BC resident Miranda Frigon has an appreciation for life’s milestones that few could match.
The 32-year-old mom was born with cystic fibrosis and spent the majority of her childhood and early adulthood in and out of the hospital with frequent lung infections.
“Over time, my body started to become resistant to antibiotics, and that is when I was listed for a double lung transplant. I was 23,” she tells Daily Hive. After waiting for two and a half years, her health slowly continued to decline.
Then, in the summer of 2015, she received the life-changing gift of a double lung transplant. “I recovered quite quickly and was back to doing what I loved, hiking, snowboarding, enjoying being a mom within only a few months.”
For almost five years post-transplant, she was able to breathe easily and enjoy life once again.
Tragically, in the summer of 2019, Frigon was diagnosed with chronic lung rejection, and her health declined quickly. “I came very close to dying and even had to be put into a coma and put on a ventilator while they searched for a match for another pair of lungs for me,” she explains.
When a match was found, she received a second double lung transplant. The recovery from this intensive surgery didn’t go as smoothly as the first, resulting in Frigon spending 96 days in the hospital. But she stayed strong and recovered, returning home to her son.
“Since my transplant, I have had the ability to finally be able to do all the things I’ve been wanting to do with my son,” she tells us. “I took him to Disneyland to celebrate his 10th birthday (something that would have been very difficult to do before because all the walking would leave me very tired and out of breath).”
Frigon’s son is now 12 years old, and the pair are able to go on bike rides together with the arrival of spring weather in BC. “We get to live a (mostly) normal life, very minimal hospital visits.” For years, she had to spend three weeks in the hospital at a time and one month at home, which she says was very difficult for her son.
In recent years, Frigon has been enjoying the ability to play baseball again, something that brings back fond memories. “I’ve always loved playing baseball,” she says. “My whole family was into it growing up. I played a lot when I was younger but as my condition progressed, it made it too difficult to play.”
The important milestones she recounts to us include getting to see her son grow up and graduate into middle school, becoming an aunt for the first time to her two beautiful nieces, hiking the Grouse Grind, and travelling to Hawaii, Cuba, Mexico, and LA. She also checked an item off her bucket list by attending the Indy 500 auto race in Indianapolis.
Frigon admits that “transplant life” doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. “Due to complications from my last transplant, my kidneys shut down,” she tells us. “I am now on dialysis four times a week and waiting for a kidney transplant as well as a possible liver transplant.”
Despite the difficult challenges she has faced, Frigon says she owes everything to her donors. “Without them, I would not be here. My donors have enabled me to continue writing my story, to breathe effortlessly, and most importantly, to continue making memories with my son.”
Currently, almost 700 people are waiting for an organ transplant here in BC. And while 90% of people across the province agree with organ donation, only 28% have registered their decision, according to BC Transplant.
April is Organ Donation Awareness Month across Canada and Green Shirt Day falls during the first week. “On April 7, the anniversary of the day Logan Boulet became an organ donor, Canadians recognize Green Shirt Day by wearing green and talking about the powerful impact of organ donation,” says Tina Robinson, Manager, Communications and Community Relations at BC Transplant.
“The purpose of Green Shirt Day is to honour and remember all the victims and families involved in the Humboldt tragedy and continue Logan’s legacy of inspiring Canadians to register as organ donors.”
Having an illness or medical condition, or even being a certain age, doesn’t necessarily prevent you from being an organ donor. Just one organ donor has the potential to save eight people’s lives, and registering to become a donor online takes literally two minutes.
“As I look to the future, I know I will once again be counting on the generous act of organ donation to save my life,” Frigon tells us. “I think of all the things, little and big, that have been made possible because of my donors, and I will be forever grateful. Organ donation has given me my life back.”
Anyone can become an organ donor. All you need to register online is your Personal Health Number — and you only have to fill out a form once.
For more information and to register, visit transplant.bc.ca.