April 22, 2013
April 21-27 is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. Right now, almost 5,000 Canadians are on a wait list for a new organ and a second chance at life. Thousands more are waiting for a tissue transplant. The need is great, and community awareness and support are vital.
Did you know that one donor has the potential to offer eight organs for transplant? This includes the heart, two kidneys, a liver, two lungs, a pancreas and the small bowel. Several kinds of tissue can also be donated, like bone, cornea, heart valves, islet cells and skin. Almost everyone can help save and improve the lives of others through tissue donation. In some situations, living donors can donate one of their kidneys or part of their liver.
The Multi-Organ Transplant Program (MOTP) at London Health Sciences Centre is internationally known for its research and clinical innovation and expertise. Last year, 172 transplants were done for patients needing a kidney, liver, heart or combined kidney-pancreas. We’re fortunate that the London region has one of the highest donation rates across all of Canada. However, this is still not enough to meet the needs of all our patients.
During National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week and throughout the rest of the year, the MOTP encourages everyone to consider the Gift of Life. The decision to donate organs and tissues after death is a personal one. Once you have made your decision, it is important to tell your family your donation wishes so they can act on your behalf following death. You can also register as a donor at https://beadonor.ca. By consenting to become an organ and tissue donor, you may be able to help save many lives.
Rizwana Ramzanali (left) received her kidney and pancreas transplant almost 10 years ago, and Heather Fisher is now celebrating 30 years of healthy, active life, thanks to her liver transplant 30 years ago. Both Rizwana and Heather took part in the awareness display held annually at the London Home & Garden Show. Community events, such as this, offer venues where Londoners can chat with local transplant patients and donor families. This year, the Gift of Life Donor Quilt was highlighted, honouring those who have donated in order to save the lives of others.