Sharing the Gift of Life
Transplant recipient Cora Morningstar volunteers to help others.
Meningococcal septicemia changed Cora Morningstar's life. She woke up as a normal 15-year-old on December 17, 1989. She had a shower and said that her foot hurt. Later that day, she had flu-like symptoms and started to lose consciousness. By 8:30 pm, she was admitted to hospital with an infection that caused her kidneys to shut down. The hospital staff told her parents that she wouldn't make it through the night.
In photo above: Cora Morningstar (left) with Scott Dart, program consultant for Business Continuing Education and co-owner of the London Majors, and Ann Wilkinson (right).
But Cora was a fighter. On Christmas Eve she opened her eyes for the first time since being admitted into the hospital. She spent the next three months in hospital fighting the infection and the many complications that arose due to the meningitis. It took a lot of hard work and determination to become a normal teenager again. Four years later, the kidney troubles began again. Cora spent the next nine months on dialysis three times a week for three to four hours at a time.
But on December 22, 1994, Cora received the phone call that would change her life again; a kidney donor match had been found. Friends and family have named Cora's new kidney "Merry" as in Merry Christmas. It's been 18 years since the kidney transplant took place and Cora has never looked back.
Married with three children, Cora has devoted much of her volunteer time on the Kidney Foundation of London assisting with the "Give the Gift of Life Walk" and other events. She has participated in the Canadian Transplant Games and she volunteers for the Leslie Petter Memorial Transplant Trot. She was recently appointed as the regional rep for the Canadian Transplant Association.
Along with family for support, Cora and her childhood friend and colleague at Fanshawe, Ann Wilkinson, have been a life line, volunteering together for many organ donor awareness events. Ann and Cora have organized the London Majors Organ Donation Awareness game night for June 16, 2012. Its focus is to raise awareness for the need of organ and tissue donors.
Cora says that "going through what I've gone through really changes your outlook on life. It changes the outlook for those close to you as well. I've been told several times 'I don't know how you do it Cora!' The answer is ... you just do. Life is what it is. You can't change what is going to happen or what is meant to be. All you can do is face it with a positive attitude and keep moving forward."