April 5, 2019 9:14 am

‘I have a new lease on life’: London recipient talks about organ donation ahead of Green Shirt Day

Green Shirt Day, on Sunday, April 7, aims to raise awareness for organ donation.

Green Shirt Day, on Sunday, April 7, aims to raise awareness for organ donation.

Green Shirt Day
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A London mother of two says a double organ transplant earlier this year gave her a “new lease on life.”

Erin Larson had been on a waitlist for 1.5 years when she got a call from University Hospital on Jan. 31, saying a new pancreas and kidney were available for her.

“I was so sick,” Larson told 980 CFPL’s London Live host, Mike Stubbs. A diabetic for 30 years, Larson explained that she’d been visiting the hospital for dialysis six days a week, underwent 12 medical procedures in a single year, and had two grand mal seizures.

READ MORE: Family of Humboldt Bronco Logan Boulet announce April 7 as Green Shirt Day ‘to honour his legacy’

“I was getting sicker, I was down to 110 pounds, I was in a lot of pain. I was to the point where I was like, ‘Do it, put me under and do it because a) it won’t hurt while I’m under, and b) I’m going to wake up and I’m going to be better.”

Thanks to her organ donor, Larson can lead a normal life and take her 13- and 15-year-old kids to Disneyland. She’s also delighted to be taking showers for the first time in 17 months, which she couldn’t do before because the ports for dialysis in her chest and stomach couldn’t get wet.

WATCH: Parents of Humboldt Broncos’ Logan Boulet deliver Green Shirt Day message about organ donation

“I value these organs. I will never ever disrespect them, or smoke, or do something to risk my organs,” she explained.

Tens of thousands of people across the country registered with organ donation registries last spring, in something that’s become known as the “Logan Boulet Effect.” Boulet, a Humboldt Broncos player killed in the horrific crash between his team’s bus and a transport truck on April 6, had signed a donor card shortly before he died.

READ MORE: The ‘Logan Boulet effect’: Humboldt Broncos player’s family feels pride, heartbreak in wake of tragic death

The 21-year-old’s heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and corneas have gone on to save or improve the lives of six people across Canada. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, in 2016, 256 Canadians died waiting for an organ, and at the end of the year, 4,469 were awaiting an organ transplant.

To carry on Boulet’s legacy and raise awareness about organ donation, Sunday, April 7 — the day after the one-year anniversary of the crash — is being recognized across the country as Green Shirt Day.

Global News Radio 980 CFPL will air a one-hour documentary, The Story of the Humboldt Broncos – One Year Later at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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