Close to 90 per cent of Canadians support organ donation, but less than 20 per cent are registered.
Those statistics, that have not changed for the past five years, prompt the David Foster Foundation to speak out ahead of National Organ & Tissue Donor Awareness Week.
“As a foundation with more than three decades of supporting families and championing registration across Canada, we’re using this one-week period to highlight the problem of the organ donor registration gap in our country,” says CEO Michael Ravenhill. “From our website and social media channels to our major commuter billboard campaign, we’re asking Canadians, ‘Why is there such a big gap between people that support organ donation and people that are registered?'”
Canada’s National Organ & Tissue Donor Awareness Week is April 22 to 28. The David Foster Foundation – that supports the non-medical expenses of Canadian families with children undergoing life-saving pediatric organ transplants and promotes organ donor awareness and registration – asks Canadians to explain why they support the selfless act, but don’t take the simple steps to register their names as organ donors.
On average, 230 Canadians die each year waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and 1,600 are added to the wait list.
This month five Canadian cities – Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal – will see the prominent call to action displayed on OUTFRONT Media Canada digital billboards along major, high-profile roadways and boulevards. With statements that show the disparity in the numbers, Canadians will be encouraged to learn more about the critical role that organ donation plays from coast-to-coast. The messaging will be matched on the David Foster Foundation’s social media accounts, supported by celebrity friends of the foundation.
More than 4,600 Canadians wait for life-saving transplants. However, each year there are only 18 donors per million people in Canada. One organ and tissue donor can save the lives of up to eight people and improve the quality of life for up to 75 people.
Who can become a donor?
All individuals can indicate their intent to donate (persons under 18 years of age must have parent’s or guardian’s consent). Medical suitability for donation is determined at the time of death.
Are there age limits for donors?
There are no age limitations on who can donate. The deciding factor on whether a person can donate is the person’s physical condition, not the person’s age. Newborns as well as senior citizens have been organ donors. Persons younger than 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian’s consent.
What can be donated?
Organs: heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, and intestines
Tissue: cornea, skin, bone, heart valves, and connective tissue
If I sign a donor card or register online, will it affect the quality of medical care I receive at the hospital? Will the doctors withhold treatment or not attempt to save my life?
No. Every effort is made to save your life before donation is considered. Medical professionals will do everything they can to save your life. The doctors who work to save your life are not the same doctors involved with organ donation. It is only after every attempt has been made to save your life that donation will be considered. In fact, from a medical standpoint, patients must receive the most aggressive life-saving care in order to be potential organ donors
How can I guarantee my organs will be used after my passing?
There is no guarantee your organs will be used however, the best way to make sure the doctors will consider your organ donation is to talk with your family and friends and make your wishes known. Even if you are a registered organ donor, your family can refuse the donation if they feel that it is something they have never heard you speak about. Make sure your decision to donate is known to those who love you most.
For more information, visit www.davidfosterfoundation.com.