When I get where I'm going
There'll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah, when I get where I'm going
Don't cry for me down here.
— From “When I Get Where I’m Going” (Rutherford/Teren)
Jamie Badcock didn’t want to go through a second double-lung transplant when his first set of transplanted lungs started failing in the fall of 2020.
“I had to make a huge decision, and it was really difficult to make because I had a really, really difficult first transplant and I vowed to myself that I would never go through a transplant ever again,” Badcock said in June 2021 from Toronto, where he and his mother had travelled to be available for a transplant at a moment’s notice.
It was the second time since the 2017 operation that he battled rejection. The first time was touch and go.
“When he was in ICU, they told me he was going to die, but luckily he survived it, which is a huge, huge thing,” said his mother, Charmaine Skiffington.
At 34, Badcock had already beaten the odds of survival for cystic fibrosis patients of his generation.
But in the early hours of Monday, Dec. 27, three days shy of his 35th birthday, the clock finally ran out.
“Early this morning, we lost our beloved Jamie,” his husband, Steve Badcock, wrote in a Facebook post that evening. “Jamie was so unbelievably courageous and determined. He was determined to get better, he was determined to return home to his family and friends. He struggled, he pushed, he fought. But God seemed to have other plans.”
Steve had travelled back to Toronto last month after Jamie’s transplant team said he was too weak to undergo surgery should a set of lungs become available.
Jamie — who changed his name to Badcock from Chafe when the two were married — had been in hospital since July, but with Steve’s help, he started on a daily regimen of food and exercise. Doctors were impressed with his improvement, but just before Christmas, his health deteriorated again.
“To say that my heart has been shattered into a million pieces doesn’t even begin to describe the pure ache I feel in my entire body,” Steve wrote in his post.
Asked by the minister at their wedding what attracted him to Jamie, Steve said it was his kindness.
“That sounds simple, but that response has so much meaning for me,” he wrote. “He never had an ill word for anyone. He treated everyone with compassion and empathy. He put others above himself.”
Funeral arrangements are being made. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Jamie Chafe Memorial Fund. Email transfers can be sent to email@example.com, password: jamiec. Include a note stating what or whom the donation is for.
Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram