The Italian-Canadian organ donation advocate has received a new liver By Mariella Policheni Tandem News "I thought I had misunderstood when a doctor of the transplant unit of the Toronto General Hospital came to my room and told me that a liver was available for me," said George Marcello a few days ago. "I merely whispered 'Pardon me?' and she repeated what I had actually heard very well the first time." The Italian-Canadian founder of Step by Step, who had received his first transplant 10 years ago, was understandably overjoyed. "During my European tour, when I was collecting information on organ donation to bring back and submit to the Canadian Government, my liver failed, due to an infection, and only a new liver can save my life," he added. Marcello was celebrating his 50th brithday. "There's no better way to celebrate, no gift more beautiful I could receive today," he said. "Doctors tell me that this liver should be compatible and I trust them, I hope I'll be given this second chance, although I keep thinking about the family of the donor. I'm saddened by their sorrow, even though I don't know them." The forced interruption of his European tour, the devastating news that French doctors gave him, the stay at the Toronto General Hospital had taken their toll on Marcello's determination and optimism. "However, these news are dissipating the clouds, giving me new strength to continue my campaign in favour of organ donation," concluded Marcello. "I feel I have two brothers and a sister, in addition to an acquired family: the family of Corriere Canadese/Tandem, which always believed in and supported my cause, staying with me in this difficult period. Thanks for your affection." Immediately after the new surgery, a few words were enough to dispel the tension felt by George's siblings. "Everything went well, the surgery succeded perfectly." Sam, Domenico and Caterina had been waiting for those words from 6 am to 4 pm. "I'm so happy," declared Sam Marcello still at the Toronto General Hospital. "Of course, George will stay for a few days in the Intensive Care Unit, but we hope everything will continue to go well." Sam was tired and his eyes were lucid, but he smiled. "The day was very long, apparently endless," he continued. "I watched the big glass doors of the surgery room, hoping to get any news, because these surgeries are very difficult and delicate. I'm relieved, and I'm praying that things continue to go well and George makes it once again." When George awakened from anaesthesia, he communicated with his siblings. "He said he felt exhausted," reported Sam, "but he recommended me to thank all those who prayed for him, his friends, family members who keep visiting and calling to get fresh news about him." "He also wishes to send special thanks to Corriere Canadese/Tandem," added Sam, "for your attention and sensitivity in covering his story." Within a few days, Marcello will be transferred out of the ICU. "Doctors wish to make very sure that no infection is present and that the drugs they have been administering to him are doing their job of helping his body accept the new organ. We are confident that recovery will go smoothly and that George will soon return to live his life like the rest of us." George Marcello's story of courage and hope continues to unfold.