A powerful journey from living with an artificial heart to a heart transplant....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This week is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (NOTDAW). There are events going on around the province. The intention for this week to get the message out and encourage people to sign up for their consent to donate.

I volunteered today with Trillium Gift of Life at St. Mary's hospital in Kitchener. We had a booth set up with forms to fill out with postage paid. If someone didn't want to sign up right there we gave them a package with the form and information about organ and tissue donation. It's a great thing to do and I learn so much by getting involved.

Something of interest... You are more likely to need an organ than you are to donate an organ.

Unfortunately, there are families out there that will certainly take an organ to live but will not sign their consent or choose to donate a family member's organs. It's a shame. These people are incredibly selfish. There are countries that take into account if a person is an organ donor when they need an organ. In other words, when the list is created for those waiting for an organ, the people that are organ donors go higher on the list than those that are not organ donors. I think this is great! I think the list should also consider those who have chosen to destroy their organs when there is information to inform them of the risk. But that's a whole other conversation.

I would like to list a few things I learned today. I hope there is at least one person out there that will read this and understand the honour in being an organ donor.

No one would want my organs. Well. What I've learned, there are only three definitive illnesses that can guarantee you cannot donate. These are cancer, HIV and hepatitis. I'm not sure what types of these illness are considered, but why not sign the consent and let the professionals decide?

I'm too old to donate. The oldest donor we know of was 90 years old. You read that right. She was able to donate her liver and it was a successful transplant. Enough said.

I have put my wishes in my will. If you aren't actually deceased yet, no one will read your will. This is a good start but unfortunately, it is not enough. If you register your consent with OHIP your wishes will be available to Trillium and they will share it with your family as soon as the time is right. No fuss.

Whatever your concern is, please educate yourself. There are many misconceptions out there that are simply not true. Make the decision that can directly save lives.


  1. I still don't understand the attachment so many seem to have to their bodies post-mortem. Were you planning on using that heart? Those corneas? That liver? As you can guess, I'm a donor (well, not yet :-)). Please don't let unclear thinking, blind fear or superstition prevent you from helping someone else, people. Although I'm guessing if you're here, you're probably a donor already.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment! You are very right. I don't understand it either.... Sometimes I worry that I'm being too blunt. But with some people we need to be blunt. I'm so glad you agree!