TORONTO – More than 1,000 patients in Ontario received organ transplants in 2012, marking the third record-breaking year in a row.
Last year, 1,053 organ transplants were performed. That’s an 11 per cent increase compared to the year before, according to Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network.
The not-for-profit organization coordinates organ and tissue transplants for patients who are waiting.
The group says that since www.beadonor.ca launched in April, 185,430 people have registered to consent to organ and tissue donation.
The Greater Toronto Area is lagging behind the rest of the province – residents of Concord, Woodbridge, Vaughan and Scarborough had registration rates under 10 per cent.
Meanwhile, northern Ontario communities are leading the pack in a bid to help the cause.
In Sudbury, Hanmer and Garson, more than 50 per cent of the population is registered already.
Helene Campbell, a 21-year-old Ottawa woman, became the face of the campaign for organ donation after she enlisted the help of pop superstar Justin Beiber when she needed a lung transplant.
Campbell has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and was waiting for a lung transplant. She’s documented her health through YouTube and her website, www.alungstory.ca.
On April 6, she underwent a successful double lung transplant at the Toronto General Hospital.
Campbell told Global News Thursday that her plight brought national attention and awareness to the organ donor campaign, but it was also the efforts of health officials and the media in getting the word out that helped.
“I stand here as a witness of an amazing person who’s undergone a double lung transplant and I’m just so grateful to this donor and their family,” she said.
“And people need to understand how much of a gift it is that someone can, through passing, give on the gift of life and I respect that gift and will honor it as long as I live,” she told Global News.
She noted that one donor can save eight lives and improve the quality of life of 75 more people.
In 2012, 95 people died waiting for an organ transplant. Another 196 families who lost family members couldn’t donate their loved ones’ organs because they didn’t have registered consent.
The program suggests that if the family member had been registered, another 370 additional life-saving transplants could have been performed.
Take a look at Trillium’s quick facts:
– In 2012, 1,469 tissue donors enhanced the lives of thousands of patients, including corneas to restore sight, heart valves, bone and skin.
– In 2012, deceased Ontario donors contributed to 385 kidney transplants, 189 liver transplants, 104 lung transplants and one small bowel transplant.
– Since April 2012, users have created over 630 web profiles on www.beadonor.ca, to inspire readers to register to be a donor.
– With files from Kathlene Calahan and Beatrice Politi