The ultimate gift
Spaniard’s Bay couple has good reason to promote organ donation
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.