Twins who died in tragic fire save 10 lives through organ donation

CANOE | Joanne Laucius
Jacob Rondeau died following a fire in Gatineau on Feb. 22, 2015.
OTTAWA — Jacob and Gabrielle Rondeau were born minutes apart. They died minutes apart.

On Feb. 22, 2015, only three weeks after they turned 12, the twins were badly burned after a kitchen fire spread, engulfing their Gatineau apartment in flames. Barely clinging to life, the twins were rushed to hospital in Gatineau, then transferred to Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Their mother, Ericka Cormier, was away for the weekend, leaving an older sibling in charge. He had left the house for a few minutes to get pizza when the fire broke out.

By the time the RCMP had located Cormier and brought her to CHEO, the twins were on life support. Brain scans found no sign of brain function. “Jacob seemed to be sleeping, like an angel. Gabrielle was really struggling,” remembered Cormier this week in the first interview she has given since the fire.

There was no chance of the twins recovering, and Cormier had a decision to make after speaking to an organ donation co-ordinator from Trillium Gift of Life Network, the Ontario agency that plans and co-ordinates organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Ontario. Continue reading
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