Decision a life-saver

Vernon man home following double-lung transplant

It took John Doe less than a minute to fill out the simple form to become an organ donor.

But that simple decision was quite literally a breath of life for Vernon’s Lloyd Croaker.

The 58-year-old father of two girls, grandfather of five boys and loving spouse Sandi, got the news in January 2016 that he would need a double lung transplant to survive.

Struggling with COPD and work-related damage to his lungs, Lloyd had been on disability since 2006 when one of his lungs collapsed.

With bags packed, Sandi and Lloyd waited almost an entire year for the call.

“We waited a very long time for a transplant which we were blessed with on Nov. 5,” said Sandi. “We had a 45-minute window to get tot he airport in Kelowna. He drove himself.”

After living in Vancouver for three months, the couple returned to Vernon Feb. 11.

“We are home from this life-saving event he has gone through,” said Sandi, adding that it was a stressful time, but they pulled through thanks to the support of friends, family and co-workers who made it possible. “A miracle as a matter of fact.”

To celebrate the success, a welcome home party is taking place at The Green Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The Croakers will be using the event as an opportunity to sign people up as organ donors.

“He’ll be wearing his T-shirt,” said Sandi of the B.C. Transplant shirt showing a new set of lungs. “My grandchildren will be wearing them too.

“And we have a lot of information about organ donation and how to live life.”

The family is also pleased to see that ICBC has teamed up with B.C. Transplant so that everyone who visits a driver licensing location will be asked to register their decision about organ donation.

Fifty per cent of British Columbians believe they have registered a decision on organ donation but, in fact, only 21 per cent have.

“More than 600 people are desperately waiting for organ donation in B.C.,” said Greg Kyllo, Shuswap MLA on behalf of Terry Lake, health minister, and Todd Stone, transportation minister.

You only need to register once in a lifetime, but a decal on your driver’s licence is no longer enough to ensure you’re registered as an organ donor. Register your decision at register.transplant.bc.ca or call 1-800-663-6189.

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