Are you an organ donor? Are you sure?

 In Opinion

Currently, around 1,600 people in Ontario are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. And though most of us believe that organ donation is a good thing, just over a quarter of us are registered as donors. Some great strides have been made in Ontario over the past year, but still more needs to be done. You can spread the word by encouraging your friends and family to register their consent to become organ and tissue donors.

I thought I was an organ donor. It turns out I wasn’t, but I am now.
With April being “Be A Donor Month” there has been a lot of public encouragement to become an organ and tissue donor. I remembered checking a box on some piece of paper way back so I was pretty sure I was all set up. I wasn’t.
Paper donor cards are no longer in use as they often were not available when needed. In 2008, Trillium Gift of Life Network adopted an affirmative registry and now consent to donate organs and tissue is stored in a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care database. By formally registering, either online at www.BeADonor.ca or in person at any ServiceOntario location, it ensures that your decision is recorded and can be made available to your loved ones at the right time.
So if you are like me and thought you had already registered, and you feel strongly about donating organs, you may want to go online and check.
More than 85 per cent of Ontarians are in favour of organ donation yet only 34 per cent (4.2 million out of an eligible 12.5 million) are registered donors.
As a result, 1,684 Ontarians are currently waiting for an organ transplant, their only treatment option and every three days someone will die because they did not get their transplant in time.
One donor can save up to 8 lives through organ donation and enhance the lives of up to 75 more through the gift of tissue. 17,916 Ontarians have received a lifesaving organ transplant since 2003.
Age alone does not disqualify someone from becoming a donor. The oldest organ donor was over 90 and the oldest tissue donor was over 100. There’s always potential to be a donor; it shouldn’t stop you from registering.
Your current or past medical history does not prevent you from registering to be a donor. Individuals with serious illnesses can, sometimes, be organ and/or tissue donors. Each potential donor is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
All major religions support organ and tissue donation, or respect an individual’s choice.
Organ and tissue donation does not impact funeral plans. An open casket funeral is possible.
It takes only a few seconds to register at www.BeADonor.ca, using your health card.
– Trina Berlo

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