By Joseph Morin
Upper Canada Business News
April is officially BEaDONOR Month in Ottawa.
Ottawa City Councillor George Darouze, who represents the Osgoode Ward, kicked off BEaDONOR month with a small get together at the Metcalfe Client Services office in Metcalfe on Tuesday, April 3.
The group was made up of several heart, lung and kidney transplant recipients who had their own story to tell about their personal journey through the transplant process.
Darouze read from a proclamation from Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. He said, ”Organ and tissue donation and transplants saves and enhances thousands of lives each year in the province of Ontario. In Ontario today there are 1,500 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant; one of whom will die every three days.”
The councillor added, “While 32 per cent of Ontarians have already registered their consent to organ and tissue donation, there still remains a serious shortage of donors.
The month of April has been designated as BE a DONOR Month to raise awareness of this critical healthcare issue and to show support for BE a DONOR Month, the Trillium Gift of Life network and to encourage all citizens to register online at www.beadonor.ca or in person at any Service Ontario outlet and talk to their loved ones about donation.”
David and Lyn Presley, longtime Osgoode residents and community leaders hosted the event. David is himself a kidney transplant recipient and the couple work tirelessly to promote organ and tissue donations. Lyn reminds people that just one organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and enrich as many as 75.
The group of transplant recipients included 30 year old Jeff Clifford of Ottawa. His journey began as a teenager with leukemia. The leukemia was beaten but along the way his lungs became compromised and he needed a double lung transplant. Jeff was in Metcalfe with his father Gordon. Shirley Koel was another attendee who underwent a successful double lung transplant. Shirley and her partner Beau Rooney were at the centre to show their support for the organ and tissue donation campaign.
Jim Maveety, a heart transplant recipient and his wife Marah keep a blog of their effort to encourage others to participate in the organ and tissue donation process. Their blog is at www.jimshearts.com
One excerpt from their blog states: “Every time we lose a friend to circumstances or disease we cannot overcome or control (we’re looking at you cancer), we pause. We pause because we are losing friends, fathers, mothers and children to something we absolutely have control over – death that can be prevented. People we all care about are dying because they are languishing on the organ donation waiting list. This is just so wrong and makes us sad, and yes, mad. It is beyond our comprehension why this is an ongoing issue. When we die, we will give our organs to someone who can use them…..to live. Why doesn’t everyone have this plan? You can make a difference for THOUSANDS of Canadians waiting for an organ donation. Right now, we’re trying to come to grips with what we cannot control. Organ donation doesn’t fall into this category.”
Molly McPherson, Jim’s niece, was on hand for the event. She said,”I believe this is really important”.
The first heart transplant ever was performed in South Africa by Dr. Christiaan Barnard on December 3, 1967. The recipient, Louis Washkansky survived only 18 days and then died after complications from pneumonia. In 1954 Dr. Joseph |Murray performed the first kidney transplant from one twin to another and the first lung transplant was performed in 1963. Canada had the first successful single lung transplant in 1983.
Science and medicine are always moving forward and the group assembled at the Metcalfe Client Service Centre in Metcalfe are proof that the organ and tissue donation campaign is necessary and life giving.
To register or learn more please visit www.beadonor.ca or call 1-800-263-2833.