A LaSalle man who contracted life-threatening diseases through a blood transfusion more than 30-years ago is taking his fight up a notch.
Jim Moauro, along with hundreds of others, feel short-changed and re-victimized by an historic settlement after a decades’-long court battle.
He’s now hoping the prime minister will right a wrong.
Moauro lost a great deal after contracting HIV through a tainted blood transfusion. The disease took his wife, his brother and tore his family life into pieces.
And now he wants a piece back and he’s not alone
Memory lane is a tough road for Moauro to travel down.
“My daughter had just got her holy communion and the last picture I have of my wife is that day because two weeks later, she ended up in the hospital and she never came out.”
That was nearly 30 years ago.
In 1983, Moauro had an accident at work, as a haemophiliac, he required a blood transfusion.
He received blood from the Canadian Red Cross and for years, lived a relatively healthy life.
But then, his wife got sick.
Moauro had unknowingly infected her with HIV.
“Was it going to be our last Christmas, were we ever going to see our kids grow up, everything,”he says.
Turns out, they didn’t. His wife passed.
A few years later, his brother, also infected through a transfusion, met the same fate.
Moauro says there are hundreds of other Canadians with a similar story.
“They didn’t ask for any of this,” he says. “The only thing they went in for was a blood transfusion to save their lives after an incident and now, they’re suffering. Those are the people I’m fighting for.”
A 23-year legal battle ensued against Red Cross, in what came to be known as the “tainted blood” scandal.
“The Red Cross imported dirty blood,” he says. “The Canadian an government supervised the Red Cross. The Red Cross distributed the dirty blood. We got sick. Plain and simple.”
The number of claimants grew from six to hundreds.The settlement pie shrank.
Moauro says he got just 27 per cent of his million-dollar settlement and still had to pay his lawyer.
Still, it’s money he’d happily give back.
“Keep your money. Give us back our health, our dignity and our loved ones we lost. Is there a word for that? I don’t know. I’m at a loss right now for words.”
He’s now taking his fight to the highest office in the land.
“I’ve written PM Trudeau a few letters, asking for his help to fully compensate all of us,” says Moauro.
He says his request was booted down the hallway to the health minister, then the attorney general and lost traction.
He’s hopeful Windsor-area NDPs Tracey Ramsay and Brian Masse can press the issue in ottawa.
“It really depends upon the pm and his cabinet as to whether or not they want to close the chapter on this in a good way for Canadians, and assure that again, that it’s not going to be a situation where the victims have to fight for the rest of their lives,”says Masse.
Mouaro is now 67. He’s been living with HIV for most of his adult life.
“Until they close that coffin on me, I will bug this government, this one, the next one, and the one after. Hell will freeze over before I give up.”
Moauro wants to emphasize, though he’s been personally affected, his fight is for others in similar shoes and his children whose lives were destroyed as a result.