April 21, 2015
Story and Photo by Sharman Hnatiuk
Alberta Health Services and Alberta Blue Cross teamed up on April 20 to host a one-day organ and tissue donor registry drive in Edmonton to kick off National Organ Tissue Donor Awareness Week, April 19 to 25.
AHS President and CEO Vickie Kaminski and Alberta Blue Cross CEO Ray Pisani were among more than 100 individuals who registered their intent to donate organs and tissues at the event, held at the Alberta Blue Cross offices in Edmonton.
“We’re pleased to work with Alberta Blue Cross to raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation, and to increase the number of Albertans who wish to add their names to the organ and tissue donation registry,” says Kaminski.
“It’s easy to do, and it feels good knowing this one simple act could someday save a life, and improve the quality of life, for many people.”
More than 2,000 other Albertans registered their intent to donate in the 24-hour period through online registrations and at registry offices throughout the province.
Sylvia Flannigan says she’s pleased to see Albertans adding their name to the registry.
Her son, Lee Flannigan-McMaster, died six years ago at age 17 and his tissues were donated. Sylvia takes comfort knowing her son’s gift continues to help others.
“I have been advocating for tissue awareness since he passed away,” says Sylvia.
“I didn't know about tissue donation but, when the donor co-ordinator made the call, it was an instant yes. Knowing what a giving and loving kid our son was, it was an easy decision to make. He has helped 19 people and I am so proud of him. We are so happy we made the decision to donate his tissue. I hope more Albertans take the time.”
Each April, National Organ Tissue Donor Awareness Week gives individuals an opportunity to recognize the selfless gifts of life given by organ and tissue donors and families. There are currently more than 500 Albertans waiting for organ donations, and just one organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives — and make life better for up to 80 people.
More than 200 Albertans in the Edmonton area died while awaiting transplants over the past five years.
The province established an organ and tissue donation registry last year.
Visit myhealth.alberta.ca to register your intent to donate, or for more information on organ and tissue donation in Alberta.