Weds., April 23 marks the second anniversary of the signupforlife.ca website. This is the site that was launched for people who want to become organ and tissue donors. It’s an easy way to register your intent online.
Right now the website is sitting at just under 10,000 donors. Considering the population of Manitoba, this not a large number so it is a little disappointing. I’m not really sure why the number is not greater but my goal is to increase the number of registered donors.
I really cannot stress enough the need for organ donors. Organ donation can save people lives and certainly improve the quality of life of others. It affects not only the people who receive organs but all their loved ones as well.
Anyone waiting for an organ lives a very altered life. I know this from experience. My life is very different than it used to be when I still had kidney function and could live without dialysis.
Some people believe dialysis solves the problem — that once you have started your treatments you can go back to living a normal life. This couldn’t be further from the truth — the closest to normal my life will get is if I receive a new kidney.
I can still live a decent life but I do have to deal with dietary restrictions, lots of pills to take daily, doctors appointments and all that time hooked to a machine. I hope for total freedom but I do have some. In fact, I consider myself lucky.
Those waiting for a heart or lungs may not have the freedom I enjoy. They could spend the rest of their days in a hospital bed hoping a donor organ will come their way in time to save their lives.
So many organs are being wasted when they could save so many lives. When asked, a 90% majority of Canadians think becoming an organ donor is an awesome idea (and it is).
Yet studies show that only 25% of Canadians have made plans to donate. So I am encouraging Manitobans to be the leaders and increase the number of organ donors. All you need is a few minutes and a Manitoba health card. Then go to the website signupforlife.ca.
Please don’t wait or just assume your loved ones are aware of your wishes.
Take action. Please become an organ donor today!
Jennifer Laferriere is a community correspondent for Garden City.