Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Promoting organ donation awareness

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The week of April 21 to 27 was National Organ Donor and Tissue Donor Awareness Week. Once again I was kept busy promoting the Sign up for Life website, promoting organ donation and telling my story.

I was lucky enough to appear on Global’s morning show. Eva Kovacs did an interview with me about what it’s like waiting for a kidney.

It was a great experience. Me, my fiancé Rick and our daughters Kristie and Karlie showed up at the Global studio for 7 a.m. (an early start). I was so nervous being in front of the camera. But Eva told me to just look at her. It’s stressful knowing that people are going to be seeing me. I wanted to make a good impression, but more importantly, I just wanted to get my story out there and spread the word about the importance of organ donation.

Later that day, I received a call from CBC. They wanted to do a radio interview with me. I was really excited to do this. I had never done a radio interview before.

Having only an hour to prepare, Rick and I headed down to CBC for 4 p.m. that afternoon. They were super nice there. Just like at Global, they made us feel really welcome. After talking with Rick and I, they asked us to both be on the show with Larry Updike.

This was a really cool experience. We wore headphones and spoke into giant microphones. It was just like you would see on a television show. This interview was a lot less stressful. I had Rick beside me and we could be only heard and not seen.

This interview went perfect. Both of us were talking and sharing what life is like for us with me being on dialysis. I got to mention that Rick is going into the paired exchange program for me — giving up one of his kidneys so that, in return, I will get one back. I was able to let everyone know what an amazing person Rick is. I am so fortunate to have someone in my life do this for me. It also informs people that this is a possible solution for someone also in my position.

After our interview at CBC, we headed over to Fox & Fiddle for a Sign up for Life awareness event Transplant Manitoba was putting on. Rick had to go up in front of everyone and do a little speech about why Sign up for Life is so important to us.

CBC also did a television interview with me that aired later that night. It was really great. By this time, I was feeling more comfortable in front of the camera.

So we had a really busy but fun day telling our story and promoting organ donation. Hopefully some of you reading this were able to see the television interviews or hear us on the radio. The Global interview is online at transplantmanitoba.ca. Go take a look.

Also take some time to go to signupforlife.ca. We have been trying to promote this like crazy, but we still need your help.

And so do all the people that are waiting on transplant lists. It’s not just me. You probably even know someone.

Jennifer Laferriere is a community correspondent for Garden City.

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