Emma Hayne and her daughter Olivia were devastated when their son/brother Alistair died in an accidental shooting incident five years ago.
But Olivia said the family decided to make the best of a sad situation and give life to other people by having Alistair’s organs donated to hospital patients who needed them.
She said Alistair’s heart, kidneys, liver and lungs were harvested for people who desperately required organ transplants.
“We felt it was the best way to honour Alistair,” Olivia said.
Emma encouraged others to consider being organ donors.
“It was a silver lining for us during a very tragic time,” she said.
Emma and Olivia were joined by liver recipient Natalie Williams at Cowichan District Hospital on Dec. 7 as part of the annual Operation Popcorn initiative that takes place in numerous hospitals across B.C. at Christmas time.
Operation Popcorn is a project begun by the BC Transplant organization in which transplant recipients, living donors and donor family members thank hundreds of health professionals across B.C. for the gift of life with gifts of popcorn.
Operation Popcorn was in hiatus over the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Williams said she was born with biliary atresia and required a liver transplant.
She said she received one in 2017, at the age of 19, and has been healthy ever since.
“Organ transplants give people like me a second chance, and I’m forever grateful for that,” Williams said.
“It really means a lot to me and others who have received organ transplants, and I’m here to thank everyone at the CDH, and other hospitals, for working so hard for us.”
David Huntley, the CDH’s site director, and representatives from the hospital’s many departments were on hand to receive the popcorn from the trio, who are all members of the BC Transplant organization.
Huntley said health professionals rarely have the opportunity to see the happier side of their work when it comes to organ transplants, and the stories that result.
“Having you guys visit and give us this popcorn is very uplifting,” he said.
“It’s nice things like this that keep us going.”
Olivia said she, her mother and Williams told the health professionals that they were grateful for all they do.
“What you do is incredible, and there no way we can thank you enough,” she said.