Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are You Registered?

Photo courtesy of
A woman at work today came into my office and asked me to witness her signature on her donor card.  Of course I agreed and went looking for mine in my wallet to show her.  Couldn't find it.  Which is strange, since I always sign it right away when I get my new driver's licence.  Can't remember the last time I saw it, couldn't find it anywhere else in my purse.  I'm wondering if it's somehow embedded in the information that goes with our current plastic licences?

But just to be sure, I went online to  That's the Ontario website for registering your wish to be a donor. I'm guessing the other provinces have one too (I know for sure that B.C. does) and a Google search shows that there are various U.S. sites as well where you can sign up.

According to the Canadian Association of Transplantation, there are currently 4,000 people waiting for a transplant that could save their life but last year, only 1,800 people received transplants and 195 people died while waiting for a match.  You can check out their website here (which appears to be, sadly, somewhat out of date, referring to 2010 and 2011 events but nothing for 2012 as yet) where you'll find interesting information like this:  "It appears that Canada's low rate of organ donation in comparison to other countries is not a result of lack of generosity or altruism, but because of better health practices. Canada’s risk of death from automobile accidents or gunshot wounds is much lower than the United States. Canadian’s access to excellent health care also lowers the probability of death."
What I didn't know before this year was that you can also be a living donor.  Wait, that's not quite right - I knew about donating bone marrow and kidneys but I didn't know you could also donate part of your liver and any of these donations don't necessarily have to be to a relative.  You could donate to a total stranger or, as in the case of two women who have cottage properties on the same road as my family, to a friend - if you're healthy and happen to be a good match.  My friend Karyn had been sick for a long time until this year when another friend Jane donated part of her liver to her.  It's more than six months later and both of them are doing great.  You may remember them from my post back in July, which you can read here.  Karyn posted just today that she played an hour and a half of tennis today, after 4 years of being off the court.  Isn't that awesome?

I don't know if I'm brave enough to offer to be a living donor but I do think about it.  In the meantime, I've registered my choice and I've spoken to my family so they know my wishes.  Now if I could just find that donor card...!

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