Health professionals at the Cowichan District Hospital received a gift of popcorn on Dec. 7 from three people involved with organ transplants as part of the annual Operation Popcorn initiative by the BC Transplant organization. Pictured in front of a group of health workers from various departments are liver recipient Natalie Williams (left) holding a box of popcorn and Olivia Hayne, whose brother Alistair donated organs after his accidental death. Directly behind them is Emma Hayne, Alistair’s mother, who holds a picture of him. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Health professionals at the Cowichan District Hospital received a gift of popcorn on Dec. 7 from three people involved with organ transplants as part of the annual Operation Popcorn initiative by the BC Transplant organization. Pictured in front of a group of health workers from various departments are liver recipient Natalie Williams (left) holding a box of popcorn and Olivia Hayne, whose brother Alistair donated organs after his accidental death. Directly behind them is Emma Hayne, Alistair’s mother, who holds a picture of him. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Operation Popcorn visits Cowichan District Hospital

Annual initiative thanks health-care professionals for organ transplants

Emma Hayne and her daughter Olivia were devastated when their son/brother Alistair died in an accidental shooting incident five years ago.

But Olivia said the family decided to make the best of a sad situation and give life to other people by having Alistair’s organs donated to hospital patients who needed them.

She said Alistair’s heart, kidneys, liver and lungs were harvested for people who desperately required organ transplants.

“We felt it was the best way to honour Alistair,” Olivia said.

Emma encouraged others to consider being organ donors.

“It was a silver lining for us during a very tragic time,” she said.

RELATED STORY: FAMILY OF TRANSPLANT DONOR GIVES GIFT OF POPCORN AT COWICHAN HOSPITAL

Emma and Olivia were joined by liver recipient Natalie Williams at Cowichan District Hospital on Dec. 7 as part of the annual Operation Popcorn initiative that takes place in numerous hospitals across B.C. at Christmas time.

Operation Popcorn is a project begun by the BC Transplant organization in which transplant recipients, living donors and donor family members thank hundreds of health professionals across B.C. for the gift of life with gifts of popcorn.

Operation Popcorn was in hiatus over the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Williams said she was born with biliary atresia and required a liver transplant.

She said she received one in 2017, at the age of 19, and has been healthy ever since.

RELATED STORY: PATIENT POPS IN TO COWICHAN HOSPITAL TO GIVE GIFT FROM THE HEART

“Organ transplants give people like me a second chance, and I’m forever grateful for that,” Williams said.

“It really means a lot to me and others who have received organ transplants, and I’m here to thank everyone at the CDH, and other hospitals, for working so hard for us.”

David Huntley, the CDH’s site director, and representatives from the hospital’s many departments were on hand to receive the popcorn from the trio, who are all members of the BC Transplant organization.

Huntley said health professionals rarely have the opportunity to see the happier side of their work when it comes to organ transplants, and the stories that result.

“Having you guys visit and give us this popcorn is very uplifting,” he said.

“It’s nice things like this that keep us going.”

Olivia said she, her mother and Williams told the health professionals that they were grateful for all they do.

“What you do is incredible, and there no way we can thank you enough,” she said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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