Corinne Mielnichuk underwent liver surgery in February, and has just recently been given the go-ahead from her doctors to begin working again. (File Photo)

Organ donation ‘changed my life,’ says Sylvan Lake woman

After receiving a liver transplant, Corinne Mielnichuk has seen how organ donation can change lives

A Sylvan Lake woman who is recovering from a liver transplant is urging people to consider becoming an organ donor.

Corinne Mielnichuk says the list of those willing to be a live organ donor is surprisingly short, which makes wait times long and rough for those in need of life-saving procedures.

Most people wait for a transplant to become available from a deceased donor, which adds a new level of difficulty, according to Mielnichuk.

“You can’t go anywhere, you can’t work, you can’t even have people over, really, because when you get that call, you have to be at the hospital within two hours,” she said of being on the wait list for a deceased organ.

“If you don’t live within two hours of the hospital, then they will move on to the next person in line. Your life is basically on hold.”

She was on the wait list for approximately two years before a live organ donation became available.

In February, she underwent a successful surgery, and has just recently been given the go-ahead from her doctors to begin working again.

“It changed my life: that is what I want people to know. It changed my life and the life of my family,” said Mielnichuk.

She says waiting is also incredibly hard for family members, who watch their loved ones “dying every day.”

“My daughter was constantly worried for me, and my husband was always concerned I would get the call and no one would be around to help me get to the hospital, because he was at work.”

Live organ donations can mean the patient and their families can better plan their lives.

Normally, when a suitable live donor is found, a date is scheduled for the surgery. This means regular tasks and planning can be done in advance.

What is disappointing, Mielnichuk says, is that many people don’t understand how difficult it is to find a match for donation.

“Most people might say, ‘if my family member needs one, then I will donate.’ But, they don’t realize that there is a very good chance you won’t be a match for your family member,” she said.

“But if you aren’t a match, I hope you would consider still donating to someone else who you are a match with.”

She says those who are considering becoming a donor should think about the lives they could change, the ones that will be saved.

“I have a friend who was given six months to live if he doesn’t get a transplant. I can’t imagine being his family and watching him die as they wait,” said Mielnichuk.

More information about becoming an organ or tissue donor, or to register to become one, can be found at www.myhealth.alberta.ca

Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central zone down to 16 active COVID-19 cases

Alberta Health Services’ central zone is down to 16

Red Deer drum circle aims to ‘bring different cultures together’

Central Alberta Refugee Effort, Urban Aboriginal Voices Society hosted the event Friday

Students reassured pandemic’s academic impact will be taken into account

Some Grade 12 students concerned how pandemic will affect their post-secondary plans

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Toronto Wolfpack fate deferred for four weeks as Super League continues review

Toronto Wolfpack fate deferred for four weeks as Super League continues review

Newly installed in the top 10, Shapovalov leads Canadian hopes at French Open

Newly installed in the top 10, Shapovalov leads Canadian hopes at French Open

Montreal Impact eager to return to winning ways against N.Y. Red Bulls

Montreal Impact eager to return to winning ways against N.Y. Red Bulls

Hornet sting, birdies take Swafford to lead at Punta Cana

Hornet sting, birdies take Swafford to lead at Punta Cana

Champion Adesanya gets redemption chance vs Costa at UFC 253

Champion Adesanya gets redemption chance vs Costa at UFC 253

Canadiens sign defenceman Jeff Petry to four-year contract extension

Canadiens sign defenceman Jeff Petry to four-year contract extension

NHL ice-masters call bubbled NHL playoffs a success, memorable for 5OT game

NHL ice-masters call bubbled NHL playoffs a success, memorable for 5OT game

‘We’ve always bounced back’: Whitecaps seeking redemption in Portland

‘We’ve always bounced back’: Whitecaps seeking redemption in Portland

Most Read