“I’m living proof as a kidney recipient that the gift of life is something that is to be treasured,” said Janis Clemis, the Alberta director of the Canadian Transplant Association.
The Taber Golden Suns hockey club hosted a Green Shirt Day event on Saturday, where organ transplant recipients and the family of late Humboldt Broncos player Logan Boulet came together to spread awareness of what has become known as the “Logan Boulet effect,” highlighting the importance of being registered as an organ donor.
The rink was lined with transplant recipients and angel family donors from the Taber and Vauxhall area.
A short on-ice presentation took place before a hockey game was played, and Taber mayor Andrew Prokop was on the ice to acknowledge local families impacted by organ donation.
The Boulet family took part in a ceremonial puck drop for Green Shirt Day.
This April will mark four years since the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018 that took the lives of 16 people, including Broncos defenceman Logan Boulet.
Logan succumbed to his injuries on April 7, the day after the crash. Logan had previously informed his parents, Bernadine and Toby Boulet, that he wanted to register as an organ donor in honour of his late coach Ric Suggitt.
The Boulet family offered his organs which saved six lives and left a lasting footprint that inspired a reported 150,000 people to register as organ donors in the weeks following.
Logan played in the Southern Alberta AA Hockey Program with the Lethbridge Hurricanes for five years and frequently skated in the Golden Suns’ arena in his hockey career.
“It’s a different sensation to be on this ice knowing that Logan skated on this ice,” Toby said
“I remember watching Logan play from when he was just a little guy,” Bernadine added.
Green Shirt Day was created in response to the crash to honour Logan’s legacy and remember the victims and families affected while also raising awareness about the importance of being registered to be an organ donor.
“No family wants to try to make a decision in a tragic time when they are trying to hang on and with their loved ones,” Bernadine said.
Jenn Angyal has cystic fibrosis and was a double-lung transplant recipient in 2007. Without her angel donor, she would have died from the genetic condition.
“My twins would have been left motherless without this gift,” Angyal said. “So from the bottom of my heart, I live every day to the fullest.”
Shortly before the Broncos bus crash, Clemis received a kidney transplant from her living donor son.
“That ended up to be an event that snowballed into something very, very positive, because it brought a lot of awareness to the need for transplants,” Clemis said. “Green Shirt Day is a way for us as general citizens to talk to our families and our loved ones about organ donation, because it’s our family at the end that make that decision whether our organs would be transplanted.”
Clemis said for this year’s Green Shirt Day on April 7, the hope is to register 2,022 people to be organ donors.
The Boulet family said people can participate in Green Shirt Day by wearing green, lighting up their house with green lights and by having conversations with loved ones about registering to become a donor.
For more information, visit the Green Shirt Day website.