Larry Worfolk is eager to talk about the lung transplant that saved his life, and about how easy it is for people to register as organ donors.
Born with cystic fibrosis (CF), the Surrey resident needed a double lung transplant more than a decade ago, at age 50, and he had to wait 22 months before a donor was found.
“In the last six months, it was pretty tough and things were going downhill pretty fast,” Worfolk recalled. “It was definitely a gift of life.”
For him, the life-saving surgery made for “a whole new world” that involved dragon boat racing, jogging, travel and enjoying time with Joshua, a grandson he never would have met.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that without the transplant,” he said. “I’m doing great.”
April is organ donation awareness month, and Wednesday, April 7 is Green Shirt Day, honoring the legacy of Logan Boulet, one of the young hockey players killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018. Logan was a registered donor and donated his organs so that six lives could live on. “His selfless act inspired tens of thousands of Canadians to register as organ donors in the days following his donation,” according to BC Transplant, which oversees all aspects of organ donation and transplantation in B.C.
Also organized is a “Take Two Minutes” campaign that encourages organ donation, on the website taketwominutes.ca.
“And it’s not an exaggeration either, because if you have your health card number with you, it’s less than two minutes to sign up,” Worfolk said. “It’s a pretty fast process, and what better legacy can you leave than to save someone’s life?”
Worfolk is registered as an organ donor.
“But there are limits to what they’d take,” he noted, “because of the immunosuppressant drugs that I’m on, to keep my body from rejecting the lungs. But yes, I am signed up as a donor.”
When doctors first discussed his lung transplant, concerns were raised about Worfolk’s age, and that he would be the oldest patient with CF to undergo a transplant in the province.
“With CF there can be a lot of complications with surgery, but everything turned out fine,” he noted.
Registering as an organ donor offers hope to the almost 700 people waiting for an organ transplant in British Columbia, according to BC Transplant.
More of Worfolk’s story is told on the Transplant Research Foundation of B.C.’s website, trfbc.org.