By HUGO RODRIGUES Sentinel-Review
WOODSTOCK — A six-year experience with organ donation led Nicole Lalonde to organize this weekend's Organ Donation Fun Walk.The walk will be held Sunday at the pavilion near the Southside Park pond, with registration starting at 10:30 a.m. The fun walk and activities will carry through until about 2 p.m.
Lalonde's motivation has been a constant presence in her life for over six years. At the age of seven months, her son Jack had a liver transplant after a diagnosis of biliary atresia— a condition where the bile duct between the liver and the small intestine is absent or blocked.
"It never really ends. He had the transplant, but it's a long-term thing," Lalonde said. "It's basically been the last six years. He was really sick again when he was two and he may need another transplant again soon."
This reality led Lalonde to become a volunteer with the various agencies that help support families living with liver diseases and transplants— a list that includes the Canadian Liver Foundation, the Trillium Gift of Life, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Children's Health Foundation.
"The walk is to raise awareness about organ donation and get more people to become donors," Lalonde said. "Part of that is raising awareness that children need organ donation too."
The walk isn't a fundraiser, she said, but focused on getting people together to have some fun, do a short walk, play some games, raffle off some prizes, eat some barbecued goodies and commit to the cause.
"The Trillium Gift of Life is one of the sponsors and they'll have lots of swag along with information about the new website, www.beadonor.ca," Lalonde said.
Those interested in registering for the walk can email email@example.com. Registrations will also be accepted on site on Sunday.