Signing an organ donor card is a must for everyone, regardless of age.
That's the message the Kinsmen Club of North Bay wants everyone to hear and act on. Kinsmen Clubs of Canada run a national program that encourages everyone to sign on for organ donation and then to educate their families of the choices made and to abide by their wishes.
The proof is in the pudding as they say, and, for the members of the Kinsman Club of North Bay, this week was a sure sign of their efforts paying off. Not only did someone make the difficult decision and donate a loved one’s organs for harvesting, but the other national cause the club has been supporting was the recipient of that donation. This past week Emily Gough, who suffers with Cystic Fibrosis, underwent a successful double lung transplant following a long two-year wait.
“First of all Cystic Fibrosis is our national charity and second of all we have another national campaign called the Kin Organ Donor Awareness Program, so both of those fit right in to this. I mean it’s a young girl in our backyard how can we not help,” club president Marc Picard said.
This was the update members of the club had been desperate to hear for the past two years.
And on Friday Nov. 5, Kathy Gough delivered the incredible news.
But Picard was quick to point out that he and other Kinsmen members have been cautious in their celebrations as organ rejection is always a real threat.
“Its great news, its fantastic news, but it’s not the end of the road for her either, I mean she has a long road of recovery ahead of her. And we’re not going to stop here we’re going to support her right to the end.”
The Kinsmens' efforts have helped Emily and her family with the relocation to Toronto to await the transplant at The Hospital for Sick Children.
While the club has been eager to support the family at every turn financially and morally over these past two years they have also been aware of Emily’s needs.
“We’ve always told Kathy anything that she needs we’ll do our utmost to get it. But recently the only thing she kept asking for was a pair of lungs, and finally she’s got those,” said Picard.
“We tried not to infringe on their privacy, I mean she’s in the spotlight all the time. I don’t think that is where a 12-year-old wants to be so we gave them their space. She knew how to get a hold of us and whenever she needed to she could. We tried to offer before she asked, because we didn’t want to be in the position where she had to ask for stuff.”
For the Kinsmen Club witnessing Emily’s success story fuels the fire and the determination to stay in the public eye and advocate on behalf of both efforts.
“When you think she’s been on the waiting list for two years and she’s not the only one on that list. So certainly it gives us the resolve to keep going and keep promoting our organ donor awareness program and keep promoting Cystic Fibrosis,” Picard said.
Picard is also quick to point out that although it is a success story for the Kinsman Club there is a debt of gratitude owed.
“Without the fabulous community support we get here in North Bay we wouldn’t have been successful in this.”
The hours of dedication and commitment by club members to Emily’s case are countless and they continue to grow. While the news of the transplant has barely sunken in the members are fast at work securing another event to help the Gough family.
The event will be held in conjunction with Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre titled ‘Emily Gough Night.'
The fundraiser is dinner and a musical, and the $70 package consists of four general admission tickets to the opening night of The Pirate and the Phoenix at the Capitol Centre Dec. 1 performance and dinner at Gino’s Pizza.