Organ recipients express gratitude at KGH through Operation Popcorn

Matt Scaife and Veronica Scarpino gave tins of popcorn to intensive care unit, emergency department and operating room staff at KGH Tuesday.

Organ transplant recipients Matt Scaife (left) and Veronica Scarpino (right) present operating room educator Marilyn Heichert (second from left) and operating room manager Nicky Deakin (second from right) with tins of popcorn as a thank-you to the operating room staff who make organ donations possible. Trish Bosch (middle)

Tins of popcorn were only part of the gift given to Kelowna General Hospital Staff from organ recipients Tuesday.

As Matt Scaife and Veronica Scarpino dropped off the holiday treats to those working in the intensive care unit, emergency department and operating rooms of KGH, they gave staff the chance to see a living example of what an organ donation can do.

“This group of staff are the ones who work hard to retrieve organs from the donors. That can be an emotional time and not always leave you with a really happy feeling until you get to see people who (have benefited) from transplants,” said Trish Bosch, in-hospital donation coordinator at KGH with BC Transplant.

Scaife received a liver in April 2000. Prior to getting the transplant, he said he was very sick and life was “very difficult.”

“To have been transplanted is life-changing,” said Scaife.

“This year I had the opportunity to walk my daughter down the aisle…that never would have happened had I not been transplanted.”

He said he has participated in BC Transplant’s Operation Popcorn for the last 10 years.

“For me, it’s an opportunity to say thank you. For them, it’s an opportunity to see someone who has gone through this ordeal and is still doing well.”

Saturday, Dec. 15 marked the fifth year anniversary since Scarpino received a new heart.

“I had a progressive disease over 15 years; the last couple years were quite bad for me,” said Scarpino.

“Saturday morning I woke up thinking: Oh my God, about this time five years ago, I got the phone call…saying: We’ve got a heart for you.

“Without what BC Transplant has done—and all the people, all the doctors, all the donors—there is no doubt that I would not be here.”

Along with Operation Popcorn, both Scarpino and Scaife still take part in BC Transplant events and other awareness campaigns to explain the importance of registering to become an organ donor.


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