Lung recipient rallies friends to ride for transplant cause
|Lung recipients Dianne and Morris|
Morris Irvine was on oxygen for three years.
Yet when doctors suggested he consider a lung transplant, the Lindbergh resident was not convinced he wanted to undergo the surgery.
“Only after I met and spoke to some lung recipients did I decide to go for it,” said the 65-year-old father of six, grandfather of 23 and great-grandfather of three.
The recipients’ positive attitude to getting a second chance to live impressed him, as did their healthy appearance so he opted to be listed for a transplant at the University of Alberta Hospital, Canada’s biggest and busiest transplant centre.
Moe had a double-lung transplant in March 2011 — nine months after he was listed.
“There were five of us who were transplanted about the same time, and we have stayed in touch,” he recalled recently.
Grateful about the outcome, Moe, his family and the handful of lung recipients, including Tom Matthews, Diane Brown, Harvey Nelson and Judy Laws, soon started looking for ways to say “thank you” to the donor families and the transplant staff.
“Most of us live in the country and have horses, so organizing a trail ride made sense,” said Moe.
They formed the 2nd Chance Trail Ride and in May 2012 put on their first fund-raising event.
“The response from friends and other recipients was amazing,” said Arla Pirtle, one of the ride’s organizers and Moe’s daughter. “We raised about $25,000 for the Canadian Transplant Games, as well as raising organ and tissue donor awareness,” said Arla.
The latter is especially important because the organ and tissue donor rate in Alberta has fallen so dramatically that is the lowest in Canada.
|Morris out riding pre-lung transplant|
This year, the 2nd Chance Trail Ride is raising funds for the GoodHearts Foundation, she said.
“My parents and the committee responsible for the 2nd Chance Trail Ride appreciate the financial help GoodHearts gives transplant patients, especially in providing furnished apartments so close to the hospital.”
“My dad and mom hope we can raise enough money to open another apartment,” she said.
About 100 riders are expected to participate in the May 11 event. Riders provide their own horses, but people also can ride in horse-drawn wagons. The wagons carry up to 14 people. Last year seven wagons took part in the ride. The ride from Lindbergh to Heinsburg along the Iron Horse Trail takes about 5 hours.
Riders can register either on the morning of May 11 from 8:30 to 10, or the night before from 6 to 9. Overnight camping is available in Heinsburg.
The riders will set off at 11 a.m. on May 11, and will stop along the way for lunch. Participants have to bring their own lunch.
For the full schedule and pledge forms, please see our 2nd Chance Trail Ride - Info & Forms post or the 2nd Chance Trail Ride Facebook page.