CORNWALL, Ontario - Forty years ago Ann Poirier was recovering from what was still considered a very dangerous and complicating surgery - a kidney donation.
Poirier, a retiree from Apple Hill, was just 28 at the time and had made an incredible sacrifice: giving up a kidney for her brother Larry Faubert who was clinging to life after a previous transplant had begun to fail.
For years the siblings kept their pact out of the spotlight.
But now Poirier wants the word spread far and wide about the benefits of donating organs and registering to be a donor.
"Why take parts to the grave?" she said in an interview. "It's such a waste."
Experts say that the organs from one donor can save or help as many as 50 people.
In Poirier's case, the person she helped was her brother.
Faubert had already been through two kidney transplants before his sister went under the knife, and there were concerns that his third surgery would be too much.
Turns out the worries were for not. Faubert went on to live a rich life and died 33 years to the day, Oct. 18, 2006, that he underwent surgery, along with Ann, to donate the kidney.
The sentiment of the occasion, now measured at 40 years, isn't lost on the mother of three who was a volunteer librarian at a pair of Alexandria schools and also worked at Community Living - Glengarry.
"I can hardly put it into words," Poirier said. "It seemed every time I opened my mouth that day it was about Larry.
"If he wasn't coming out of my mouth, he was in my head."
Faubert died due to complications of Hepatitis C, that he contracted thanks to numerous blood transfusions he underwent over the years thanks to his precarious health.
Poirier was the oldest of four siblings, and testing revealed she was the lone option available within the family ranks. Her sister Nancy was just 14 at the time (too young for the procedure), and her other sister Debi had developed a pin-hole in one of her kidneys.
Their father Henry was deemed to be too old for the surgery. Ann, whose kidney was just the right size, was deemed perfect for the procedure.
But kidney operations were still in their infancy in 1973. Her donation was just the seventh or eighth such procedure done at the Kingston General Hospital.
The first such procedure in Canada was completed in 1958 between twins. It took until 1963 before a kidney transplant was successful between two people who weren't identical twins.
For more information about donating your organs, head over to beadonor.ca.