Bernadine and Toby Boulet are turning tragedy into opportunity.
On April 7, 2018, the Lethbridge, Alta., parents lost their son, Logan Boulet, at 21 years old. He was one of the 16 victims of the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
Knowing Logan had made clear his wishes to become an organ donor before he died (he signed his organ donation card on his 21st birthday), the Boulets gave the final okay for Logan’s heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and corneas to be donated, which saved or improved the lives of six people across Canada.
“All we could think was, ‘can we donate organs and make someone’s life better?'” Bernadine told Global News anchor Sophie Lui.
Now, Logan’s parents have taken action to promote organ donation awareness by launching Green Shirt Day, which will have its first edition on, appropriately, April 7.
WATCH: Family of Logan Boulet announce Green Shirt Day ‘to honour his legacy’
The couple is taking their message on the road ahead of the inaugural day, stopping in Vancouver on Friday to attend the 7th Annual Kidney Gala as the event’s keynote speakers and guests of honour. The gala raises money for the B.C. chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Last year, British Columbia set a new provincial record with 339 kidney transplants, as well as an overall record of 502 lives saved by organ donation. The province also saw a six-fold increase in registrations.
Some have attributed that to the awareness of Logan’s story, which has been called the Logan Boulet Effect. But to Bernadine and Toby, spreading that story was about more than awareness.
“We’ll talk about the organ donation story, but people also want to know about Logan,” Toby said. He describes how Logan was more than just a hockey player and how he wanted to go to the University of Lethbridge and become a teacher, how kind he was to his friends and family.
“We love to talk about him and share his story and to share how it’s affected us and our story,” Bernadine added. “He comes with us and he’s with us, and that’s what’s important.”
WATCH: Coverage of Logan Boulet’s story on Globalnews.ca
For the Boulets, what they want to stress the most while promoting organ donation and Green Shirt Day is the importance of talking about becoming a donor with your family, the way Logan did.
“I call it ‘kitchen table talk,'” Toby said, reflecting the day’s slogan of “Register, Tell Your Family, Be Inspired.”
“You have to have that kitchen table talk with your family. You have to have that discussion that you want to be an organ donor, that you want to sign up or you’re going to get signed up. Because if you don’t, Canadian law says the family can say no.”
Now that they’re becoming known across Canada as organ donation advocates, Logan’s parents say their son probably wouldn’t be on board with the family’s new-found fame.
“He’d be hiding in the back,” Toby said when asked where Logan would be at the gala.
WATCH: Continuing the ‘Logan Boulet Effect’ by promoting organ donation
Bernadine agreed: “He was the background guy. He would do the things that need to be done and make sure people were included, but he never wanted the accolades or the glory.”
The family says Logan’s humility also shone through in his desire to be an organ donor, which is what they want to promote with Green Shirt Day: signing up to save a life shouldn’t be a big deal.
“Little things mattered to Logan,” Toby said. “Most people would say that was a big thing, but to Logan, it was just a little thing. That’s what he did.”