Clarenville man with CF looking for the ‘gift’ of a second chance of life
Jamie Chaulk awaits new lungs in Toronto
Family and friends of Jamie Chaulk are rallying around the Clarenville man and his move to Toronto while he awaits a double-lung transplant.
Jamie has Cystic Fibrous. More commonly known as CF, the disease is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults.
Jamie is from St. John’s. He lives in Clarenville with his partner Perry Chaulk who is from Charlottetown, Bonavista Bay.
The couple has been in Toronto since mid-April.
“Jamie is currently admitted at St. Michael’s hospital in downtown Toronto for treatment for an infection that he’s developed since we got here,” Perry said when answering questions via text message on May 4.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the disease has various effects on the body, but mainly affects the digestive system and lungs.
Perry said Jamie’s lung function has now decreased to 19 per cent which, he said, is “super low.”
Both Jamie and Perry are selfemployed and had to put their businesses on hold while they await the transplant.
“Having to pay rent, and everything that goes along with a household, vehicle payments, insurance etc, has been rough because we have living expenses here as well,” Perry said.
Perry said he and Jamie have received an overwhelming amount of support from people in the Clarenville area, as well as other family and friends and even strangers. They also have a strong support system in Ontario, he said.
“People can be beyond generous and we can’t thank them enough.”
Natasha Bailey from Harcourt has been friends with Jamie and Perry for several years.
“Jamie’s lung function has deteriorated a lot this past couple of years. He just has to stay in Toronto now until lungs become available,” Bailey said when contacted by phone.
Bailey said her friends need all the support they can get right now, both emotionally and financially.
“This could be up to a two year process. It’s very hard on everybody involved. It’s very tiring for them,” she said.
Kelly Sheppard has established an online fundraising campaign to help Jamie and Perry with their expenses. The campaign has raised almost $10,000 thus far.
“I’ve been through this same process that Jamie and Perry are facing. I had to uproot my family and relocate to Toronto from NL in 2008 to wait for my second chance at life. Fortunately, after only two months wait, I received my ‘gift’, and just three months after that I was able to travel home,” Sheppard wrote on the Go Fund Me page.
What most people don’t understand, she wrote, is the cost that transplant places on families and individuals.
“Yes, our health care is free in Canada. However, the cost of actually relocating to Toronto, residing there... meals, transportation back and forth to the hospital (for the numerous appointments and rehab required) all of these costs are our own to bear. And where does that leave our lives that we left back at home in NL,” she wrote.
According to Eastern Health’s website, about 4,500 Canadians wait for organ transplants every year. Sadly, some people die while waiting.
Perry encourages people to become organ donors.
You can indicate your intent to donate organs and tissues when completing a Medical Care Plan (MCP) application or renewal.
However, according to information posted on Eastern Health’s website, although you have indicated your intent to donate your organs and or tissues, the final decision rests with your next of kin.
Because timing is critical with organ donation, the website notes, it’s important that people discuss their wishes with their families.
In summing up her reasons for setting up the fundraiser for Jamie, Sheppard said it’s impossible to place a price tag on the joy and excitement of being given “a second chance and being able to breathe.”
“This is my one wish for Jamie,” she wrote.
To contribute to the fundraiser visit www.gofundme. com/jamiesnewlungs.
For more information about organ donation call 709-777-6600, toll free 1-877-640-1110 or visit www.easternhealth.ca and follow the link to Organ Donation.
To learn more about CF visit www.cysticfibrosis.ca
Perry and Jamie Chaulk in the hospital.
Jamie and Perry Chaulk.