The ul­ti­mate gift

Spa­niard’s Bay cou­ple has good rea­son to pro­mote or­gan do­na­tion

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

A first-time vis­i­tor the the home of Robert and Ber­nice Lun­dri­gan of Spa­niard’s Bay are likely to be at­tracted to the boat in the back­yard, and even moreso to the unique name on the ves­sel — Sec­ond Chance.

The let­ter “C” in Chance is formed in the shape of a kid­ney, and there’s a green rib­bon to the side, with the slo­gan “Or­gan Do­na­tion Saves Lives.”

You’ll un­der­stand all this when you read their story.

But in a nut­shell, Ber­nice do­nated one of her kid­neys to Robert in April 2009. It was an ex­pe­ri­ence that changed their lives in a pos­i­tive way, and they’ve ded­i­cated much of their time ever since to pro­mot­ing or­gan do­na­tion.

Robert’s voice chokes with emo­tion when he speaks about his wife’s un­selfish gift: “My life is com­pletely turned around. I can do every­thing I want to do from a phys­i­cal point of view. Psy­cho­log­i­cally there’s been a huge weight lifted from me and I can see the world through dif­fer­ent coloured glasses now.”

Ber­nice adds: “the per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion any­one could get in do­ing that for an­other hu­man be­ing is in­de­scrib­able.”

The jour­ney lead­ing to her un­con­di­tional act of love be­gan about three decades ago.

Kid­ney fail­ure po­ten­tial

In those days, Robert re­al­ized he was faced with the spec­tre of kid­ney fail­ure.

“I never knew for sure whether my kid­neys were go­ing to fail,” he says.

As he neared his 50th birth­day, it be­came in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous to the out­doors­man that phys­i­cal work was tak­ing a greater toll on him.

“By the time I was in my early 50s, it be­came pretty ap­par­ent (to) my physi­cian that I was likely to go into kid­ney fail­ure,” Robert in­di­cates.

His worst fears were re­al­ized when he ended up re­ceiv­ing dial­y­sis at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal for two years, three days-a-week, four hours each time.

“It’s life-sus­tain­ing but, at the same time, it re­ally wreaks havoc on one’s body and sys­tem,” he ex­plains.

The name of the Lun­dri­g­ans’ boat, “Sec­ond Chance,” be­speaks the new lease on life Robert was given when his wife, Ber­nice, do­nated a kid­ney to him.

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