Canadians are being stingy with their organs. Sign up to be an organ donor during National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week.
It’s National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. While this may seem like a strange topic for a natural health blog, no matter how well we look after ourselves, at some point in our lives, we, or someone we love, may require an organ or tissue transplant.
Recently, organ donation made news headlines when Helene Campbell, a courageous 21-year-old Ottawa woman, inspired Justin Bieber and Ellen Degeneres to raise awareness about organ donation. Helene is one of the lucky patients who has since undergone a double lung transplant.
Many Canadians aren’t so lucky. Canadians, known for our sense of social justice and charitable giving, are being stingy with our organs.
Canadian donor rates
According to a recent report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), in 2010
Most needed organ
The CIHI also reported that in 2010, 229 adults and children died while waiting for organs. The vast majority of patients were waiting for a kidney—3,362 people compared to 501 waiting for a liver, 135 for a heart, 310 for a lung, and 98 for a pancreas.
The number of people diagnosed with kidney failure doubled from 1991 to 2010, with more than 1 in 3 also suffering from diabetes.
What organs and tissues can be donated?
The heart, liver, lungs, pancreas, kidneys, heart valves, cornea, tissues, bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments can all be donated.
Living donor program
Living donors can donate a kidney or a portion of their liver to a family member, friend, or coworker, or even a stranger.
Sign up, save lives
We don’t have a central donor registry in Canada, but you can sign up online to be an organ donor in a matter of minutes at any one of the provincial donor registries. Be sure to discuss your wish to be an organ donor with your family.
Fewer than one percent of all deaths can result in solid organ transplantation. With odds that low, the more potential donors there are, the better.