Benefit planned for Vatchers

Published on November 15, 2012

WOODSTOCK -- Janet Vatcher admits she and her husband Leigh are still adjusting to living in an apartment for the first time in their lives. On top of that, the apartment is in Toronto, far away from family and friends in their native P.E.I.

Moreover, though, they are adjusting to the reality that she is in desperate need of a double lung transplant to survive.

When she as diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, she was told  she would live only another three to five years without a lung transplant. That was three years ago.

In January, she was assessed in Toronto and deemed to be an acceptable candidate for a transplant. The couple moved to Toronto in March and she went on the transplant waiting list in April.

“It’s a worry, but not as much now as it was in the beginning,” Vatcher said from her Toronto apartment, admitting the reality of her situation has sunk in.

The news that a transplant was her only option was terrifying, she said.

“It never crossed my mind that that would be the only solution,” she said. Symptoms started out with a cough five years before the diagnosis and gradually worsened.

The Vatchers had lived in Summerside ever since their marriage in 1966. Janet (MacPherson) grew up in Glenwood and Leigh was from O’Leary. They still refer to West Prince as “Up Home.”

It is up home, at St. Anthony’s Hall in Woodstock, that relatives and friends are holding a benefit night for the Vatchers. It will be held on Friday, November 23, 7:30 p.m., and will include entertainment by The Helping Hands Band and other performers, an auction, 50-50 and canteen service.

Former Helping Hands Band member, Edgar Wedlock, had started planning the benefit for the Vatchers before he died. His wife, Linda, has picked up his cause, supported by Janet’s sister, Betty Sweet, and other relatives and friends.