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5,000 people alive in B.C. today because of organ donation

Last Updated Jul 21, 2019 at 12:50 pm PDT

Some of the medical equipment used in a transplant is seen here in a stock photo. (Source: iStock)

An unexpected person stepped up - Geoff's realtor

31-year-old Geoff Dunsire is the 5,000th person alive from an organ transplant at one time

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – BC Transplant is celebrating an important milestone – there are now 5,000 people alive today because of organ transplants.

31-year-old Geoff Dunsire is the 5,000th person alive from an organ transplant at one time – something BC Transplant says is a record. He recently received a kidney, but it was not his first donation. He needed a liver six years ago but because he received it so late, it led to his other organs failing and the need for the kidney.

At times it became so bad he had to spend months in hospital, even going into a coma and on life support for a time.

RELATED: Mission man’s realtor offers up kidney for transplant

Geoff’s mother, Tracey, says watching her son go through years of health struggles but always coming through has inspired her.

“What we watched him go through, I don’t think I could have done it. And so he inspired me to keep fighting on the days that I didn’t think I could or his sister didn’t, or his dad.”

An unexpected person ended up volunteering to be a donor – Geoff’s realtor. And Debi Pearce has now become part of the family.

RELATED: Mission kidney recipient and his donor march in Surrey Kidney Walk

“She got to know us and Geoff and saw the story in the local paper and she went and got tested,” Tracey says. “And I think it was about eight months, it was a long process, and she was approved, and she was a match, so the process all started from there. The transplant surgery for the kidney was on June 19, it was a total success, and the doctor said that they had never seen a match so close from someone who was not a family member,”

Geoff wasn’t told of the transplant milestone until after the surgery, and Tracey says the family is now working with BC Transplant to tell others about the importance of organ donation.

With files from Jonathan Szekeres.