Beating inside Gordon Stromsmoe’s chest, is the heart of someone he’s never met.

It’s why the 65-year-old handed out bags of popcorn at Campbell River Hospital today.

Each year, organ transplant recipients, living donors, and donor family members thank hospital staff for their work in supporting organ donation in B.C.

 BC Transplant’s annual Operation Popcorn is an opportunity for those whose lives have been saved by organ donation to deliver packages of popcorn to staff in intensive care units, emergency departments and operating rooms (ICUs, EDs and ORs) across the province.

Stromsmoe received his heart transplant in 1997 and said he is forever thankful.

“I’m very grateful. It was amazing. I was in very bad shape. I was not healthy at all. Now, I’m pretty good. Not 100 percent but I’m right up there,” he said.

Earlier that year, he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart) and his heart was working at about 20 percent capacity.

He was admitted to St. Paul’s Hospital on Nov. 12 and he wasn’t leaving until he got a heart.

On Dec. 29 he got a late Christmas present. A heart was found that was a match and he received a heart transplant.

For those who are unsure about being an organ donor, Stromsmoe is urging them to make a difference.

“If you no longer need of your organs, you should donate them because maybe somebody else will be eternally grateful and will help somebody else’s life improve so much,” he said.

Last year there were over 500 life-saving transplants in B.C.