Friday, January 27, 2012

Justin Bieber pumps life into Ontario organ donations

This story illustrates the power of social networking and the role that sites such as Twitter can play in coming to the aid of those in need, especially if famous celebrities like Justin Bieber take up the cause. 12 years ago when I was first diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis there was no social networking and I had to rely on the generosity of organ donors and their families. Fortunately I only waited 25 days after being listed for a lung transplant to get the call that would give me a second chance at life. But many patients wait up to 30 months or more and the call does not come soon enough for some who die while on the waiting list. I am very proud of Justin Bieber for helping our transplant community and a huge thanks goes to him for responding to Hélène's need.

Hélène Campbell, 20, has been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) - Photo: Ottawa Citizen

By Matthew Coutts |
A rally cry from Justin Bieber asking fans to become organ donors has done wonders for Ontario's Trillium Gift of Life Network, which has seen a boost in registrations from people offering to become organ donors since the plea was made last week.

Bieber, who frequently makes hearts throb, turned his attention toward other organs when he responded to an Ottawa woman's request for help.
Hélène Campbell, 20, has been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – a rare lung disorder that requires a transplant. She has moved to Toronto for treatment and is on a waiting list for new organs.
Campbell has kept an account of her experiences on and has been trying to rally support for organ donations across the province.
Last week, Campbell and her friends came up with a plan to draw Bieber into the campaign by contacting him en masse through Twitter.
"Hey @justinbieber! I BELIEB you should use that Canadian voice of yours and helpsave lives like mine #beanorgandonor #giveblood," Hélène wrote from her Twitter account @alungstory.
The star from Stratford, Ont., forwarded her message to his 16.5 million Twitter followers, and followed it up with a plea of his own, asking followers to help spread the word.
Trillium Gift of Life Network, which operates the website, saw an immediate spike in traffic to the website and an explosion in online registration.
The health network has received some 1,500 online registrations since Campbell began her campaign last Thursday. That is more than four times the amount the network usually receives.
The Trillium Gift of Life Network says there are about 1,500 people in Ontario awaiting a life-saving organ donation, plus more waiting for tissue transplants.

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa,
United States,
United Kingdom, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help 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 or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You.

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