According to an Ipsos survey, as many as 1.8 million Ontarians mistakenly believe they are a registered organ and tissue donor. This BeADonor month, show your support for the 1,500 people in Ontario waiting for an organ transplant by checking your registration status.
For decades, Ontarians proudly signed paper donor cards declaring their intent to donate their organs and tissues after death. At the time, this was the best way to make their donation wishes known. But the challenge with traditional paper donor cards was they were often not found in time, meaning family may have remained unaware of what their loved one wanted.
Paper donor cards became obsolete when the province began recording consent for donation in a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care database. Registration through www.BeADonor.ca or at a Service Ontario centre is the only guaranteed way of ensuring your donation wishes are known at end of life and shared with your family.
As an organ and tissue donor coordinator with Trillium Gift of Life Network, Kiley Perrier’s role is to guide families through the donation process.
“We don’t like to think about what will happen after we die, but speaking with your family about organ and tissue donation is an important conversation to be had,” says Perrier. “Working with families who have recently lost a loved one can be difficult but it is made easier for the family when they know what their loved one would have wanted – either because they had the talk, or because they were registered. When I share with a family that their sibling, parent, or child had registered, it helps ease the burden of making that decision and softens their sorrow, knowing they are fulfilling their loved one’s last wish.”
For those on the waitlist, a transplant is their only treatment option and every three days someone will die because they did not get their transplant in time. But you can help. One organ donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of up to 75 more through the gift of tissue. When you check or register your consent for organ and tissue donation, you are letting those waiting know that you would help them if you could.
There are two ways to verify you are registered: visit www.BeADonor.ca to check, or check the back of your photo health card; if the word “donor” is printed, you are registered.
Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation for transplantation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.