Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 15, 2002
Roller-skiing brothers say "thank you"
Camrose pair rolling across Canada to thank organ donors
By RENATO GANDIA
"It wouldn't be the same if Jennie hadn't been around."
- Mike Ross
Tim says, "I guess initiating this is just a first step. I really hope that this would inspire others to get out there and do the same thing, thanking these families for their decision."
One April weekend in 2001, the Rosses, a Catholic family from St. Francis Xavier Parish, had a terrific time together in Calgary.
They were grateful they are still a family of six. "It wouldn't be the same if Jennie hadn't been around," Mike said.
They began to discuss how to thank the family that donated the liver that kept Jennie alive.
But because all organ donation is anonymous, the chance to thank donor families is slim. The brothers believe donors should be recognized publicly because of the incredible impact they have.
"We don't know the family that saved Jennie and I don't know if they'll ever know how important it was to us," said Tim.
The thought that there are so many other families that have been touched by transplants in the same way kept coming back to the Ross Family.
Parents Rod and Shelagh, with their children, came to the conclusion that donor families don't get the recognition they deserve.
"We want to find a way to thank them. We can write letters and such but we need to say thank you publicly."
Their search for a way ended when Mike thought of roller skiing all across Canada on the tenth anniversary of Jennie's transplant.
Both brothers struggled to find what it means to them that their sister is still alive.
Mike said, "That's a difficult question. I don't even know where to start to answer that. It's the best thing in the world."
Tim added, "I think that's a kind of question you can't answer."
Tim recalled his sister went rapidly "from (being) a happy little girl to (being) a little girl in need of help, which was pretty tough." Teenagers themselves at that time, they didn't know the seriousness of the situation but wondered why was she so sick.
They picked the perfect summer because the Canadian Transplant Games will be held in Newfoundland.
Mike, who recently finished college at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., noted there have been ups and downs in the journey across Canada. But for the most part it's been terrific.
Tim, who attended St. Thomas University in Fredericton, emphasized, "We are picking up steam as we go through. We're now connecting with ski clubs and bike clubs."
Skiers and cyclists join them for 10 to 15 kms before they arrive in some cities and escort them to the city hall where a presentation is often made.
The trip came together in a span of three weeks although it was planned for a year in advance.
The trip is made possible through the help of various transplant organizations and corporate sponsors.
A chronicle of the journey can be found on the Web at www.thanks100timesover.ca.
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.