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Spreading the message for organ donation

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This month, again, I have been busy promoting organ donor awareness. Which means, hopefully, more people are taking notice, going to signupforlife.ca and becoming organ donors.

My family and I spent some time at the Red River Exhibition this year helping promote organ donor awareness. This is the second year we have been there with Transplant Manitoba.

It’s a positive experience especially when people are more than willing to sign up on the website.

I also was able to meet a lady who received a liver transplant a few years back. She’d become very sick from an unknown illness. If it wasn’t for that transplant she would no longer be here. I am happy to report that she is healthy and doing well.

In late June, I was contacted by CBC reporter Chris Glover. He was doing a story on Cayse Ruiter, a man riding his bike from British Columbia to Newfoundland promoting organ donor awareness.

Cayse went through a life-altering experience in December 2012 when he lost a good friend who was waiting for a heart transplant that never came.

It is such a tragedy that people lose their lives waiting for organs. I realize that even though I am waiting for a kidney, I can survive with a machine to keep me alive. It’s not a way I chose to live, but I can survive. But I also know that I do need to receive a kidney soon. Dialysis is only a temporary solution.

Glover came to our home and did an interview with me and my fiancé, Rick. He was interested in speaking to someone on the waiting list for an organ and was also very interested in talking to Rick who is going give a kidney away so I can get one back.

Rick has finished all of his tests. He is perfectly healthy and this October, we will be part of the Paired Exchange Program, a national program whereby people and donors are matched.

Chris asked some good questions and got me emotional. When I saw a picture of Cayse Ruiter’s friend who died waiting for a heart, it was so hard for me to watch.

I hope other people were moved by this story and mine and realize how badly organs are needed.

Please check out Cayse Ruiter’s story and mine by going to @chrisgloverCBC on
Twitter.

Jennifer Laferriere is a community correspondent for Garden City.

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