Med student biking across Canada to raise organ and tissue donation awareness

Jocelyn Turner
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21-year-old Quinn Thomas, a medical student from Montreal, left Tofino British Colombia June 25 to begin his bike trip across Canada to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation awareness. Thomas left the Amherst area on Thursday to continue his trip into Newfoundland. Photo Submitted.

Amherst Daily News

AMHERST – Last year, over 200 patients died while awaiting an organ transplant. A medical student from Montreal is looking to lower those numbers.

21 year-old Quinn Thomas is currently biking his way across Canada to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.

“As a medical student, I’ve had very privileged access into the intimacy of patient’s lives during their moments of most vulnerability and grief,” he said. “I was biking with someone and I thought biking across Canada wasn’t doable. Somehow we figured out that it was. Then I thought that if I could raise awareness by doing this then that could be a contribution to the medical world and I wouldn’t need a medical degree to do it.”

Thomas started his journey from Tofino British Colombia, the western tip of Vancouver Island, on June 25. He left Amherst on Thursday to continue his trip to Newfoundland.

Thomas said the hard facts about organ and tissue donation made him realize just how important it was for people to see the benefits of becoming a donor.

“It touches all fields of medicine, and we all have more chances of needing an organ transplant than we do of becoming potential donors,” he said. “What I think it’s a little bit disturbing is that 98 per cent of Canadians would receive an organ should they need it to survive, but only 14 per cent of Canadians are registered donors.”

Thomas’ trip had two goals: to raise awareness of the need for organ donations and have more people register, as well as have people understand the importance of sharing their organ donation wishes to their loved ones.

“You don’t want anyone to be surprised should the opportunity for you to donate an organ show up. Also, I tell people, you wouldn’t want to leave your family the extra burden of making that decision in a moment of grief.”

To become an organ donor, visit www.legacyoflife.ns.ca to fill out the organ and tissue donation forms. The website also has information about organ and tissue donations as well as contact information for anyone with questions.

jturner@amerstdaily.com

Organizations: Daily News

Geographic location: Canada, Amherst, Montreal Vancouver Island Newfoundland

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