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LHSC Multi-Organ Transplant Program fundraiser to feature Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member


From the top of the Canadian country music charts with the band Prairie Oyster, along with other musical icons, to a hospital bed fighting for his life. Veteran musician John P. Allen has many stories to tell. But perhaps none so gripping as the day he nearly died.

“I found out later that a male nurse, who was my nurse. He was on call. He came into the room and pushed everybody out of the way and hit me right in the chest about a dozen times, broke my ribs, but he got my heart to go boom, bulb, bulb, and it started. It turned over and started up again. Anyway, he saved my life,” Allen explained of a fateful day in hospital some years ago.

In 2018, Allen was diagnosed with a rare blood protein disease, leading to heart failure. In 2019, he was given the ultimate gift- a heart transplant.

“Somewhere, a family lost their young son, a lot younger than me. And they donated his organs and gave me a second chance at life,” he said.

Allen is the keynote speaker at this year’s edition of New Canvas of Life.

The event celebrates local artists and supports the London Health Sciences Centre Multi-Organ Transplant Program.

To date, the event has raised $315,000.

Event Co-chair Greg Wilkinson, a double transplant recipient himself, said money raised will be used for a video conferencing system for the transplant program.

“So what it will allow them to do is see images, data, test results, and combine experience with their colleagues around the world to have the best possible outcomes for a very, very limited resource, which is donated organs,” said Wilkinson.

According to organizers, the event includes live music and an art auction. Those taking part will also have the opportunity to “view the artwork created by transplant patients, donors, local artists and Canadian celebrities.”

New Canvas of Life takes place Tuesday, April 16, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at 100 Kellogg Lane.

“If someone dies and donates their organs they can save eight lives. So that’s eight people waiting for a gift of life,” said Wilkinson. Top Stories


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