Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cyclists ride 354 miles (570km) for organ donation awareness

Victor Davis memorial ride

Sabrina Michelacci, left, Greg Davis, double-lung transplant recipient Grant Hagerty, and Terry Phillips made a stop at the Ottawa Civic Hospital yesterday during their eight-day cycling trip from Guelph to Montreal to promote organ donation.
Photo: Tracey Tong - Metro Ottawa

Greg Davis, brother of Olympic swimming champ Victor Davis, and a few companions are completing their 350 mile week-long journey today after cycling from Guelph, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec in Canada. Grant Hagerty, a double-lung transplant recipient of three years is a member of the team. Grant is a personal friend of mine and I've been very impressed with what he has been able to do since his transplant. His is truly a life transformed and at 54 he is in better shape than most people.

by TRACEY TONG Metro Ottawa

Twenty years ago, the unthinkable happened.

Greg Davis’ brother, Olympic swimmer Victor Davis, was struck by a car in Montreal.

The family rushed to the hospital, where the 26-year-old lay on life support for three days.

The world record-breaking Olympian — who won a gold and two silver medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics and a silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics — had discussed organ donation with his family a year earlier, said Greg Davis. “We knew what Victor wanted.”
The family made the decision to donate his organs.

It was difficult.

“I was looking at a man who was so full of life. And he was gone. But he gave five different people a new lease on life, including a grandfather who got 17 more years,” Davis said. “So he was a hero in a way.”

Accompanied by double-lung transplant recipient Grant Hagerty and supporter Terry Phillips, Davis stopped in Ottawa yesterday as a part of the eight-day Victor Davis Memorial Ride to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.

Hagerty knows what a big difference organ donation can make.

The Waterloo resident, who suffered from sarcoid, an autoimmune disease, was given three months to live.

“In 2005, I was on oxygen 24 hours a day and made it into the transplant program,” said Hagerty. “In August 2006, I was living on death’s doorstep.”

The double-lung transplant saved his life, he said. Now 54, Hagerty lives a full life. An active volunteer, he teaches kids to ski, speaks on behalf of Gift of Life and fundraises for university athletics.

In Canada, there are 1,750 names (in Ontario) on the waiting list for a transplant, with one person dying each day in Canada, Hagerty said.

A donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and up to 75 through tissue donation.

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

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.

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