Why Registering to Be an Organ and Tissue Donor Matters


June 22, 2019

When a loved one dies, families are faced not only with grief and shock, but with multiple decisions about their family member’s end-of-life care, funeral or celebration-of-life planning and more. It can be an overwhelming time. However, it is also an opportunity to turn a time of sadness into something hopeful. When a registered organ and tissue donor dies, they have the power to save and enhance the lives of many others.

“If I can approach a family and say ‘your loved one was registered to be an organ and tissue donor, I’m here to help you honour that decision,’ I can see relief wash over their faces,” said Kiley Perrier, Organ and Tissue Donation Coordinator for Trillium Gift of Life Network at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. “It feels good to be able to share this one piece of news with them to relieve them from having to make one more decision.”

When families are made aware that their loved one was registered as an organ and tissue donor, they almost always consent to donation. However, if their loved one was not registered, families consent to donation only half of the time.

“Families often have a sense of pride being able to honour their loved one’s final act of generosity,” continues Perrier. “A registered decision leaves no room for ambiguity about what a family member’s wishes were.

Registering to be an organ and tissue donor not only helps to remove the burden of decision-making for families at the time of their loved one’s death, it also provides hope to the more than 1,600 Ontarians currently waiting for a life-saving organ. One organ donor can save up to eight lives and improve another 75 lives through the gift of tissue donation. Register to be an organ and tissue donation at https://beadonor.ca/campaign/tbrhsc today.

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