For as long as he knew him, Ryan Creasy said his father always had a passion for music.
Richard Creasy, a longtime piano tuner and rebuilder from Brandon, could listen to a song on the radio and play it right back to you.
Although not strictly religious, Richard was known to help out with local church fundraisers having understood the role music played in bringing people of all faiths together.
On Nov. 8, Richard died following a more than weeklong stint at the Ottawa Civic Heart Institute where he was brought in for a heart transplant.
It wasn’t what anyone had hoped for, but Ryan said if there is anything good that can come out of this, it’s that more people have the courage to do what his father did.
"I was always against being a donor when I grew up," he said. "Now that I’ve seen this process first-hand, I have completely changed my mind. I believe that people need to consider being a donor for reasons they don’t even understand."
The family was in Winnipeg for a Halloween party on Oct. 28 when they got the call — a donor had been found and Richard would need to come to Ottawa right away.
Richard, who was approved for a heart transplant in March, was medevaced the following day and brought into surgery a few days later.
While in hospital, he had another device installed for his heart and there were fears he may lose a foot or a leg from the surgery.
He also had titanium plates put in to prevent infections and help doctors reopen the chest if they needed to.
But a week after arriving in Ottawa, Richard’s white-blood cell count began to rise and he was put on antibiotics.
The next day, his count was even higher and by the day after, the family had gotten the news — Richard’s intestines had died after the blood running to them was cut off for too long.
Ryan sat beside his father as one-by-one, the various machines keeping him alive were turned off. Richard died just before 9 p.m. at the age of 63.
"He had hopes of a quality of life that was better than before," Ryan said.
"And given the choice to do it again, he would say, ‘Yes.’"
To help raise money for the upcoming surgery, the family held a barbecue and fundraiser over the summer in Sandy Lake, where Richard and his wife Connie had converted their family cabin into a retirement home.
Ryan said the whole community came out, including people they had never met, and raised $12,000.
After he decided to go ahead with the transplant, Richard had an LVAD, or left ventricular assist device, put in to help with his blood circulation.
Ryan said his father, who for two years had been less aware and energetic because of his heart problems, had his strength come back.
He said those weeks and months after were some of the best times he had spent with his father in years and had Richard not accepted the transplant, the family would not have gotten as close as it did.
Earlier this month, a private member’s bill that would have introduced a presumed consent policy for organ donation in Manitoba was voted down and the provincial government launched a special standing committee on organ donation.
Ryan said he believes mandatory organ donation is a great idea. "I think that the medical world ... need(s) everything at their fingertips to make this an easier process in the future for more people."
Despite what happened to his father, Ryan said he doesn’t have any ill feelings.
For now, Ryan and his brother Devon continue to run the family hot tub business owned by their eldest brother Shaun.
Living by his father’s mantra, Ryan said when it comes to business, as long as the customer is happy, you’ll be fine.
"He never wanted to be the biggest, he never wanted to be the most successful. He just wanted to provide a good quality of life for us and that’s what we want for our kids."
A funeral service for Richard will be held in Glenboro on Friday.