2013-04-10 “Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week”

National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week runs from April 21 – 28, 2013. Did you know that one organ and tissue donor can save up to 8 lives and enhance as many as 75 more? Organs that can be donated include your heart, lungs, liver, pancreas/islets, kidneys and small bowel. Tissues that can be donated include your bones and tendons, eyes and corneas, heart for valve recovery and skin. There’s a cool video at www.recycleme.org that shows what can be donated.
Every year more than 2,000 people in Ontario have their lives enhanced or saved through transplantation of donated tissue. Despite all of these successful donations however, there is not nearly enough tissue donated to help all of the people who need it. Almost anyone of any age can be a tissue donor. An estimated 75 – 80% of people who die in hospitals are medically suitable for donating tissue. People sometimes say to themselves “Who would want my skin; I’m too old” or “I wear thick glasses – my eyes can’t be any good to anybody”. But the fact is that the oldest Canadian tissue donor was 102 and being near-sighted has no bearing on whether corneas and eye tissue might be of benefit.
Registering for organ and tissue donation is important. You may have signed a donor card, but you still need to register. A donor card is only good if you have shared your decision with your family and friends and might otherwise be missed until it’s too late. But by registering your consent, your information is stored in a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care database and made available for the purpose of ensuring your decision to donate is known and respected. You can register online at www.beadonor.ca or in person at any ServiceOntario Centre. You have to be at least 16 years old, you will have to provide your date of birth and give your health card number and version code (if applicable). The cost is free and you will receive a confirmation letter if you complete a new registration, update your registration information or withdraw your consent.