe that was the container of Cheerios we used as a bribe. However, Aaron and I were both inspired with his message – the goal of heart transplantation is to return to the life you had before. Champions are not afraid to live. Just get on with it!
Elaine, Aaron and Addison