BC Transplant liver recipient Paul Lee hands out popcorn during BC Transplant’s annual Operation Popcorn event at Surrey Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 4. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

BC Transplant recipients, family member of donor thank Surrey Memorial Hospital staff

Operation Popcorn takes place in 27 hospitals in B.C. in the first week of December

This week Earl Howell is celebrating a milestone.

Twenty-one years ago, Howell was the recipient of the liver transplant.

“I was in my early 30s. I got some crazy auto-immune disease… I made it until I was 50ish and had my transplant. Ever since everything has been golden,” Howell said.

Howell was one of three volunteers who stopped by Surrey Memorial Hospital to thank staff who make organ donations and transplantations possible. Howell was joined by Paul Lee, another liver transplant recipient, and Ethan Franklin, whose brother donated four organs.

The event, called Operation Popcorn, has been taking place through BC Transplant for 27 years. The event runs in 27 hospitals in B.C. and one in Yukon, according to BC Transplant. More than 90 volunteers, consisting of recipients, living donors and donor families, deliver more than 100 packages to three hospital units.

“We do that once a year to give thanks to all the folks in the various units in the hospitals who do all the good things for us in assisting with transplantation,” said Howell, who lives in White Rock. Howell said he has been involved with Operation Popcorn for several years.

RELATED: B.C. breaks record for number of transplant donations

Lee came to Surrey Memorial about seven years ago, but wasn’t aware he was sick.

“I thought I had a stomach ache. I thought it was indigestion,” he said. “So coming to the emergency, I found out later that my liver was failing.”

Lee, who lives in Surrey, said he stayed at Surrey Memorial for about a week before being transferred to Vancouver General Hospital.

Lee said he began volunteer work after his operation, and he said he’s been helping out with Operation Popcorn each year.

“I still become emotional after seven years,” Lee said.

While Howell has been volunteering for several years with Operation Popcorn, hesaid this is the first time he has been joined by a family member of an organ donor.

Ethan Franklin, whose brother donated four organs about six years ago, said he volunteered as a way to give back in honour of his brother.

“They (BC Transplant) said it was kind of rare,” Franklin said. “I guess they don’t get a lot of family members of donors. It’s usually either a recipient or a donor.”

Since it’s been nearly six years — and at the same hospital his brother was at — Franklin said coming and delivering the popcorn was “kind of therapeutic.”

Franklin added that it’s “cool” to see the recipients and that “the gift of life has been passed on and that they are doing so well.”

RELATED: Surrey RCMP voice pledges to help BC Transplant in memory of sister

Asked what else he could add about taking part in the event for the first time, Franklin said. He said people should think about becoming an organ donor and what it means to them, “especially if they can pass life on.”

“There’s a lot of people that do sign up to be organ donors, but they can only use so few of them because there are specific circumstances that they can harvest the organs,” Franklin said.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

BREAKING: Cloverdale McDonald’s employee tests positive for COVID-19

McDonald’s Canada immediately shut down the restaurant

Southridge students raise $5,600 for hospital meal program

GoFundMe campaign funds two months of meals at Peace Arch Hospital

Surrey kids get cooking during free SuperChefs camps pushed online by pandemic

‘Enthusiastic’ launch of program, which sees ingredient pickup at one local school

Court awards woman $143K for two Whalley rear-ender crashes, one by a bus

In both cases, Brigitte Bergeron’s vehicle was hit from behind while stopped at an intersection

Surrey RCMP searching for missing woman last seen in Crescent Beach

Milcah Kasomali-Chirumbwana last seen at 4:35 p.m. July 5 in the 12300-block of Beecher Street

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Most Read

l -->