The challenges presented by 2020 are legion. In the midst of it all, some bright spots shone extra brilliantly too: babies born, new careers, graduations and milestones achieved. One of those milestones was the 5th anniversary of Jim’s gift of life – a successful heart transplant. But 2020, true to form, was not done with Jim.
Recently, Jim, under the excellent care of the Ottawa Heart Institute, was diagnosed with cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV). CAV is essentially an accelerated type of coronary artery disease in people who have had a heart transplant. It messes with blood flow to the heart and with the heart muscle itself leading to the need for a repeat heart transplant. Jim’s medical team, seeing him on a weekly basis, hasn’t put him back on the transplant list just yet but doctors have told him that the treatment for CAV is transplant so it will come. Marah and Jim have faced this wait before of course and they know what they are in for. Just being back in the transplant environment is painful for them, seeing so many others waiting and hoping for the miracle. They look ahead with hope that the future is bright.
We as their community of friends, family and caring advocates share this hope and puzzle at the world in 2020. A friend of ours wrote a compelling piece about how he always used to think that when faced by a shared threat (i.e. COVID19) we’d come together to defeat it as one. That our survival instincts would be the thread that stitches us together and overcome the more tribal and individual approach that isolates and defeats us. Of course, he was disappointed. We all are. Perhaps a global pandemic is just too big to consider? Too many faces, too many fears, too many unknowns?
The conundrum is that the story of Jim’s Heart doesn’t reflect this new reality at all. It is about true community, love and hope. It’s about coming together to think about Jim and every person on a waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant and doing what we can to raise awareness, signing up to be a donor and educating ourselves on what it all means for Jim and for Canadians. We are in it together and we’ll continue on this path with Jim and Marah, bid adieu to 2020 and leave it and its false message to humanity behind.