Ontario organ donor agency sets new 1-day record
Published Monday, May 28, 2012 9:46PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 11, 2012 6:15PM EDT
Call it the "Canada AM effect."
On the day that CTV's flagship morning show held a two-hour special to promote organ donation, Ontario's organ donor agency, the Trillium Gift of Life Network, set a new one-day record for registrations.
In all, 2,318 people logged on to the BeADonor.ca website last Friday to register their consent to donate, said Versha Prakash, Trillium's vice-president of operations. That included 968 new "registrations," 195 "updates" and 1,155 "checks."
New registrations are those people who had never signed up before to become potential donors. Updates are people who changed the type of donation they want to make. And checks are people who logged on to ensure they were donors.
Since January to mid-May, the BeADonor.ca website has seen about 200 new organ donor registrations per day. That's a jump from their previous average of about 50 per day – a boost largely attributed to both new Trillium promotions and the compelling story of double lung recipient and organ donor advocate, Helene Campbell.
Then, on the day the Canada AM "Be A Donor" special aired, the site set a record, beating the record set on Feb 15, when total activity was 2,283.
There are more than 4,000 Canadians waiting for an organ transplant, with the vast majority awaiting a new kidney. But every week, five Canadians die while on wait lists, said Prakash.
"It doesn't have to be this way. We can prevent deaths on the waiting list. The solution is we need more registered donors," she told Canada AM.
One organ donor can save 8 lives and enhance up 75 others. And yet, less than 25 per cent of Ontarians are registered as potential organ and tissue donors.
Everyone can register to be a donor regardless of age or medical condition. If you are over the age of 16 and have a valid Ontario Health Card number, the process to register online takes only a few minutes.
Residents of Manitoba and British Columbia can also register as potential organ donors through online registries. The processes differ in the other provinces, but in general, donors can register when they renew their health cards or drivers' licences.