Regina and Saskatoon will ‘light it green’ to raise awareness for the increasing need for organ and tissue donation for National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week.
Regina’s City Hall and TC Douglas Building will display green lights at night April 24, as well as Saskatoon’s St Paul’s Hospital, in honour of those who have donated organs, and those who’ve passed away while waiting for transplants.
There are 90 kidney patients in Saskatchewan waiting for transplants right now, and 4,400 in Canada.
“About 250 of those patients pass away every year because we don’t have enough organ donors having those wishes go forward,” said Lori Garchinski, executive director of tertiary care with Saskatchewan Health Authority.
“It’s about raising awareness, it’s about ensuring, much like Logan Boulet did and others, having those organs donated so that people’s lives can change.”
Garchinski said the sticker on your health care card is only the first step in becoming an organ donor.
“Your sticker on your health card can show your intent, but in the end your next of kin are the ones that have to make that decision. If they’re not aware of exactly what your wishes are, they may choose not to go forward with your donation,” she said.
“Having those conversations and making people aware can significantly make a difference.”
She said there are lives that could be saved through conversations about organ donation.
“There are approximately five per cent of patients who pass away in hospital who have the opportunity to donate their organs.”
Logan Boulet, a Humboldt Bronco, made the decision to become a donor one month before the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in which he died.
The “Logan Boulet Effect” has made an impact in Saskatchewan.
Garchinski said right now, there are many on waitlists for organs.
“There are 130 people in Saskatchewan waiting for corneas,” she said. “Hemodialysis units are full with patients who have significant kidney disease and many of them could benefit from having a kidney transplant.
“It’s a supply and demand issue and we need to make sure that message gets out there to have those conversations.
“If you want to be an organ donor let people in your family, let your loved ones know,” she said.
B.C. Place in B.C. and the Calgary Tower in Calgary are part of the many cities across Canada taking part in “light it green”.
National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week is April 21-27.
To read more about organ donation and becoming one in Saskatchewan, visit www.saskhealthauthority.ca/organdonation.