Blaine Pho has been a strong advocate for an online organ and tissue donor registry in Saskatchewan.
His efforts paid off after the province officially launched the registry on Thursday.
Pho hopes the registry will increase donor rates after his wife was left with irreversible kidney damage after battling lupus for 10 years.
“My wife Michelle was an amazing wife and mother and when we needed her she was always there — that is what we miss the most,” Pho said.
“There just aren’t that many donors and it’s very difficult knowing the person you love needs a kidney and there is nothing you can do.”
One organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can help 75 people, officials said.
The province said any resident aged 16 and older can make a declaration of their intention to become an organ and tissue donor.
Health Minister Jim Reiter said this is a key part of the government’s plan to modernize the province’s organ donation system, improve donation rates and reduce transplant waitlists.
“This is an important day for our government in fulfilling a key commitment to improve organ and tissue donation rates in Saskatchewan,” Reiter said Thursday in a statement.
“I encourage all Saskatchewan residents to join me in registering their intent to donate and potentially one day save lives.”
Organ donations came to broader public attention in April 2018.
His story inspired more than 100,000 people to sign up to become organ donors and the phenomenon is now referred to as the Logan Boulet Effect.
April 7 is known as Green Shirt Day in Boulet’s honour.
“It is such a gift to be able to give life,” Pho said.
“If this decision is right for you and you decide to be an organ donor, be sure to let those close to you know so your family will support your final wishes.”
Dr. Joann Kawchuk said registering is the only secured and guaranteed way to ensure a donor’s intention is known.
“With this organ and tissue donor registry, we have another way to support grieving families by confirming the intentions of their loved ones,” said Kawchuk, who is the Saskatchewan Health Authority medical director for donation.
“Every person who registers increases the chance of a longer, better life for people waiting for a transplant.”
To learn more about the registry, or to register to become an organ and tissue donor, visit www.givelifesask.ca.
— With files from Ryan Kessler