Transplant recipients visit BC communities to thank health staff

Dec 8, 2016 | News

BC Transplant thanked the CSICU, pictured, and other units with a tin of popcorn on Wednesday December 7.BC Transplant thanked the CSICU, pictured, and other units with a tin of popcorn on Wednesday December 7.

For some it may be that first glass of eggnog, for others, hearing that first holiday tune on the radio. But for many health care professionals and transplant recipients, the holiday season officially kicks off with BC Transplant’s Operation Popcorn, December 5-9.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Operation Popcorn is an annual tradition where transplant recipients thank hundreds of health professionals across BC for the gift of life. This year, teams will visit 31 hospitals in BC and one in the Yukon to gift festive tins of popcorn to show their appreciation. To date in 2016, there have been 91 deceased donor cases at hospitals across BC – providing the gift of life to 396 recipients.

“This is the third year I have volunteered for Operation Popcorn since my double lung transplant three years ago,” says recipient Kathy Green. “To have the opportunity to say thank you to the many people and services involved in organ donation and transplants is truly an honour for me. The emotion and happiness in their faces is something I look forward to every December."

As many as 150 health care workers can be involved in the donation and transplant process from start to finish. But some never learn the outcome of their efforts; much less get an opportunity to meet the people they helped. The annual tradition is a way to thank everyone from the critical care professionals who care for the deceased donor and their family, to the operating room staff involved in the recovery of organs.

“I look forward to Operation Popcorn because it gives me the opportunity to personally thank the staff in the OR's, ICU's and Emergency Departments who are on the front lines saving lives each day,” says Vicki Ellestad, a kidney recipient who handed out popcorn to staff, physicians and medical staff at St. Paul's Hospital.  “These individuals not only care for patients who are losing their lives and families who have lost a loved one, but they also give life to people like me. I am living proof that organ donation works. And, on behalf of myself and my family, I am thankful for the dedication they have to their practice.”

Operation Popcorn by the numbers

  • 32 hospitals visited (31 in BC, 1 in Yukon) - including St. Paul's Hospital
  • More than 100 volunteers – recipients, living donors and donor families are involved in Operation Popcorn
  • Over 100 tins being delivered
  • Operation Popcorn has been saying thank you for 25 years

More information

To learn more about BC Transplant or to register your decision, visit


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