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Transplanted

Nimbus


When Allison Watson awoke that day, she knew she was in a hospital bed. That's all. She had no idea how much time had passed since she had seen her family. When she tried to focus, her vision was blurry, and when she tried to wave someone down, she became so exhausted she thought she was dying. Hours later, when Watson was able to communicate, she asked a nurse if the news was good or bad. “It’s good news,” the nurse replied. “You had your lung transplant four days ago.”

About 4,100 people in Canada have cystic fibrosis, and many are living longer today, thanks, in part, to transplants. CF mainly affects the digestive system and lungs, and there is no cure. In this candid memoir, Watson describes living with the disease and her life-altering surgery in 2014. Watson and her sister, Amy, both grew up with CF, and Allison had always believed that Amy would be the one to get a transplant first. The decision to undergo surgery was not easy. Nor was the road to full recovery. In this book, Watson, who cycled across Canada with her brother in 2008 to raise awareness of CF, describes her journey.

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Allison Watson believes in living every day to the fullest. Raised in Petitcodiac, New Brunswick, she had an active childhood despite daily treatment for cystic fibrosis. In 2014, she received new lungs in Toronto. As a side effect, she was diagnosed with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder. After intensive chemotherapy, she is now cancer free and is again able to physically do the things she enjoys. Allison Watson lives in Springhill, Nova Scotia.

 
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"The Saddest Ship Afloat"

Nimbus




On May 13, 1939, the eve of the Second World War, the MS St. Louis left port in Hamburg, Germany, headed for Havana, Cuba. Among the ship's passengers were more than six hundred Jews attempting to escape Nazi rule. But most of the visas the passengers had purchased turned out to be fake and after several days in limbo in Havana's harbour, the ship's captain turned back for Europe. Canadian and American activists petitioned their governments to accept the refugees on humanitarian grounds, but to no avail. On its return, the ship would distribute its passengers among European countries, and over the course of the war, an estimated 250 would die in the Nazi-run concentration camps.

The latest in the Stories of our Past series is illustrated with photos and sidebar features on the voyage, glimpses into the lives of passengers, a look at Canada's postwar refugee policy, and memorials dedicated to preserving the story of this tragic event in Canadian immigration history.

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Allison Lawlor is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Homemakers, Canadian Living, and University Affairs magazines. After graduating from Ryerson University she worked as a reporter for several daily papers in Ontario before moving to Nova Scotia in 2003. Her first book, 250 Years of Progress: Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, was published by Nimbus in 2005. Allison lives in Prospect, Nova Scotia, with her husband and their two daughters.

 
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