August 29, 2006 – Toronto, ON – Opera Star, Measha Brueggergosman and celebrities with ties to Ontario are showing their support for organ donation by lending their names and faces to the Celebrity Awareness Campaign launched today by Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) with the assistance of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).
“According to a recent Ipsos-Reid survey, 93 percent of Ontarians support organ donation. But we also know that the consent rate in this province is only 48 percent,” said Frank Markel, President and CEO of TGLN.
“The reason we hear time and again that eligible families don’t consent to donation is because they don’t know what their loved one would have wanted. This campaign is designed to change that. We want to get people talking about their organ donation wishes today. And we want to thank all of the celebrities who have joined us to make this such a great success, we are truly honoured to have them with us on this important mission.”
The Celebrity Awareness Campaign posters will appear in doctor’s offices, hospitals, in driver’s licence renewal envelopes, newspaper supplements, calendars, and will be available for downloading on the TGLN website.
Also added to the website today is a “Tell Your Story” section designed as a forum for the public to tell their story of why they spoke to their families about organ donation. “If you had the power in your hands to allow a blind man to see, to allow a dying child to live, to allow a person to never have to endure dialysis or insulin needles again - if you could improve the quality of life for others or even save a life, how could you possibly say no?” asked Sue Patterson, a donor mother from Barrie. “You need to talk to your family about your wishes today.”
Today in Ontario 1750 patients are on the transplant waiting list. Of those 1092 are men, 658 are women and 27 are children.
“I have been on the waiting list for lungs for over 13 months,” said Kitty Sayle, a nurse from Toronto. “A campaign to get people talking is important. Every person in this province needs to know there are so many people like me, waiting for a gift that will save our lives. I'm asking you. Right now. Go home. Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Tell them your organ donation wishes. You need to know that a conversation could save a life. It could save a life like mine.”
Measha Brueggergosman, an Opera Star represented over 30 VIPs at the campaign launch in Toronto. “I wanted to be a part of this campaign because people are dying. There's no reason for it. Not when you can have a conversation and save someone's life. Talk to your family about your organ donation wishes. There's no reason not to. I did. Now it's your turn,” Brueggergosman said.
The Celebrity Awareness Campaign focuses on the conversation between loved ones about organ donation and includes great people like:
- Andy Barrie
- Roberta Bondar
- Measha Brueggergosman
- Tom Cavanagh
- Don Cherry
- Tom Cochrane
- Carla Collins
- Jim Connelly
- Peter De Sousa
- Sheila & Dr. Brenda Copps
- David Cronenberg
- Marilyn Denis
- Dwight Drummond
- Dave Foley
- Kevin Frankish
- Jian Ghomeshi
- Dale Goldhawk
- Ben Heppner
- Norman Jewison
- Reed Johnson
- Lisa LaFlamme
- Anne-Marie Mediwake
- Colin Mochrie
- Senator Vivienne Poy
- Paul Shaffer
- Kiefer Sutherland
- Ted Woloshyn
- Women of CTV - Ottawa
“I'm thrilled to participate in this campaign to raise awareness on talking to your family about organ donation,” said Dave Foley, an actor from Toronto. “If adding my face and name gets more people talking about this important topic then it’s a success.”
Celebrity Awareness Campaign launches are planned across the province throughout the fall, and the doctors, nurses and hospitals in Ontario have been key players supporting the initiative.
“As doctors we see first hand the life-saving impact organ donation can have on patients and the lifechanging impact it has on their families,” said Dr. David Bach, President of the OMA. “This campaign serves as an important catalyst to initiate awareness and discussion of organ donation for families in Ontario.”
“Increasing the rate of organ donation is one of the most important health issues in this province,” said Hilary Short, President and CEO of the OHA. “The OHA is committed to helping facilitate vital discussions about organ donations between loved ones by distributing Trillium Gift of Life Network posters to all of Ontario’s hospitals.”
“Nurses support families throughout the organ donation process,” said Mary Ferguson-Paré, President of the RNAO. “They see first-hand how lives are saved when families know their loved ones’ wishes. Talking about organ donation is a conversation everyone should have.”
If you are interested in receiving posters for your company/school/facility please contact us at 1.800.263.2833 or 416.619.2306.
“We have high hopes for this campaign,” said Markel. “We want people to talk to their families about organ donation and then we want them to come to our website and tell us why they thought it was important. It’s all about the conversation because it’s the conversation that can save a life.”
Trillium Gift of Life Network is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved. Sign your donor card. Talk to your family about your wishes.
For more details on Trillium Gift of Life Network please visit their website at Gift of Life.