11 years later, Ottawa family reflects on 'miracle' organ donation


After being given a 'zero per cent chance' of survival, James Luff got a new heart and lungs

From left to right, Violet, Catherine, Abigail, Angus, and James Luff, six weeks after James's heart and lung transplant in 2006. (Supplied)
Every year, James Luff writes a letter to the family of the person who donated the heart and lungs that saved his life and gave him time with his three children he never expected to have. This year he'll send his 11th letter.

"I try to let them know about how grateful [I am] to be able to have that relationship with my children and know them," Luff told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.

In 2006, his wife Catherine Christie-Luff was pregnant with twins and their daughter Abigail was two-and-a-half. Then, that May long weekend, he suddenly became sick.

"I started to cough up blood — quite a lot of it — and it wouldn't stop, so I got a drive to the Civic [hospital]," he said. "They put one of those oxygen sensors on my finger, and immediately it went into emergency, and then I never left the hospital after that."
'When the hospital called they said that he's basically a dead man walking.' - Catherine Christie-Luff
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