Sudbury's Ian Smyth, 13, throws the first pitch at the Toronto Blue Jays game in Toronto on Thursday. Smyth is waiting for a lung transplant and was given the chance to throw the pitch in recognition of National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. Photo Supplied The StarFrom The Sudbury Star in Ontario, Canada:
Throwing the first pitch at last night's Toronto Blue Jay game was a thrill of a lifetime for Ian Smyth - the only thing better would be to hear he is going to receive the lung donation he needs to save his life.
The 13-year-old Sudbury boy - who has a rare lung disease that plugs up the bronchial tubes - has been waiting for a lung transplant for four months.
He threw the first pitch of the game in recognition of National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week, which starts Sunday.
"I'm so excited. This is a once in a lifetime thing," Ian said.
"It means a lot to me that I can help raise awareness for organ and tissue donation."
It's difficult for Ian being away from home because he and his mom, Susan Smyth, have to live in Toronto to be near the hospital when a transplant becomes available.
"We are extremely fortunate for the moral support and great financial support from our community," Susan said.
Organ donation is close to the heart of Blue Jays shortstop, David Eckstein - four of his family members have had life-saving kidney transplants.
"It is devastating to learn that someone you love needs a transplant. But, there is something that every one of us can do to help - talk to your family about organ donation wishes today. This could be one of the most important conversations your family will have," Eckstein said.
Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor. Today in Ontario, 1,665 patients are on the transplant waiting list.
One organ donor can save up to eight people and enhance the lives of up to 75 others through tissue donation.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through tissue donation