Transplant recipients and members of donor families hand out snacks to ER staff at the Cowichan District Hospital as part of Operation Popcorn on Monday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Family of transplant donor gives gift of popcorn at Cowichan hospital

“a really powerful part of our healing process.”

The Hayne family offered a unique perspective among the group that visited the Cowichan District Hospital on Monday for the BC Transplant Society’s Operation Popcorn.

Most of the group that delivered popcorn to three departments — the operating room, emergency room and intensive care unit — at the hospital were transplant recipients or members of their families. The Haynes, however, were members of a donor family.

Alistair Hayne was just 16 when he died from an accidental shooting on Saltspring Island in September 2017. His organs were donated for transplants, and saved the lives of five individuals. His parents, Barry and Emma, and sister Olivia, felt it was vital to take part in Operation Popcorn, and carried a photo of Alistair with them at the hospital.

“It’s important for people to be able to see both sides,” Olivia said, adding that the family’s involvement with BC Transplant has been “a really powerful part of our healing process.”

For 28 years, Operation Popcorn has provided an opportunity for those whose lives have been saved by organ donation to deliver festive packages of popcorn to staff at hospitals across B.C. This year, more than 100 volunteers — recipients, living donors and donor families — delivered more than 100 packages at 26 hospitals.

Lynn Lindeman served as team captain for the group that toured the Cowichan District Hospital. This was the second time Lindeman has participated in Operation Popcorn since he received a liver transplant on Nov. 19, 2012. A resident of the Cowichan Valley, Lindeman went through the hospital as part of the transplant process.

“To give back to people that kept me alive is amazing,” he said.

The Hayne family encourages everyone not only to get on BC Transplant’s Organ Donor Registry, but also to have a discussion with their family members about their wishes.

“Nobody ever wants to be part of that conversation,” Olivia said. “But it’s best to have the decision to donate already known.”

Registering online at transplant.bc.ca “takes two minutes,” the Haynes emphasized.

As for the popcorn, there’s no question it was appreciated by the hospital staff.

“Snacks are the way to the ER’s heart,” one nurse was overheard saying.

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