Over 50 per cent of Nova Scotians are donors
AMHERST – Before you leave this world, think about what you could leave behind.
© Christopher Gooding photo
Legacy of Life, the province’s organ donation program, is celebrating 10-years of encouraging people to become donors and locally at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre (from left) Peggy Murray, Susan Boiduk, Mary Hamilton and Bill St. Peter were handing out information and cake to mark the occasion.
Entering its tenth year, Legacy of Life – the province’s promotion for becoming an organ donor – is celebrating with a week dedicated to organ donation awareness at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre and later, on Saturday, at the Superstore in Amherst.
Susan Boiduk, a registered nurse, says the last ten-years has been filled with local success stories.
“People in the community are very familiar with us from promoting organ donation,” Boiduk said. “We’ve been through success and hurdles.”
Provincial legislation, Boiduk, is now more in line with the need for organ donation and empowering loved ones to make decisions. The Human Gift Act now recognizes common law unions and same-sex partners as next of kin, who can help in making the decision of what to do following the passing of a loved one. And donations are now up over 50 per cent in the province, even though changes were made to remove organ donation directions from driver licenses in the province to solely on provincial health cards.
A single donor can give life-saving organs such as kidneys, heart, liver or lungs to as many as eight recipients. As many as 40 people can receive donor tissue like bone and skin to renew their lives.
Mary Hamilton only needed one organ to allow her to be here today to be interviewed.
“I was very lucky. On the first of August I was told I was on the list, but I wouldn’t survive until Christmas,” Hamilton said. “By the end of September I received my liver transplant.”
That was eight years ago and Hamilton now has a ten-year anniversary of her own to look forward to.
Liver transplants in particular have made leaps and bounds in success stories and development, Boiduk said. A piece of liver containing a lobe, instead of the whole liver, can be transplanted and grow to accommodate a body in need.
“It’s very common with children needing liver transplants.”
The key to creating these success stories is having donors and Hamilton makes the message pretty simple for everyone.
“If you have some good organs, leave them with us,” she said.
According to Legacy of Life, becoming a donor takes two steps. The first, register as an organ and tissue donor through your health card by requesting a donation form by calling 1-800-563-8880. The second step, talk with your family and friends and make sure they know your wishes.
Online, you can learn more about Legacy of Life by visiting www.legacyoflife.ns.ca.