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Trail riders raise $55K for transplant patients

A group of lung transplant recipients hit the trail to raise $55,000 for organ transplant patients and their families.
Riders from the 2nd Chance Trail Ride raised $55,000 to build and furnish an apartment suite to benefit organ transplant patients and their families at the University of Alberta. (CBC)

A group of lung transplant recipients hit the trail to raise $55,000 for organ transplant patients and their families.

Called the 2nd Chance Trail Ride, the riders gathered near Elk Point, in northeast Alberta, in May.

Double-lung recipient Harvey Nelson, 63, helped organize the trail ride.

A lifelong rider, Nelson was forced to quit horseback riding as his health deteriorated. Once he got the transplant, he said his life completely changed.

Double-lung transplant recipient Harvey Nelson was one of the participants in the trail ride.

“It’s given me just a total second chance on life,” he said.

Now, he and his fellow riders are hoping to help others make the same dramatic recovery by donating the funds to the GoodHearts Foundation.

TThe cash will go towards leasing and furnishing a new suite near the University of Alberta for transplant patients and their families to use while going through the transplant process, which takes about three months.

“The apartment gives [families] a chance to be here and be with their loved one that is going through the transplant,” said Nelson. “So it makes quite a difference to the families that are doing it.”

In addition to building the apartment, Nelson also hopes the trail-riders fundraising efforts will help raise awareness about the need for organ donations.

“We need more [organ donations] because there's quite a waiting list for it,” he said.

“It's difficult to go through life when you know you need a transplant and there isn't an organ there for you.“

The U of A hospital is Canada’s biggest and busiest transplant centre.

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