April 7 is Green Shirt Day, promoting organ donation awareness

Adam Prudhomme

Canadians coast-to-coast are encouraged to don green tomorrow in recognition of the selfless act of Logan Boulet, who passed away in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash of 2018.

Tragic as his death was, Boulet’s organs were donated to save the lives of six people in need. Shortly before the crash that claimed 16 members of the team and injured 13 others, Boulet had let it be known to his parents that he’d like to be an organ donor. Boulet was inspired to do so after a former coach, Ric Suggitt, had done the same and wound up saving the lives of six people following his passing.

In Boulet’s honour April 7 has been declared Green Shirt Day-the colour of the Broncos hockey team. As news of Boulet’s heroic act spread, there was a sudden uptick in Canadians following suit and registering to be a live saving donor.

Green Shirt Day is part of Be A Donor Month, which is held every April to both celebrate successful transplants and to encourage others to register as a donor. Greater Napanee is among hundreds of communities that have made a proclamation to recognize the month.

This month has special meaning to Lesley Kimble-Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington region spokesperson for Transplant Advocate Association (TAA). Her husband Rick was the recipient of a double lung transplant in 2018.

“(TAA) is a group that has helped immensely,” said Kimble. “Its helped (Rick) because when we were going through this journey before the transplant, we met some of the people in this group and they were so helpful with information about what our journey might look like and just being sort of ready to go to Toronto (for the surgery).”

Their guidance through such a difficult journey encouraged Kimble to get involved. She successfully lobbied for Greater Napanee to recognize be A Donor Month and to hold a ceremonial flag raising at North Fred to mark the occasion as well as to declare today as Green Shirt Day.

“More than 90 per cent of Ontarians are in favour of (organ donation) but only about one in three have registered their consent to donate,” said Kimble. “Even more important than registering is to let your family know. Have that conversation with them. Let them know that’s of interest to you because ultimately even if you’ve registered to be an organ donor, your family can override that if they choose. Say they don’t know about it and they’re not really sure what you want to do, it could turn out that you don’t become an organ donor because ultimately they have the final decision.”

While some may believe health or age may prevent them from being a donor, the reality is that’s often not the case. Doctors will determine the viability of an organ at the time of death for medical suitability.

To register to be a donor visit www.beadonor.ca/TAA_Canada. Donations are also being accepted by the TAA at www.TransplantAdvocateAssocation.ca.

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