‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart’: Comox organ recipient gets second chance at life

WatchA 19-year-old Comox man is urging people to consider becoming organ donors after his life was changed forever by one. April is organ donation awareness month and his family wants people to know the impact a donation can have.

Jeremy Hovington kicks the ball around with his little brother Rowan

It’s a moment the 19-year-old not only enjoys but says he wouldn’t miss since receiving a life-changing kidney donation of a kidney — unleashing him from chronic pain and dialysis.

“It’s relieving knowing that there are actually people out there who will donate their kidneys,” said Jeremy Hovington, a Comox resident.

“We’re just incredibly grateful to whoever made that gift to us,” said Jeremy’s stepmother Kelly McQuillan.

April is organ donation awareness month and Jeremy’s family wants people to know the impact a donation can have, which they say changed all of their lives, including his five-year-old brother Rowan’s.

“That was pretty good, someone gave him a kidney,” said Rowan.

“Rowan idolizes his big brother,” said McQuillan.

The Comox teen’s need for a transplant became critical when he fell seriously ill in 2018 and was eventually diagnosed with Vasculitis GPA — a syndrome where a person’s immune system attacks their circulatory system — which had badly damaged his kidneys.

“That was scary I was definitely wondering what was happening for sure,” said Jeremy.

“It was incredibly scary,” adds his stepmother.

After a year of wondering what kind of future he might have, Jeremy got his life back on July 23, 2018 when he received a donated kidney.

All that Jeremy’s family knows is that someone died, donated their organs and that he was one of the lucky people who received them, which ultimately saved his life.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Jeremy.

Victoria’s David Foster, and the foundation bearing his name, are encouraging everyone to consider signing up for organ donation.

“I think only 14 per cent of Canadians are organ donors so that’s a lot of people 86 per cent that are not donating their organs,” David Foster told CHEK News.

The B.C. Transplant website makes it simple to register, and the Hovington family hopes someone reading this will, and one day just might save a life like Jeremy’s.

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Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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