Local volunteers with the B.C. Transplant Society are hitting the streets to encourage more people to become organ donors.
Erika Kanczula, a Sidney resident and volunteer with B.C. Transplant said there are roughly 10 people on the Saanich Peninsula waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
“As of June, only 38 per cent of the residents on the Saanich Peninsula were registered as donors,” Kanczula said, adding that there are 473 critically ill people in the province waiting for a vital organ.
“In the case of someone waiting for a double lung transplant, it was a 10-month wait time in 2011, and a person only goes on the list when they are in a very ill state. We need to get that waiting time down,” she said.
Kanczula said that many people are touched by organ transplant, even locally.
“There are 13 people in Sidney that have had a transplant and 14 in North Saanich. At some point in their lives, most people will be touched by the need for someone they know to have a transplant,” she said.
To that end, Kanczula and a team of volunteers are hitting the streets in Sidney to rally more people to sign up and become organ donors.
The group will have their B.C. Transplant booth set up at Beacon Park this Sunday, Aug. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. during Sidney Summer Sounds as well as at the Sidney Street Market on Thursday, Aug 28 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“In this current time we are always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. What could be a better way to make an everlasting statement than by passing on your healthy parts to another human being. As we say, live life and pass it on.”
For more information or to register visit transplant.bc.ca.
Things to know about becoming an organ donor:
Each human being has the opportunity to help up to 75 different people and save or extend the lives of as many as seven people with organ donations. In British Columbia, in order to do this people must register for organ and other types of donation at transplant.bc.ca.
Kanczula said the importance of discussing organ donation with family members cannot be overlooked.
“You are better to have this discussion before you are in a situation that you cannot answer for yourself,” Kanczula said.
“It may be uncomfortable, but if you want your wishes known, your family needs to know. For parents, remember to register your children up to the age of 18. You hope your child is never in this situation but you are better to have this discussion with your partner in advance.”
Kanczula continued to say that there there is no age limit for organ donations and people can register even if they have an illness or disease.
“The assessment for organ donation will happen only when you are in a situation where you will not survive,” she explained.