Darlene Karnupis continues to live the reality of blood, organ and tissue donation.
As a liver transplant recipient, Darlene knows what it’s like to receive the call and operation that helped her become well again.
And as a long-time registered nurse formerly at Grand River Hospital and most recently with Canadian Blood Services, she’s has seen patients both giving and receiving life-saving donations.
Darlene had a young family and active career but started to feel unwell in the early 2000s. In mid 2002 after an un-related injury, doctors discovered her liver had swelled from a normal mass of about half a kilogram to more than seven-and-a-half kilos.
“When I met with my doctors, we spoke for an hour-and-a-half,” she recalls. “I heard nothing after the word ‘transplant’.”
That fall, Darlene was on the transplant list. Life and even basic activities such as making a meal were a struggle. Her health declined to such a degree that she was hospitalized and she almost didn’t make it.
“Then a donor liver was found, and my transplant happened on January 31st 2003. I was able to go home just a week later, on February 6th,” she explains.
Darlene has recovered well and continues to be monitored. That personal experience and her work as a nurse have helped her advocate for people to become blood, organ and tissue donors.
“For blood donation, we say it’s in you to give. And a healthy person can donate blood every eight weeks,” Darlene explains. “For organ and tissue donation, it’s a special gift to help someone live on when another person’s life is at an end.”
To find out more about blood donation, visit Canadian Blood Services at blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE to book an appointment. For more about organ donation, please visit the Trillium Gift of Life Network at beadonor.ca.