Brampton - When Josie St. Hilaire's daughter Emily was just four years
old, doctors told the family Emily was sick and would need a liver transplant
to survive. The Caledon mother got tested immediately, found she was a match
and underwent the surgery to donate part of her liver to her daughter.
"Our experience has made me think about all the
families who haven't had a second chance with their loved one," says
Josie. "I know that when I'm gone, donating is the least I can do and it
will mean the world to those directly affected."
Today both Emily and Josie are doing well. Josie has become
a passionate advocate, founding the Peel Region Gift of Life Association, an
advocate group encouraging Peel residents to register to become organ and tissue
With 1,500 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant
in Ontario and approximately 170 waiting in Peel, Regional Council has endorsed
a campaign to urge residents to register for organ donation.
"We want everyone in Peel to live the highest quality
of life possible and that cannot happen without community support," says
Region of Peel Chair Emil Kolb. "Registering as an organ donor is easy to
do and it may be the greatest gift you ever give."
The campaign will run from Feb. 24 – Mar. 7, 2014. Regional
staff, residents and local businesses can check if they are registered and
register through beadonor.ca/peelregion. Even if you have signed a donor card
in the past, you still need to register; it is the only secure and guaranteed
way to make your decision known. It takes two minutes, you have to be over 16
and have a health card.
Ontario's registration rate average is 24 per cent; just 14
per cent of people in Brampton have registered their consent to organ and
tissue donation while 15 per cent of Mississauga residents have consented. The
rate is a little higher in Caledon at 27 per cent.
Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of
the Government of Ontario responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and
supporting organ and tissue donation for transplantation across Ontario and
improving the system so that more lives can be saved. For more information