The Alberta government used the message of love on Valentine’s Day to encourage Albertans to sign up as organ donors.
The province said donor rates have increased substantially, with more than 330,000 Albertans registering with the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry since it launched three years ago. But there are still 600 Alberta residents waiting for an organ transplants, and thousands more waiting for tissue transplants, the government said.
Throughout Alberta, there are families with loved ones waiting for a new heart, kidney or other organ,” Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said.
“Becoming a donor and talking to your family about your choice only takes a few minutes and can mean a new lease on life for another person.”
Darren and Michelle Reynes attended the government’s media availability Tuesday morning. Darren received a kidney from Michelle in a living donor transplant in 2004, and a pancreas from a deceased donor in 2008.
“Michelle never had any doubts about donating whatever it took to get me healthy again. She’s said she’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Darren said.
The couple has been together for 19 years and have two children.
The province said organ donors saved 380 lives in 2015 in Alberta, which was an 11 per cent increase from 2014.
Twenty-five hundred Albertans register every week to become organ and tissue donors, with one donor potentially saving up to eight lives.