Thirty years ago, Diana Van Vliet underwent heart transplant surgery at the young age of 24.
Today, she is celebrating the milestone that makes her the longest living heart transplant recipient in B.C..
And she couldn’t be more grateful.
“I got a second chance to see my kids grow up, and have grand-kids, and visits with people that I know, and friends”
“A wonderful milestone”
While at St. Paul’s Hospital today for a routine checkup, family members surprised her when they showed up with balloons and congratulations.
Smiles were everywhere as they celebrated one more year of health. Her husband is especially grateful.
“She was able to watch her kids grow up, and now grandchildren grow up, and you really can’t ask for more than that”
Heart transplants not available in B.C. until 1988
Back in 1986, the Van Vliet family had to travel to Ontario for her surgery, as there were no heart transplants in Vancouver at the time.
“They took nine seats out, flew me down there. I waited two days and got my heart.”
Her husband say there was nothing they could do but hope for the best.
“She only had, you know probably three or four weeks to live without having a heart transplant”
Thirty years of memories
BC organ transplants the numbers (BC Transplant)
- 508 people are waiting for an organ transplant in B.C.
- There are currenlty 954,288 registered as organ donors in B.C.
- In 2015, 17 people received a heart transplant in B.C., and 13 were still waiting for one by year’s end
- A total of 263 organ transplants were performed in B.C. in 2015
- Anyone with a BC Care Card and 19 years or older can register to be an organ donor in BC.
With files from Estefania Duran
(Correction: Previously we reported that the first heart transplant in BC was performed in 1996. In fact, the first two heart transplant in BC were performed in 1988.)