Those who didn’t know Kevin Kienlein, or have the pleasure of meeting him, missed out on meeting a great musician, photographer, friend and a person with an ever-present smile.
And the smile was coming from a man forever positive when he could have turned that smile upside down.
Born with a congenital heart defect, Kienlein was not able to go to school with kids his age, but that didn’t stop him from becoming an accomplished member of the HAM radio operator’s community, a singer, songwriter, musician and a whiz behind a camera.
In December 2010, as was featured on the pages of The Morning Star, Kienlein became the recipient of a double lung and heart transplant, thanks to the generosity.
The day after the surgery, Kienlein looked better than before being admitted; for the first time in his life, his lips and skin were pink.
Kienlein competed in the Canada Transplant Games in lawn bowling. He also wanted to try riding a bike and kayaking, things he never could have done without the organ transplant.
At age 53, on Oct. 6, Kienlein died as a result from complications from a viral infection after transplant.
A memorial service is set for Friday, Oct. 18, 1 p.m. at the Peace Lutheran Church in Vernon.
Those attending are asked to wear green, the colour of organ donation. Kienlein’s transplant gave him another three years of life.
It would be a fitting tribute to Kienlein if we all fulfilled his request to fill out organ donor cards, which can be done at www.transplant.bc.ca/onlinereg/bcts.asp.