April signifies BeADonor month in the province of Ontario. This important annual event is helping to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The best part about BeADonor month is that everyone is welcome to participate and it can be a rewarding way to give back to your community.
Today in Ontario, there are over 1,500 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant as that is their only treatment option. Every three days someone will die because they did not receive a transplant in time. Sixty-five percent of the 1,500 people waiting for a transplant are waiting for a kidney. The average wait time in Ontario for a deceased donor kidney transplant is five years. Fewer than 25 percent of adult Ontarians have actually registered their consent to be a donor. You can help reduce these alarming statistics by registering your consent for organ and tissue donation and those waiting know that you are willing to help.
The facts about organ and tissue donation:
• One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance the lives of up to seventy-five more through the gift of tissue.
• Age alone does not disqualify someone from becoming a donor. The oldest organ donor was over 90 and the oldest tissue donor was over 100. There’s always potential to be a donor and as long as you are 16 or older, your age should never stop you from registering.
• Your current or past medical history does not prevent you from registering to be a donor. Despite serious illnesses, every individual is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may be deemed eligible to be organ and/or tissue donors.
• All major religions support organ and tissue donation, or at least respect the concept of individual choice in the matter.
• Organ and tissue donation does not impact funeral plans you or your family may have arranged.
• Donor registration gives families clear evidence of their loved one’s donation decision. It relieves families of the burden of making a donation decision on their loved one’s behalf at a difficult time.
• The first and foremost duty of healthcare professionals is to save a life. Only when a life cannot be saved does organ and tissue donation become an option.
• Your donation decision will only be disclosed for the purpose of sharing your decision with your family.
• You can change or withdraw your consent to donate at any time.
Many folks will say – “I have a signed donor card”, but this type of consent is not recorded in the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s database and therefore the healthcare professional may be unable to access that information. Organ and tissue donor registration is the only secure and guaranteed way to make your decision to save lives be known.
So how can you register to potentially give someone “the gift of life”? You can register online at www.BeADonor.ca or in person at any ServiceOntario centre. For more information or assistance you can call 1-800-263-2833 or review the extensive content on the Trillium Gift of Live website.