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Help us turn “Tragedies into Miracles”.
Tom Awad, Sport Fest Windsor Co-Chair, is a liver transplant recipient. His journey from detecting his illness to his recovery, simply put, is a miracle.
As a father of four, a husband of 35 years to Carol and a retired General Motors employee, he was ready to settle down to a relaxing retirement while enjoying his family, friends and grandchildren. A serious illness was the furthest thing from his mind. At this point he had no way of knowing how badly his liver was failing while extreme fatigue crept into his daily routine. The dangerous toxins created by liver failure rapidly caused bloatedness and weight gain. At the insistence of their family doctor, Tom and Carol took the journey to London University Hospital for a routine liver function assessment. Well, that would be the last time he would use ‘routine’ in his vocabulary for some time. Upon receiving the test results, he was immediately admitted and put on high-priority on the liver transplant waiting list. After one month of waiting, agonizing discomfort, hallucinating and sometimes wishing it would end, Tom and Carol received the miracle call we were all praying for.
A caring compassionate family donated the organs of a loved one who died. Tom received a healthy liver, but post operative complications, an episode of kidney failure, major infections and breathing difficulties extended his stay in the hospital to three months. His family knew that 95% of liver organ transplant recipients go on to live a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle, but sadly enough it appeared that Tom was going to be one of the fatal 5%. Three long agonizing months went by while Tom fought for his life. Miraculously the tide turned and Tom’s bodily functions started to improve. Fourteen weeks from the time he entered the hospital Tom happily went home. As a faithful Christian and church-goer, Tom acknowledges that a higher power took over and decided his fate. Tom then made a commitment to give something back, not only to pay tribute to his donor’s family, but also to try and create more awareness for organ and tissue transplantation.
Two years later, after numerous walk/run events to raise awareness for organ & tissue donation, he and friends Bob Fahringer and Moe Boismier, decided to organize a slo-pitch tournament to raise funds and to raise awareness for Windsor Organ Transplant and other charities. After two meetings they decided a tournament wasn’t enough, thus began a new non-profit organization: Sport Fest Windsor.
Sport Fest Windsor now consists of over 100 dedicated volunteers planning annual sporting, entertainment and cultural events designed to raise awareness and funds for organ and tissue donation.
Please also click here to see How We Were Formed for more about Tom’s story and read the tribute he created for his donor.
Sport Fest Windsor pays tribute to the Donor families for making a compassionate and courageous decision at a time of unbearable grief in their lives. Many lives have been saved and they have given the Gift of Life to others. THERE IS NO GREATER GIFT!