The World Congress in Transplantation, which was a joint meeting between the TTS, the ASTS and the AST took place in San Francisco from the 26th to the 31st of July. It was a huge meeting with some 7,000 people attending which made it quite difficult to meet people.
The opening ceremony was rather special and quite different to the usual displays of the culture of the host city/state in that two outstanding talks were given by the father of a donor and a recipient of a lung transplant.
The first was by Reginald Green, the father of a little child, Nicholas, who had died during a bandit attack while holidaying in Italy with his wife and two children in 1994. He and his wife decided that he should be an organ donor. This caused a sensation at the time in Italy as organ donation was one of the lowest in Europe. Seven Italians benefited from his organs and corneas. The father has since set up a foundation to further the cause of organ donation (http://www.nicholasgreen.org). This was a spellbinding account of this family’s sorrow but also demonstrating what he has done in the cause of organ transplantation to overcome the donor shortage, which is nowhere more evident than in Italy where the organ donation rate has quadrupled. There is a new edition of his highly acclaimed book “The Nicholas Effect”.
The second presentation was by a young woman, Charity Sunshine Tilleman-Dick, who is an opera singer. She opened her lecture with an aria from Rigoletto and then went on to explain how she was struck down with a lung condition early in her career and this required a double lung transplant. She returned to opera singing but several years’ later rejection was taking place and she had to have a second double lung transplant! Again this has been successful and she is back singing, and certainly the audience were in a position to vouch for her singing ability.
What a remarkable two stories. The large audience was spellbound as was the writer.