As many as 40 people attended Rick Prashaw’s book launch at the Masonic Hall on Saturday, March 30.
Prashaw’s book titled ‘Soar, Adam, Soar’, is an biography/autobiography of Prashaw’s offspring, Adam who died in a freak accident in January of 2016 at the age of 22.
Prashaw wanted people to know Adam’s story and set out to write the book.
When Prashaw wrote the book, he included many of the things that Adam posted on his Facebook page, and thus gave him co-author’s credit.
Adam was different from the start.
All through her pregnancy, Prashaw’s wife Suzanne was absolutely positive that she was nurturing a boy in her womb. She had already given birth to a son and two daughters in a previous marriage and her pregnancy was very much like when she carried her son.
She was so convinced that the baby was a boy, they named him Adam before he was born. Whenever she referred to the baby during her pregnancy she always said Adam.
On April 22, 1994, Suzanne was in for a speedy delivery and was in labour for only 17 minutes before the baby arrived. Even the doctor was not there yet. The baby was delivered by an intern.
But when the baby was born, Suzanne was stunned that it was a girl. The couple christened their infant daughter Rebecca Danielle Adam Prashaw.
But growing up, even when she was young, Rebecca acted like a male child and identified herself as a boy.
Prashaw said it was so strong that at the age of two, when someone would ask Suzanne how many children she had, and she would reply “Four: two girls, one boy and a wannabe.”
“The girl who wants to be a boy. And who in fact was a boy. So, we have tomboy episodes,” explained Prashaw.
In the teenage years she identified herself much more as a boy, and began to transition dressing and acting like a boy. The parents wondered if Adam would “come out as a lesbian. But he wasn’t home yet to his true self,” explains Prashaw.
At the age of 20, Rebecca made the decision that she wanted to be called Adam and to have everyone refer to her with male pronouns (he, his, him).
“He knew that the girl in the mirror was not him,” said Prashaw.
Adam was also into sports and was a goalie on a girls’ hockey league for seven years.
During the book launch in Eliot Lake, Prashaw quoted excepts from Adam’s Facebook page.
An example was: “(Sept. 27, 2015) I didn’t chose to be transgender, but I did chose to be comfortable in my own skin and be happy.”
As a young adult, Adam moved to Ottawa and lived as a man in an apartment building.
Adam was also born with epilepsy and had smaller seizures when he was young. In the teen years, the seizures got worse to the point where Adam underwent surgery twice in the hope of correcting the problem and stopping the major seizures. Each surgery helped for a time, but then the seizures would return.
In January of 2016, Adam was in a hot tub with friends at his apartment building. His friends left for a few minutes to get something they had forgotten in their apartment. However, shortly after they left for the elevator Adam suffered a seizure and drowned.
When his friends found him a short time later, they called an ambulance, and the paramedics worked frantically to revive him. While they got his heart started, he was only kept alive with life support.
Prashaw was vacationing in California when he got the devastating news that Adam had a life-threatening accident, and he rushed home.
With the doctors saying that Adam was brain dead, Prashaw and his ex-wife Suzanne made the difficult decision to take him off life support, and he died a short time later.
Adam an organ donor
While a little reluctant at first, both Prashaw and Suzanne agreed to allow organ donation. At the age of 16, when Adam got his driver’s licence he told his mother that he would like his organs donated when he died so others could live.
His family followed Adam’s wish. He donated his heart, kidneys and his liver.
Prashaw told the crowd that Adam’s organs saved the lives of four people: Each of his kidneys went to women, as did his liver, but his heart went to a man.
He explained that regardless of the wishes of the deceased, the family has the final say. So, it is important to let one’s family know their wishes after they die, Prashaw stressed.
Organ donations are anonymous and neither party nor their families are told the name of the donor or the recipient.
However, when the person who got Adam’s heart awoke after the surgery, he wanted to do two things: to know who the donor was and to run a marathon in that person’s honour.
The recipient was 55-year-old John Dickhout. He started his investigation and searched through the obituaries, for the ages and date of death.
Then Prashaw received an anonymous letter from the very grateful man who suspected he received Adam’s heart.
Prashaw and Suzanne wrote back to Dickhout and mentioned a few clues that convince Dickhout the heart he got was Adam’s.
He was hoping to meet Adam’s family, but Dickhout was willing to respect their wishes if they did not want to meet him.
However, Prashaw texted Dickhout and said they were willing to meet him.
Dickhout was a manager of an international call centre. He has left that field and is now a professional actor.
He also kept the promise he made while recovering from his heart transplant. He ran a 10-kilometre run six months after the operations, says Prashaw.
“We are now such good friends.”
When Prashaw speaks of Adam, he promotes organ donation and asks people to sign up to be an organ donor.
He encouraged those in the audience to become an organ donor. He said people can sign up to be an organ donor on the website beadonor.ca .
He told the crowd that while 90% of Ontarians support organ donation, only 32% are registered as such.
Those who are registered organ donors, it is written on the back of their health cards.
He added that even seniors can donate their organs after the pass away.
‘Soar, Adam, Soar’ is available on Amazon, Indigo, Coles and Chapters, and retails for about $22.
The book is also considered a Best Seller, and is in its second printing. An e-book edition and is also available.