Skip to content

Transplant recipients visit Surrey Memorial Hospital to deliver Christmas treats

Annual program gives former patients chance to thank province’s health-care workers
Earl Howell, left, and Kate Chong, centre, pose with a group of health-care workers and staff from BC Transplant at Surrey Memorial Hospital on Dec. 8. (Photo: Anna Burns)

Staff at Surrey Memorial Hospital were treated to a Christmas snack Thursday (Dec. 8) as part of an annual initiative to thank health-care workers for their live-saving work.

Operation Popcorn is an annual program run by BC Transplant and is a chance for organ recipients to thank the staff in intensive care units, emergency departments and operating rooms throughout B.C.

On Thursday (Dec. 8), they stopped by Surrey Memorial Hospital to hand out festive packages full of popcorn.

The event, which is in its 31st year, is also a chance for health-care workers to hear from former patients who have received organ donations and have gone on to live healthy lives.

Kate Chong and Earl Howell are transplant recipients who shared their stories with staff in Surrey.

Chong, a resident of Coquitlam, had a kidney transplant five years ago. Her husband, of less than a year at the time, was a match. In Sept 2017, she had a successful kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Chong and her husband now have two children.

Howell, a White Rock resident, had a liver transplant 25 years ago at Vancouver General Hospital.

“I was just blown away that I was able to see my kids grow up, get married, and we have five awesome grandchildren,” said Howell.

Both Chong and Howell expressed their gratitude for what health-care workers do every day.

“Everything I have today is because of my donor and folks like yourself,” said Howell.

In 2022, BC Transplant will visit 28 hospitals throughout the province and deliver more than 100 packages.

BC Transplant also encourages B.C. residents to register to be an organ donor at

Like us on Facebook Like us on Instagram and Follow Anna on Twitter.

Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I started with Black Press Media in the fall of 2022 as a multimedia journalist after finishing my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader.
Read more