Advocates determined to continue promoting organ donation
National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week has gotten off to an uneasy start in Sudbury, because the Irish Heritage Club of Sudbury’s Organ Donation Awareness Committee may not have the funds it will need to organize its annual awareness walk.
Each year, the committee received $5,000 from the Trillium Gift of Life Network to organize the Walk for Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness.
The walks, said St. Amour, have played a big part in making Greater Sudbury the province's top municipality for organ donation rates.
In December 2013, around 46 per cent of Sudburians were registered with the province's organ donor list.
In outlying communities like Lively, Garson, Hamner and Val Caron the numbers are even higher, surpassing 50 per cent.
In contrast, only 13 per cent of Toronto residents are registered with the provincial organ donor list.
St. Amour said he suspects Trillium has cut its Sudbury funding to focus its efforts on the Greater Toronto Area.
“We will continue on with or without their help,” he said.
If the Irish Heritage Club does not go ahead with a walk for 2014, St. Amour said he would like to see more focus on youth, and promoting organ donation in school curriculums.
According to Beadonor.ca, the official website for Ontario's organ donor registry, one organ donor can save eight lives and improve the lives of 75 people.
St. Amour's wife and son both have had kidney transplants that saved their lives, he said.
At an event to launch National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week at Tom Davies Square on Tuesday, Tim McLaughlin shared the story of his life-saving double-lung transplant.
“I wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for my lung transplant,” he said. “I'm so grateful to my donor.
There are currently 1,538 people waiting for an organ transplant in Ontario."
Every three days, one person on that list dies waiting, said St. Amour.
For him, adding one's name to the organ donor list “only makes sense.”