Two minutes and one signed form saved her life

The 36-year-old is still thankful for the moment 10 years ago when a liver transplant saved her life

From left, liver transplant recipient Amanda Poch, kidney transplant recipient Tracey Bodger and kidney transplant recipient Stu Keeping volunteered to raise organ donation awareness Friday, March 11 at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre in Duncan.

Amanda Poch is alive thanks to an organ donor.

The 36-year-old is still thankful for the moment 10 years ago when a liver transplant saved her life, and is volunteering with the Live Then Give Tour across Vancouver Island and the province to encourage people to become organ donors. The tour made several stops in Duncan last Friday and Saturday.

“Ten years ago I received a liver transplant. I was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis when I was 20 years old. So at the age of 26 [her liver] failed and it came down to six hours that I almost passed away. It’s less than a business day, you don’t realize how quick it can happen,” Poch said.

“Fortunately for the two minutes it took for that organ donor to sign their registration form I was able to live.”

Poch has been touring the Island with Live Then Give, handing out information and speaking to passersby about the benefits of becoming an organ donor and signing an organ donation card. Her tour began Wednesday, March 9 at the provincial legislature in Victoria, with stops in Duncan Friday, March 11 at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre and Saturday, March 12 at the Duncan Farmers’ Market.

“This is my 10-year anniversary so I’m traveling the province to raise organ donor awareness and to raise 10,000 organ donor registrations,” she said. “The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s B.C. branch has a mandate to raise organ donor awareness as well, that’s why I’ve partnered with them.”

In Duncan, volunteers Stu Keeping, Tina Andersen and Tracey Bodger helped out Poch at her information table. Keeping is the recipient of a kidney from his son Craig, while Andersen received a life-saving heart transplant eight years ago and Bodger received a kidney transplant in 2012.

Poch said Duncan has been very responsive to her message.

“It has been amazing here in Duncan. Everybody has been so supportive at the aquatic centre here as well I’ve been able to speak to everybody before their classes or after their classes and everybody’s been so great, I’m blown away by the response,” she said.

The Kidney Foundation is concerned about statistics showing that while 95 per cent of British Columbians have said they support organ donation only 20 per cent have actually registered on B.C.’s organ donation registry. The foundation, along with help from supporters like Poch has committed to increase kidney transplants by 50 per cent over the next five years, citing 544 people in B.C. currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, with 425 of those being people who need a kidney.

“To register takes two minutes,” Poch said. “It’s very quick, very easy and you have the ability to be able to save up to eight lives.”

For more information on organ donation and the B.C. Kidney Foundation visit www.kidney.bc.ca.

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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