The Comox Valley has lost a great ambassador, but the loss is not in vain.
Annette Urbon, co-founder of Outback Nursery, passed away Dec. 12 at the age of 61.
In its grief, the family takes solace in the fact that Annette had signed her donor registry, and as such, helped the lives of three other people.
“I received a letter from [BC Transplant] that it was all successful – two people got a kidney each and one person got a cornea,” said Annette’s son, Cody. “I will never know who they are, but they did let me know that the transplants were successful.
“My mom would have been proud to know that she would have been able to do something like this, for someone else.”
In accordance with policy, BC Transplant was not allowed to discuss Urbon’s specific donations, but Dr. Sean Keenan, provincial medical director of donation services, did offer a statement.
“When a family agrees to donate a loved one’s organs in the face of their incredible grief and tragedy, it’s incredibly powerful for all of us at BC Transplant,” he said, via email. “Without their brave and generous decision to donate, the gift of life is not possible. They are our heroes.”
The Urbon family may never hear from the people whose lives Annette changed through her donations, but they can rest assured, the gratitude is there.
Grace Dowker, a retired nurse from Black Creek, is recovering from a heart transplant she received in June. She said words cannot express her feelings.
“I am so filled with thankfulness,” said Dowker. “I’m thankful to be here, and able to celebrate Christmas. I’m not sure how else to say it; it’s just an overwhelming thankfulness, and tremendous compassion towards the family, and their acceptance of their family member’s donation.”
A celebration of Annette Urbon’s life will take place at noon on Sunday, Jan. 6, at the Native Sons Hall.
The Outback Nursery (6016 Headquarters Rd.) will re-open in February.