KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops man suffering from a chronic illness now has a new lease on life.
After years on the waiting list, this past spring Tony Maidment underwent a liver transplant in Vancouver.
While his road to recovery hasn't been without its challenges, the Kamloops man says being able to return to everyday routines is a gift he'll never be able to pay back.
Taking dozens of pills each day has become Tony Maidment's new normal.
While it may be a dire thought for some, for Maidment it's a small sacrifice.
"I have tons of energy," said Maidment. "You just get up and go."
The marathon runner has suffered from a rare form of liver disease for close to half his life.
Bending down to tie his shoes eventually became too painful.
"My quality of life just went right out the door, no running, no cycling."
The Kamloops mechanic was on the B.C. transplant list to receive a new liver for years.
After transplant surgery was postponed last year, this spring the 49-year-old received a call that they'd found the perfect match.
"When she said that, it was different from the first time," said Maidment. "I held it together. I didn't lose it on the phone, but when I phoned my wife and she came home, she lost it."
Within two days, the father of two underwent transplant surgery at Vancouver General Hospital.
In no time his strength began to return.
"Two days out from being released from the hospital we were at Stanley Park walking around. I didn't think I'd be able to do it, and I did it."
Maidment has to take anti-rejection and other medications, as well undergo regular blood tests for the rest of his life in order to maintain his strength.
Still, it's a far cry from the medical stresses he used to ensure.
"Where I was to where I am now, it's like night and day. It's like having a blanket over you, trying to live life and now the blanket's gone and it's a brand new fresh day."
With only 20 per cent of British Columbians organ donors, the Kamloops resident has become a B.C. transplant volunteer in an effort to try and increase that number.
"If we were to get 50 per cent people to sign up, I wouldn't have been on the list half the time. We need more donors."
The proud recipient is now in the process of writing the hardest letter of his life to his donors family.
"How do you say thank you? How do you say thank you to someone who has given you your life back, has let you move forward with your life? From a position where most of us are in chronic illlness to now, there just aren't any words."
To sign up to become an organ donor, click here.
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