Heart transplant recipient Mike Bro, left, hands over a tin of popcorn to Janeen Kidd, site director at Cowichan District Hospital, during Operation Popcorn on Dec. 4, while wife Jan (centre) and daughter Alecsa look on. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Patient pops in to Cowichan Hospital to give gift from the heart

Operation Popcorn delivering to 29 hospitals this year

Mike Bro figures the least he can do for the health workers at Cowichan District Hospital is to deliver them popcorn.

Bro, who lives in the Cowichan Valley, had a heart transplant in Vancouver in 2010 and has been delivering popcorn to emergency staff at CDH’s operating room, emergency room and intensive care unit as part of BC Transplant’s Operation Popcorn for the past five years in thanks and appreciation for the work they do.

Although his transplant surgery didn’t occur at CDH, Bro has relied on the CDH for much of his hospital care.

Operation Popcorn is an annual tradition where transplant recipients, living donors and donor family members thank hundreds of health professionals across B.C. for the gift of life.

This year, almost 100 volunteers like Bro are delivering more than 100 tins of popcorn to 28 hospitals in B.C., and one in the Yukon.

Bro, who was surrounded by his family at Monday’s presentation at the hospital, said he was born with a congenital heart defect and had two reconstructive surgeries when he was younger to try and deal with the problem.

He said that when he was 37, he was in his third reconstructive surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver when “things went awry.”

“I was in a coma for a month and then I had to learn to walk and talk all over again,” Bro said.

“I was put on a transplant list on Oct. 12, 2010, and I got a call that a heart was available during the first week of November. I’ve been doing really well since then. I am working full time and I love my job, my wife and my family. I do this every year to thank this hospital’s front-line workers and to wish them a Merry Christmas.”

Bro’s wife Jan added that the front-line hospital workers at CDH spend most of their time dealing with emergencies and traumas and rarely see how much of a positive impact they have on families like hers.

“We always bring our children [Alecsa, Jordyn, and Isaiah] to the CDH during the annual Operation Popcorn to thank the staff as well,” she said.

“They would not have a father without the transplant, and it’s nice to see our hospital so committed to helping those in need of transplants.”

Janeen Kidd, CDH’s site director, also said that the hospital’s emergency staff works hard to save lives under pressure, and don’t always get the thanks they deserve.

“Things like Operation Popcorn mean a lot to our staff,” she said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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