Talk to loved ones about organ donation

The Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) is celebrating Valentine’s Day by reminding Ontarians to sign their organ donor cards and speak to their family about their wishes.
“We have a shortage of organs in Ontario. There are too many men, women, and children on the organ transplant waiting list,” said Frank Markel, president and CEO of TGLN.
“You have the power to save up to eight lives, just by signing your organ donor card and sharing your wishes with your loved ones,” he stressed.
Today in Ontario, 1,665 patients are on the transplant waiting list.
“To give an organ to save someone’s life, to me, is the ultimate expression of caring and unconditional love,” said Markel.
“In March, I will be receiving a kidney [my third transplant in 24 years] from a loved one, and words can’t describe what this means to me, to my life, and the lives of my daughters,” said Justin Poy of Toronto.
“Please sign your organ donor card and express your wishes to your family and those closest to you,” he added. “It could undoubtedly be the most important gift you will ever give.”
Every three days, someone dies waiting for an organ transplant in Ontario.
“I was given a chance to live and love again when I received my transplant,” noted Carla Borton, a heart and double lung recipient from Thunder Bay.
“I am grateful for each extra day I have been gifted to be with my loved ones,” she added. “This Valentine’s Day is special for me because this year I have someone special to share it with.
“I will be forever grateful that my donor and their family made the decision to give the gift of love to someone else.”
Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor. The oldest Canadian organ donor to date was more than 90 years of age while the oldest tissue donor was 102.
“It’s critical to share your decision with your family, as they will be asked for final consent to donate your organs after your death,” said Markel.
“Talk about your intentions with your loved ones and give them a copy of your signed donor card so they can understand, support, and respect your wishes in the future.
“Hundreds of lives are saved every year because of a simple conversation,” he stressed.
For more details on the Trillium Gift of Life Network or where you can obtain an organ donor card, visit www.giftoflife.on.ca or call toll-free 1-800-263-2833.