Oscars Tie Up Organ Transplant Aircraft, Corporate Citation Delivers

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As the stars and their entourages headed to Los Angeles for the Academy Awards a real-life melodrama was playing out in British Columbia and a corporate jet flew to the rescue. Officials with the B.C. Transplant Society told the Globe and Mail that last Thursday when they tried to charter a jet from any of 11 companies that normally provides the service, they were told none was available. "As a result of the Oscars going on in California, all of the [charter] jets had been spoken for," Bill Barrable, executive director of B.C. Transplant told the newspaper. "We were in a situation where we could not secure a jet in the tight time frame that we needed to." At stake were seven organs ready for harvest from a man who had died in a rural town several hundred miles from Vancouver, where seven patients were awaiting life-saving or life-enhancing transplants. So Barrable called his friend and former college mate Robert McFarlane, the CFO of Telus, a large Canadian telecommunications company, and the firmís Citation was on the way within an hour.

Organs must be harvested and then transplanted within hours for them to function successfully. Thanks to the Telus jet, which the company provided for free, the transplant team was able to harvest the organs and have them working in the seven grateful patients in time. Brian Parsons, a 43-year-old firefighter from Vernon, B.C., got the donorís heart and said he hopes to soon return to the active job and life he enjoyed before his own heart became enlarged. "It was just one of those things where timing was not its best and all the jets not being available. ... I'm so grateful because I know the outcome could have been very different," he said.