Efforts to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation are making an extraordinary difference to Saskatchewan patients and families.
Saskatchewan’s organ donation rate has almost doubled since 2016-17, going from 14 deceased organ donations per year to 25 deceased organ donations in 2020-21. The province’s organ donation rate has risen for three consecutive years and is now comparable to the Canadian average.
Health Minister Paul Merriman says a positive trend is underway in Saskatchewan with the steady increase in organ donation rates during the past year. This is especially significant as rates in most jurisdictions in Canada have decreased as a result of the pandemic.
“This is a hopeful sign for individuals and families awaiting a transplant,” Merriman said. “A lot of hard work has gone into raising awareness of the need for organ donation, and it is encouraging to see that translate into more donations. Saskatchewan’s organ and tissue donor registry – which now has more than 13,000 people signed up – is a key part of maintaining this momentum. I urge everyone to consider registering and expressing their willingness to donate, and possibly one day save a life.”
People are encouraged to register on Saskatchewan’s organ and tissue donor registry at www.givelifesask.ca. Anyone 16 years of age and over can register to be an organ donor. With a clear understanding of a loved one’s wishes, it is easier for families facing tragedy to make the decision to donate if approached by a Donor Coordinator. One organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can help 75 people.
April is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month. Saskatchewan is recognizing the month by launching a new segment in a public awareness campaign that features Monica Goulet, a Métis woman from Saskatchewan who received a donated kidney from her nephew in Lac La Ronge, Jim Searson.
“Until two years ago, I was just one of many waiting for the gift of life,” Goulet said. “Sadly, far too many lose their lives before they can receive their match. Maybe you too, can save a life by donating.”
People across Canada are marking April 7 as Green Shirt Day to honour the legacy of Logan Boulet. The Humboldt Broncos player inspired almost 150,000 Canadians to become registered organ donors after a fatal bus crash in 2018.
Landmarks and buildings across Canada will also feature green lighting during April. In Saskatchewan, buildings including the T.C. Douglas building plan to Light It Green on April 7, in tandem with Green Shirt Day. It is a reminder of those who have died awaiting a transplant, and a way to express gratitude to organ and tissue donors and their families for giving the greatest gift of all.
For more information on organ and tissue donation in Saskatchewan, or to register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.givelifesask.ca.