Jaime and her family have been living life with a renewed sense of purpose since her transplant three years ago. Along with doctors, other recipients, donors and loved ones of those who passed away waiting on a donation, she recounted her personal experience at a press conference June 25 at Health Sciences North.
The conference was held to spread awareness of the Walk for a Second Chance on July 27, organized by the Irish Heritage Club of Sudbury.
Event spokesperson Gerry Lougheed Jr. has joined the fight this year, announcing the annual walk will be a joint celebration of sorts for his 60th birthday.
"It's time to start the talk about organ donation," Lougheed said.
He is trying to encourage people to take part in the walk and sign up as a donor — with the goal of signing up 600 new donors at the event.
According to the Trillium Foundation, one donor can save up to eight lives, as well as enhance the lives of up to 75 others through tissue donation.
Speakers like Stephen Davidson, who tragically lost his fiancée, Nicole Belair, in an apartment fire on Rita Street in May, explained his solace in knowing that lives were saved as a result of Belair's generosity.
And while organ donation is not your average dinner table conversation, all speakers stressed the importance of starting the discussion with loved ones. Even though 90 per cent of Ontarians believe the value of organ donation, fewer than 25 per cent are registered, or registered properly.
And signing up to be a donor is simple:
• You can register to donate online at BeADonor.ca;
• You can register in person at a ServiceOntario centre; or
• You can visit BeADonor.ca to download, complete and mail a Gift of Life.
As Lougheed put it, “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”
The walk takes place at Bell Park on July 27. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. with the walk to follow at 1 p.m.
The event requires no monetary pledges, just attendance and an increase in awareness.