Ida Bevilacqua (above), Organ & Tissue Donation Coordinator for Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN), along with donor mom Eya Donald-Greenland and myself, had a wonderful opportunity yesterday to talk about organ and tissue donation to the ICU & other staff at Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital in Oakville, Ontario. Attendance for the two sessions was about 50 or so. It was also a pleasure to meet Hospital Chaplain Catherine Thompson, a strong advocate for organ donation, who facilitated the program and provided support. more photos.
Ida highlighted the importance of the audience's role in saving or enhancing lives through organ and tissue donation and noted the following facts:
- There are more than 1750 people in Ontario waiting for a transplant.
- So far this year, less than 340 people actually received a transplant.
- Every 3 days someone dies waiting for an organ transplant.
- One organ donor can save up to 7 lives and enhance the lives of up to 75 others through tissue donation.
- Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor, regardless of his/her age. To date, the oldest Canadian organ donor was over 90 years of age while the oldest tissue donor was 102 years old.
- Even an individual with serious illness can sometimes be an organ or tissue donor.
- There are no costs associated with organ or tissue donation.
- The organs and tissue that can be donated include: heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, small bowel, stomach, corneas, heart valves, bone and skin.
- Most major religions support organ and tissue donation.
- Organ and tissue donation does not affect funeral services and you can still have an open casket.
- Even if you have signed your organ donation card you need to speak to your family about your wishes.
Eya Donald-Greenland gave an emotional presentation from a donor mother's perspective and I told my lung transplant story.
These combined presentations, from TGLN, a donor family and a transplant recipient, will hopefully have left a lasting impression on our healthcare professionals as we all work to improve the rate of organ and tissue donation in Ontario.