In the spring of 1995, Pam was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. After ten relatively stable years, Pam had five years of slow but steady decline. Her heart failure slowly progressed and her ability to do daily tasks decreased. Eventually, Pam lost the ability to walk even a single flight of stairs and one of the greatest losses for her was no longer being able to walk her two dogs.
In 2010 Pam’s heart failure became critical and it was determined that her only hope was a life-saving heart transplant. With no heart available and only hours left to live, Pam was fortunate to receive an implanted left ventricular assist device, sometimes called a mechanical heart. That device allowed Pam to survive long enough to receive a transplant.
Pam received the incredible gift of a new heart in October 2013. Though her recovery was lengthy, Pam is thoroughly enjoying her new healthy life. Most days, Pam walks 4k. She lifts moderate weights twice a week and during the nicer weather Pam and her husband ride a tandem bike for up to 20k. Last year, they enjoyed riding in the 40k Tour de Grand!
The number of events and experiences that Pam has been able to enjoy thanks to her donor are truly mind-boggling. First, Pam turned 50; amazing for someone who was diagnosed with heart failure at 29! Second, Pam and her husband celebrated 25 years of marriage (for 20 of those, Pam’s husband was her caregiver). Third, Pam’s daughter was married in November of 2015 and she views it as a true gift to have been there. The list goes on with her son’s marriage, being able to attend the 2016 Canadian Transplant Games and becoming a grandmother. Pam is excited to imagine what is yet to come.
Pam is truly grateful to her donor and their family for making the generous decision at what must have been an awful time. The value of their gift is immeasurable. Pam’s transplant has allowed her husband to still have a wife, her mother to still have a daughter, her brother to still have a sister, her children to still have their mother, and her beautiful granddaughter to have her grandmother.
Pam supports beadonor.ca and encourages everyone to have a discussion with their family and friends about becoming an organ donor. “Let them know how you feel, ask them how they feel,” says Pam. “Your family has the unenviable task of making that choice for you. Imagine how much more confident they would be in their answer if they clearly knew your wishes.”
Thank you to Pam for sharing her story. We honour her donor by sharing the story and by spreading the word about how one can become an organ donor. Visit www.beadonor.ca