Sooke woman selling 5 wedding dresses after unexpected organ transplant
SOOKE -- “I have five beautiful wedding dresses I want to sell,” says Tossa’s post on the Meanwhile in Sooke Facebook page. “Most can be altered.”
If you look at the pictures accompanying the post, it seems like there are more than five.
“They can turn into seven or eight,” Tossa laughs. “Depending on what you like to wear.”
Tossa shows me the first dress she bought, featuring fabric cascading to the floor: “My mom didn’t like it,” she explains. “So it’s never been worn.”
The second one is a little simpler. Her mom did like it, so Tossa wore it during the ceremony in Sooke. She shows me a picture of her wearing it while walking between her parents.
“Then — to spice it up — I put a tutu underneath,” Tossa smiles, pointing to the official wedding photos which show the rainbow-coloured tutu emerging from the white dress.
Later that evening at the reception, Tossa wore the tutu under a shorter third dress with lights attached to it.
“I like colour!” she smiles. “So I had to add a lot of colour to my dresses."
Her life had been just as dynamic as her wedding wear. Tossa says she’s clinically died 13 times because of complications due to Type 1 diabetes.
“It made me go blind,” she explains. “It gave me Charcot-Marie joint syndrome in my one foot, and kidney failure.”
Tossa was adopted (and never knew her birth family) but credits the people who raised her with supporting her through decades of health problems.
“My parents were just amazing,” she says. “And my brother.”
Tossa ended up enduring six surgeries to correct her vision, while 27 pins and plates were used to fix her foot. “The doctor said there wasn’t any room fit more,” she laughs.
Tossa’s diabetes was also cured after a pancreas-kidney transplant. The donor was a crash victim from a different city — a stranger with an unexpected connection to her birth family.
“My surgeon said she was 99.9% probably my [biological] sister,” Tossa says. “I didn’t even know about her.”
Tossa says her feelings about the origins of her organs are complicated, but is ultimately grateful for the chance to keep living and eventually meet the love of her life.
All the wedding dresses were worn to marry the same man, Jody.
Tossa shows me pictures of her wearing the fourth dress at their ceremony on a beach in Mexico. It was for the friends who couldn’t make it to Sooke. She wore the fifth and final dress at that reception.
‘I’m going to live my life to the best that I possibly can,” Tossa says of her celebrations, now that her health problems are behind her.
Now she’s hoping that by selling her dresses another bride — or five — will be able to celebrate living and loving life to the fullest too.
“I hope they have the best days of their lives,” Tossa smiles. "Like I did.”