Back in action thanks to a life saving decision, RCMP investigator Cathleen Falebrinza encourages others to look into registering as organ donors.

Back in action thanks to a life saving decision, RCMP investigator Cathleen Falebrinza encourages others to look into registering as organ donors.

Organ donation gives Fraser Valley RCMP officer a second chance at life

Cathleen Falebrinza celebrates Green Shirt Day after receiving a double lung transplant in 2016.

It was on this day two years ago that Humboldt Broncos junior hockey defenceman Logan Boulet passed away from injuries sustained in a tragic bus accident.

Boulet was registered as an organ donor, and his organs saved the lives of six people. His decision to register inspired others to do the same, and came to be known as the ‘Logan Boulet Effect.’

April 7 is set aside annually to recognize his courage and his legacy.

Green Shirt Day is special for several members of the Upper Fraser Valley RCMP, who’ve seen firsthand how organ donation can change lives.

In 2014 Cst. Cathleen Falebrinza was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. As her condition worsened, the serious crimes investigator wore an oxygen tank to work and required a second tank just to get past lunch. Deteriorating health forced Falebrinza to stop working in 2015 and in August of 2016 she was added to the B.C. Transplant Registry, in desperate need of two healthy lungs.

• READ MORE: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

• READ MORE: 3,300 British Columbians register as organ donors in just six days

Three months later she received a double lung transplant from a registered donor.

“I don’t think words can convey the gratitude in my heart,” Falebrinza said. “That decision saved my life. My donor is a part of me and a part of my life.”

Forty B.C. residents received lung transplants in 2016.

Falebrinza’s surgery restored her health and brought her back to work as an RCMP investigator. She currently oversees Domestic Violence and Serious Crime investigations.

“We couldn’t be more grateful to have Cathleen back,” said Superintendent Bryon Massie, Officer in Charge of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment. “Her keen investigation skills, her dedicated work ethic and her incredible sense of humor are an absolute gift to us, and all of this is possible because someone signed up to be an organ donor.”

Falebrinza and her RCMP family are asking citizens to learn more about the B.C. Transplant Registry and organ donation by visiting transplant.bc.ca.


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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