Director of Health Services & Clinical Research and Knowledge Translation, Aggie Black is no stranger to the world of research.
A second chance at life through organ transplantation is an incredible gift – one that has become an effective treatment for end-stage organ failure. This has all been made possible with the intense dedication and hard work of scientists and clinicians over the past few decades. But transplant is not a cure. At least not yet. With your help, that’s where the Transplant Research Foundation of BC (TRF) is making a difference.
The TRF is dedicated to supporting innovative transplantation research to benefit the lives of organ recipients in British Columbia. Through our Venture Grant program, we provide funding each year to BC based scientists conducting transplant research in new areas of exploration that will lead to better quality of life and improved outcomes for transplant patients.
Brynn McKenna’s dramatic entrance into this world in an unplanned home birth was just the start of an intense first year of life for the Ladner girl. Her parents, Carmen and Mike, knew their daughter had a congenital heart defect at 34 weeks, but doctors couldn’t be sure how serious it was until she was born. Brynn was immediately rushed to BC Women’s Hospital. Within a few hours, her condition deteriorated and the newborn had her first open heart surgery to install a pacemaker.
Margaret Benson wasn’t sure she’d make it to her 41st birthday. But according to the doctors who diagnosed her with cystic fibrosis at the age of 14, she wasn’t supposed to survive past 15. Instead, she defied the odds, not just surviving but thriving. Margaret went on to graduate high school, attended Simon Fraser University, got her teacher’s certificate, found her dream job as a teacher, and got married. Life was great, until her health started declining.
For Tom Bradley, 2007 was supposed to be an exciting new year. After 24 years in the investment industry, he was just weeks away from realizing his dream – launching a new investment firm. But the liver disease he had lived with since his diagnosis in his mid-20s was about to take a drastic turn for the worse. After getting rushed to the hospital, his wife Lori Lothian recalls, “He got very sick, ruptured esophageal varices and complications.
In March 2006, Amanda Poch was rushed to hospital extremely ill. Her liver had almost failed completely with just 5% function. The Port Moody woman was only 26 years old but had been battling an autoimmune condition that was slowly destroying her liver. She was not yet on the transplant list but as she fought for her life, her medical team rushed to get her listed.
“Her only hope for survival is a heart transplant.” Addison McArthur’s parents will never forget the moment they learned their newborn was in a desperate fight for her life. She was just three weeks old. As a heart-lung machine kept her alive, doctors at BC Children’s Hospital scrambled to figure out why her heart was in failure.
By the time Grace TeBoekhorst received the ultimate gift of a new kidney from her father in August 2010, the little girl had already defied the odds. She had faced a rare diagnosis of FSGS, three weeks on life support, complete kidney failure and nine months on dialysis. All before the age of five.