Organ donor signups have surged in several provinces in response to Logan Boulet, the Humboldt Broncos player who donated his organs to six patients following the tragic bus collision that killed him and 14 others in Saskatchewan.
Boulet was fatally injured, but remained on life support after the crash, until doctors from the University of Alberta could be flown in to harvest his organs. His godfather, Neil Langevin, said Boulet had signed his donor card shortly after turning 21 in March.
That decision was inspired by his beloved coach, Ric Suggit, who died in 2017. Boulet’s father, Toby Boulet, clearly remembers the day his son told him that he wanted to be an organ donor, just like Suggit.
“I’m thinking, that’s nice, by the time you’re a donor, they’ll never want your stuff, but that’s good, because he’s going to outlive me,” Toby Boulet told CTV Lethbridge. “That didn’t happen.”
Boulet remembered his son as a team player who strived to “be a giver, not a taker.” He was also a focused athlete who won his team’s physical fitness award the last two years in a row.
“He would have won -- and that’s our personal opinion -- this year,” Boulet said.
Even as his son was on life support in hospital, doctors remarked on the strength of his heart, Boulet said.
“They said he had the strongest heart that they had seen that anyone could ever remember. His heart was so strong, he was so fit,” Boulet said.
One woman hailed Boulet as a “hero” on social media, saying that her aunt will get a second chance at life thanks to his kidney.
His last gift appears to have struck a chord with many across Canada, prompting renewed conversations about organ donation online.
A spokesperson for Manitoba’s organ donation agency said there has been a “remarkable” jump in signups since the Friday crash, with more than 300 people registering as organ donors. That’s up from just 51 signups over the previous weekend.
Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network says it saw 182 new signups on Sunday, tripling the number recorded over the previous two weeks. That number jumped to 412 on Monday and a whopping 865 on Tuesday. The daily average is only 42 signups, according to the organization.
B.C.’s organ donation agency said signups increased six fold over that same period.
Ronnie Gavsie, president and CEO of the Trillium Gift of Life Network, called Boulet “an example to all Canadians.”
“This beautiful young man taught the world the right thing to do,” she said. “[It] is really breathtaking.”
She told CTV News on Monday that there are no restrictions to signing up as an organ donor.
“The only thing that gets in the way is procrastination,” she said.
Gavsie was out with other volunteers at a Toronto subway station on Monday, raising awareness about BeADonor Month in Ontario. One of the passersby who stopped to talk to volunteers said her daughter in Edmonton had just received a double lung transplant over the weekend.
“I want everyone out there to put their name on the donor list because you can save so many people’s lives if you just do that,” an emotional Susan Procack told CTV Toronto.
“And I thank the family that helped my daughter.”
Ken Douglas, a recipient of a double lung transplant, told CTV Ottawa that his life was saved three years ago by a stranger who chose to donate their organs.
“The biggest hero in my life is somebody I’ve never met and nor will I ever meet,” he said. “That’s someone who chose to make that decision.”
With files from The Canadian Press, CTV Toronto, CTV Winnipeg and CTV Ottawa