By Renee Cowell
(CHATHAM-KENT, ON) – National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week is recognized every year to remind Canadians of this critical need. Despite significant progress province-wide, there are still more than 1,500 Ontarians on the waiting list for a life saving organ transplant.
One organ donor can save up to eight lives and enhance 75 others through the gift of tissue. While 85% of Ontarians support organ donation, only 26% are registered.
To raise awareness and increase donor registration within Chatham-Kent, community partners teamed up and launched the Chatham-Kent…Give the Gift of Life organ and tissue registration campaign in December 2012. The goal of 250 new registered donors was surpassed within three weeks.
The community’s on-going support has brought the campaign tally to over 1,000.
A new campaign goal of 1,500 registered donors has been announced.
Since joining the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) as a designated hospital, CKHA’s role in organ and tissue donation has broadened. As a partner in the Routine Notification program, CKHA is required to report every impending patient death and every death that meets established referral indicators to TGLN within an hour of the death.
If a person is eligible to donate, specially-trained TGLN staff work closely with healthcare professionals to approach and support the grieving family through the decision to donate and ensure as many people as possible are helped through the gift of organ and tissue donation.
The program expanded hospital-wide to include all CKHA units in March 2014, in an effort to increase referrals of potential organ and tissue donors. Since expansion, 34 people have received the gift of sight through corneal transplant and three additional multi-tissue donors have improved the lives of many more through their gift.
“The dedication our staff members have shown to the Routine Notification program by identifying and referring potential donors has been exceptional,” said President and Chief Executive Officer, Colin Patey. “Within our first year, we achieved 100 per cent monthly compliance twice across the Alliance.”
Making the decision to become a registered donor can help save and improve lives. Registration only takes two minutes and requires an Ontario Health Card.
Visit Be A Donor to register to be an organ and tissue donor and support the Chatham-Kent…Give the Gift of Life campaign.