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Tom was born in Woodstock New Brunswick. After university he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1972, and following a rewarding career, Tom retired in 2007.
In 2005, Tom was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and was told that within five years he would need a double lung transplant. After the initial shock he decided to double down to survive this. He exercised to maintain his strength and followed his doctor’s advice to the letter. During the pre-transplant process, he participated in two drug studies for a cure.
Tom received the gift of life, a double-lung transplant on 11 July 2009. A second chance of life was given to him. He was very thankful and wanted to give back for what he had received. Working with family, friends and transplant recipients, the 2nd Chance Trail Ride was started to promote organ and tissue donation and help others through their transplant journey.
Tom says “the 11 years since the transplant seems to have gone very fast.” Tom continues to enjoy life, camping and fishing with family and friends. Tom and his wife enjoy wintering in Arizona, and he loves to watch his grandson progress in his hockey career and his grand daughter in her hockey and curling games. Tom is a mentor to transplant recipients and keeps in contact with pre and post transplant patients. “When spring arrives, I am ready to give my continues support and full effort to the 2nd Chance Trail Ride. Every day I give thanks to my donor and family for the gift of life. – Tom
Double lung transplant Recipient – March 13, 2011
Morris was diagnosed with COPD and was on oxygen for three years before deciding to accept an organ transplant. He was inspired to accept transplantation from other recipients that were in similar situations. Morris has a loving wife, six children (plus spouses), 23 grandchildren (plus spouses) and nine great grand children.
Morris received a double-lung transplant in March 2011 after only 11 months of being on the waiting list. Morris and his family are forever grateful to the donor that gave Morris a 2nd Chance at life. He went from not being able to walk across the house and planning his funeral, to fishing and driving his team of horses again. Because of this, Morris and his wife decided they needed to give back. They wanted the whole world to know that organ donation works. Morris, his family and a few other double lung transplant recipients were looking for ways to say thank you and bring awareness to the process.
These lung transplant recipients have one thing in common and it’s their rural roots. What better way to bring awareness then by hosting a trail ride? Doing the one thing that Morris loved and was incapable of doing when on oxygen but was “back in the saddle” after the transplant, he wanted to show the world. He wanted to show proof that organ and tissue donation works and that he thankful for donor families and the transplant staff at the University of Alberta Hospital.
In May 2012 they hosted their first trail ride and raised over $20,000. They donated (and participated) in the Canadian Transplant Games. An event that brings world wide attention to organ and tissue donation. Morris won first place in the 5km walk and couldn’t have been prouder of his accomplishment.
Over the years this event has grown to attendance of over 300 participants on the trail, over 500 people for supper, and has raised, on average, $70,000 annually.
The importance to bring awareness and assist other transplant recipients is of the utmost importance on Morris’s mind. He (along with his posse) have established a signage campaign, putting signs in local hockey rinks, curling rinks, rodeo arenas and local area highways. He’s participated in many parades throughout Alberta including the Ponoka Stampede, St. Albert Rainmaker, and Lloydminster, Bonnyville, and Elk Point Christmas parades. The latest being the Grey Cup parade in Edmonton.
Morris has spoken at his grandchildren’s elementary schools and presented at the Alberta Registries Conference in Edmonton in 2017. He has played an active role during National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (NOTDAW) through transplant trots and “coffee talk” at registry offices around Alberta. In the fall of 2017 he was introduced in the Alberta Legislature by the Honorable Sarah Hoffman; Deputy Premier and Minister of Health for his dedication and commitment to bringing awareness to organ and tissue donation.
The 2nd Chance Trail Ride Society annually supports GoodHearts in subsidizing and maintaining living accommodations while recipients are recovering. Financially, 2nd Chance Trail Ride assists recipients with food and gas cards. They work closely with the social workers involved in the transplant process. 2nd Chance Trail Ride also donated $10,000 to the University Hospital Foundation to purchase 2 new treadmills for the Rehabilitation department.
Morris’s attitude of gratitude continues to consume his 2nd Chance at life. He is especially grateful to the donor families and wants the message to be loud and clear that we should sign our intend and speak with our families about it……………………all this because he has the best wife in the world!!! (She’s the one that puts the pen to the paper and makes things happen 😊)