Jordan D Marcia was on the wait-list for a heart transplant almost from the moment he was born. A rare, congenital heart condition was just one of the many serious health issues he faced. When he finally did get his transplant, at the tender age of four, it was his 13th surgery and it almost didn’t happen. Jordan was at Sick Kids, in Toronto, and gravely ill. His nurse learned there was a boy in the ER who had just died as a result of an accident. She went to see the boy’s mom to ask about organ donation, but the mom said no. The nurse then asked Jordan’s mom for a photo of her son and returned to show it to the grieving mother. She changed her mind and Jordan got the gift of a lifetime.
Jordan recalls, “As a kid, I heard that ten years was about the average survival rate for heart transplant recipients. So, I realized early on that life is really short. If you want to do something, you have to go out and do it.”
Jordan has had his “new” heart for 22 years and he credits much of his good health to the amazing care of Dr. Andy Ignaszewski and St. Paul’s post-transplant team that includes psychologists, exercise specialists, social workers, dietitians, and a spiritual health practitioner. It’s a recipe for success: this past August, transplant recipients, organ donors, and healthcare workers gathered at St. Paul’s to celebrate B.C.’s 500th heart transplant.
Jordan wasn’t able to attend because he was he was in Croatia, country #14 of the 180-or-so on his bucket list. You see, for the last two years, Jordan has been on a quest to become the first heart transplant recipient to travel to every country in the world. “St. Paul’s has been so supportive of my dream. When I told Dr. Andy my plan, he said ‘Go for it!’ So that’s what I’m doing.”
As part of his quest, Jordan hopes to raise awareness for organ donation and to find his own donor family. “I want them to know that I’m still here. I’m doing great. And I’m using their gift to make a difference.”
You can make a difference, too, by registering to become an organ donor. And by giving to the Greatest Needs Fund so transplant recipients like Jordan get the best possible care and live the best possible lives.
St. Paul’s Hospital is BC’s adult Heart Transplant Centre as well as one of two kidney transplant centres in the province. Transplant recipients have needs that extend well beyond their surgical care, including access to educational resources, rehabilitation services, and emotional support groups. When you donate to Light of Hope, you enable us to meet the complex, life-long needs of our transplant patients.