Northumberland Hills Hospital is getting behind Be A Donor Month by observing Green Shirt Day April 8.
This is a new initiative arising out of the 2018 tragedy in Saskatchewan last April 7, the day so many members and supporters of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team died when their team bus was involved in a devastating accident.
Of those lost, Logan Boulet came in for special mention. The caring young man's donation of six organs not only saved lives but spurred an increase in organ-donor registration.
To honour his legacy and keep the momentum going, Logan's family has championed Green Shirt Day as an annual observance each year on the anniversary of the crash. As this falls on a Sunday this year, NHH will have its own recognition on April 8.
Throughout Ontario, in fact, the Ontario Trillium Gift of Life Network is encouraging businesses, hospitals and students to wear green that day in support of organ and tissue donation.
Locally, NHH is joining community organizations and Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini in encouraging everyone to wear green April 8.
“Today in Ontario, there are over 1,600 women, men and children waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and, sadly, every three days someone dies because there are not enough organs to meet the need,” Piccini said in the NHH press release.
“In the riding of Northumberland-Peterborough South, there are 39 people currently on the waitlist.”
By registering to become a donor, one has the potential to save as many as eight lives with the gift of an organ and to enhance as many as 75 more through tissue donations. Age is not necessarily a barrier, and even individuals with serious illnesses can sometimes be donors – each potential donor is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Trillium Gift of Life Network Ronnie Gavsie said the example of the young Saskatchewan hockey player lost too soon made a huge impact last year in Ontario.
“Last Be A Donor Month, as a result of the Logan Boulet Effect, Ontario experienced a 40% increase in donor registrations over April 2017,” he said.
“This year we do not want a tragedy. Rather we want to maintain this momentum and give hope to those on the waitlist. There is no better time to register than during Be A Donor Month. Visit www.BeADonor.ca to register or learn more.”
The press release urges donors not only to register but to talk with family members about their wishes. As Warkworth heart-transplant recipient David Mitchell told county council last week, this can make all the difference.
“Even though your loved one may have checked that box or gone on-line to register, when the time comes at the hospital, your family members may override that decision. A lot of times, it's a lack of information, or the loved one has not communicated their wish to the family. So we encourage you to talk about it, tell your family about your wish to be a donor,” Mitchell urged.
Gavsie said that your recorded consent does carry weight in almost all cases, however, with family members honouring and respecting their loved one's wishes where there is evidence that's what they wanted.
“Registering as a donor is the only secure and guaranteed way to make your decision known,” the press release stressed.
To register, you must be at least 16 years of age and provide your date of birth as well as your health-card number and version code (if applicable).
Go on-line to register, check or update your consent at BeADonor.ca. Piccini has also issued a challenge to local mayors, chiefs and residents and created a dedicated local registration page at https://beadonor.ca/campaign/mpdavidpiccini.
You can also register in person at any ServiceOntario centre or by completing a Gift Of Life consent form and mailing it to ServiceOntario Organ Donor Consent, P.O. Box 48, Kingston ON K7L 5J3.
In response, you will receive a confirmation letter if you have completed a new registration, updated your registration information or withdrawn your consent.
For more information, visit BeADonor.ca or call the Trillium Gift of Life Network at 1-800-263-2833