20 years and counting for a Prince George resident’s successful surgery.

Joyce Grantham received a heart transplant back in 1999 and will be celebrating the 20-year milestone next year.

Her accomplishment is one most transplant recipients hope to reach themselves as the average life expectancy for a successful procedure is about 10 years.

She’s grateful someone had signed up to be an organ donor and had a heart suitable for her condition.

“Well it’s definitely a gift, isn’t it? I’ve been able to hit 56 years of marriage to my husband, I’ve been able to see my grandchildren grow up and now I’ve got great grandchildren; I think it’s just a wonderful thing to be a donor to allow me to do that.”

Operation Popcorn by BC Transplant recognizes doctors & nurses involved with transplant procedures | My PG Now

Grantham suffered from Cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes scar tissue and other complications on the heart muscles.

She considers herself lucky, but there are emotional struggles when receiving a transplant.

“In my case, it means somebody had to die in order to get a heart and that can be tough to deal with, but at the end of the day, you can give somebody life, you make things easy for them, and that’s a good thing. It’s a good gift you can give somebody, so please be a donor.”

She believes there’s still a need for more organ donors, adding the majority of patients in need of a transplant may never get one.

Grantham expressed her appreciation for those who perform and harvest transplants by handing out popcorn at University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC).

The annual day of appreciation for nurses and doctors by BC Transplant is known as Operation Popcorn.