Leslie Tinney is looking forward to another sunny day spreading awareness about organ donation.
Aug. 18 is the Organ Donation Awareness Walk in Timmins. The free event runs from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Gillies Lake, with the starting point in the Mattagami Region Conservation Authority parking lot.
“We have pins, we have stickers, we’ll have bottled water. Just come, walk a lap, see if you’re registered or register (to be an organ donor) and that’s all we want. We’re not taking a lot of anybody’s time,” said Tinney.
She’d like to see the whole city stop by.
“We have a pretty high rate of donors in Timmins, we have 51 per cent…and that’s high in our province,” she said. “I would like to see it hit 100 per cent, but I would love to see it hit 55 or 60 per cent because before my son died nobody had talked to me about this. I would not talk about death, I would not talk about dying, I would not talk about organ donation.”
In 2016, Tinney’s 23-year-old son Aaron was put on life support after an asthma attack.
At first, she didn’t want to talk about organ donation. Because Aaron had signed the card on his driver’s license, they decided to honour his wishes and his heart, kidney, liver and pancreas were donated.
“And now having met the man that has his heart, I am completely for it because I see what it gave to Jerry. He got three grandchildren that year, and he’s 60 now and he’s had two years more of his life given to him because my son died,” she said.
This is the second year for the walk in Timmins.
After her son died, she said she took a year for mourning. In 2017, she got her feet wet in holding the awareness walk.
This year, she said “watch out cause we’re going to get myself and everyone else involved in the community.”
Jerry is also planning to make the trip from southern Ontario to walk with them.
“We met him last summer, he came up in July with his wife and the minute I saw him I started crying, and they spent a couple days with us. It’s just a different experience. It’s like my son was there, but not there. And every time Jerry has procedures or anything because of the heart we all worry about it like it was our son, because it’s still his heart. It’s kind of linked us to him forever. We got another family,” she said.