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Family hopes Green Shirt Day sparks organ donations amid registration slump during pandemic

Click to play video: 'Honouring Logan Boulet on ‘Green Shirt Day’' Honouring Logan Boulet on ‘Green Shirt Day’
Toby and Bernadine Boulet are honouring the legacy of their son Logan, by raising awareness for organ donor registration. They joined TMS and speak about the importance of 'Green Shirt Day' on the 4th anniversary of their son's death following the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. – Apr 7, 2022

The parents of Logan Boulet are hoping families will open up a conversation about organ donation amid the anniversary of a rural Saskatchewan crash that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.

“That conversation with family and friends is so important,” Bernadine Boulet told Global News.

“Just … to make organ donation sort of normalized and not just to be like a scary or foreboding kind of situation.”

Read more: Tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash chosen as Canadian Press’ news story of the year

Humboldt Broncos defenceman Logan Boulet was one of the players on the bus hit in April 2018 when a transport truck blew through a stop sign and drove into the path of the junior hockey team’s transport.

Atter Logan succumbed to his injuries in hospital the day after the crash, Bernadine and Toby Boulet offered to donate their son’s organs so that six lives could live on.

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Logan had signed up to be an organ donor on his birthday, five weeks before the crash.

The player drew his inspiration from former coach and mentor Ric Suggitt. Suggitt’s organs also saved six lives after his death in 2017.

Nearly 147,000 Canadians registered to be donors in the two months after learning the player had signed his donor card.

The Boulets said the day after the anniversary of the crash – the anniversary of their son’s death – “is easier” since it commemorates Logan being an organ donor.

“Today is our day of hope and sunshine as we honor the passing of Logan,” said Boulet. “But also the legacy that he’s left and the difference that it’s making for people across Canada, across the world, especially for those who are waiting for organ transplants.”

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Toby says Green Shirt Day – created in 2019 to honour the victims and families of the fatal crash – has sparked conversations among hundreds of thousands of Canadians to become organ and tissue donors by registering their intent to donate through provincial registration systems.

“The Kidney Transplant Association set a lofty goal of 100,000 registrations. We had that in our first year,” Toby said.

Read more: Three years after Broncos bus crash, Logan Boulet still inspiring organ donation

“It’d be nice to have people just continue to register to be organ donor … just to continue to think about it.”

Nearly 90 per cent of Canadians say they support organ donation, but only a third have actually registered to donate, according to data from the Canadian Transplant Association.

On average, about 250 people die each year in Canada while waiting for an organ transplant.

Canadian Blood Services (CBS) estimates more than a million people have registered a decision about organ donation in the years since Logan’s death. However, CBS says the number of living donors dropped in 2020 by about 30 per cent with deceased donors dropping about 21 per cent.

Officials say the decline was due to COVID-19.

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To find out more about organ donor awareness & registration, go to greenshirtday.ca

– with files from The Canadian Press

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