Friday, April 04, 2008

Educate students about organ donation:
Ontario MPP introduces private member's bill

Congratulations to Dave Levac, Ontario Provincial Member of Parliament for Brant, who introduced a bill to educate students about organ donation. I've met and spoken with Dave on several occasions and he has always been a strong advocate for organ and tissue donation awareness. We need more politicians like Dave and his federal counterpart Lloyd St. Amand, who have been very strong advocates for the thousands of people on the waiting list for a transplant.

From the Brantford Expositor in Ontario, Canada:

Brant MPP Dave Levac hopes the second time will be a charm for his private member's bill on educating students about the need to donate their organs.

Levac's bill, which would amend the Education Act to provide for education on organ donation at the senior level of the school curriculum, has passed first reading with second reading expected to be scheduled shortly.

The bill was first introduced in the last session of the legislature, but died on the order paper when the 2007 election was called.

In an interview, Levac said his bill is the result of attending a transplant bonspiel a couple of years ago.

The bonspiel provided a venue where invited transplant recipient and donor families could meet.

"I got to meet those recipients and those donor families and hear their stories first-hand," he said. "One of the hurdles they mentioned was the shortage of people who had signed the donor sections of their driver's licences, that left the system with a shortage of suitable organs."

During the last session, Health Minister George Smitherman formed a task force on the problem, which was led by the former Speaker Alvin Curling.

One of the task force's findings was that more public education is needed.

"There is a gap between those who say that they might donate and the actual number of donations that take place," said Levac.

"Ontario has a poor record compared to other provinces. Education can go a long way to correcting that gap."

He noted that despite Ontario's record, London has a very high rate of organ donations, partly because its public and separate school systems offer programs on the subject.

"We have a good example there so we wouldn't be reinventing the wheel," said Levac. "We could just borrow from them."

Private member's bills have a poor rate of success. Although Levac would like to see his bill succeed, he said he would be content if it were to find its way into government policy, and is prepared to be as tenacious on this one as he was with Sabrina's Law. That was his private member's bill telling schools how to handle the problem of anaphylactic shock caused by allergies to food substances or bee stings.

"That one died four times before making it on my fifth try."

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network

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Your generosity can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance another 50 through tissue donation

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