South Nelson Elementary School staff were congregated in front of city hall on Tuesday afternoon

South Nelson teachers raise organ donation awareness

Teacher Gloria Beecham's daughter Glenda was saved by a liver transplant, initiative aimed to sign up new donors.

South Nelson teacher Gloria Beecham’s daughter Glenda was partway through post-secondary education at UVic when her liver, which had been giving her problems since she was 4-years-old, made it impossible to continue with her studies.

She found she couldn’t even bus to school, and her disease was crippling her life. As it became more apparent that she would need a transplant, the family worried about the future.

“It was very frightening. We were in denial for a long time, but then we met a dear friend who had a transplant and she worked us through the process. She’s now at 12 years with her liver, and her example gave us hope,” said Beecham.

During the summer of 2012 Glenda went in for a liver transplant, and by January of 2013 she was back in class.

She has now completed a BA in anthropology and philosophy.

It’s this story that Beecham wants to share with the community, in hopes that it will encourage people to take a moment to sign up. Along with her fellow teachers from South Nelson, she was standing at a booth outside city hall on Tuesday sharing it with anyone who would listen.

Her daughter’s face smiled out from one of the promotional posters to remind people what’s at stake.

“This organ transplant has changed her life completely. She even looks different,” said Beecham, noting that Glenda was currently standing at a similar booth in Victoria.

“It’s had an impact on our whole family. My husband, me and my other daughter, our entire lives our different now. We owe so much to the donor and their family. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

Her sentiment was echoed by Daphne VanAlstine, who taught Glenda in Grade 2.

“You need to know that when you put your little thing on the back of your driver’s license or say you’re going to donate your organs, it’s a real life thing. It’s a person, with a name. Glenda is healthy now and she probably wouldn’t be here if she didn’t have this operation,” said VanAlstine.

The teachers of South Nelson all came out to support Beecham as part of the #48in48 campaign, a federal initiative started on April 20 to sign up 48,000 donors in 48 hours. They were keeping track of the tallying numbers while handing out literature to passersby and educating them about the new ways to sign up.

Recently Service BC and Transplant BC teamed up to make the registration process easier.

You can now register online at transplant.bc.ca.

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