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There are several transport trucks delivering an important message as they travel throughout Ontario. The trucks, owned by Al's Cartage Ltd. in Kitchener, Mel Hall Transport in London, and Lavigne Trucklines in Ottawa, are helping to promote awareness about organ and tissue donation as they make deliveries to various cities across the province.
This "moving billboard" idea originated with Tony Hopp, a Kitchener truck driver, whose wife, Janice, waited almost three years before finally receiving a liver transplant in 1998. As a driver for Al's Cartage, Tony Hopp was already well aware of the success of similar programs as he had previously participated in an awareness campaign for the Sunshine Foundation.
Tony approached the Transplant Awareness Committee at London Health Sciences Centre with his idea. The Committee then got in touch with 3-M Canada and Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., a pharmaceutical company. All materials for the original trucks were supplied by 3-M Canada, and the project was funded by Hoffmann-La Roche, which has been instrumental over the years helping to increase awareness about the need for donors.
Each truck provides the toll-free number (800-263-2833) for the Trillium Gift of Life Network so the public can obtain more information. Two of the trucks feature photos of transplant recipients enjoying their lives at work and at play.
Dr. William Wall, liver transplant surgeon at London Health Sciences Centre, says, "This is a tremendous example of ingenuity shown by our patients and their families. It's an innovative way of getting this message out to the public – these trucks will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people each year."