NEWS

Organ donation registrations nearly double

But officials urge everyone to Sign Up For Life

Heart transplant recipient Kristin Millar (left) and Health miniister Erin Selby at the Sign Up For Life anniversary event.
Heart transplant recipient Kristin Millar (left) and Health miniister Erin Selby at the Sign Up For Life anniversary event.
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Sign Up For Life

Giving the gift of life

BY SUSIE STRACHAN
Winnipeg Health Region
Published Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The number of Manitobans who have registered to become an organ donor has more than doubled since Sign Up For Life campaign was launched two years ago.

The campaign kicked off in April of 2012, urging Manitobans to commit to donating their organs. By May of that year, about 5,000 people signed up.

Today, 9,751 people committed to donate organs via the campaign's website, but there’s still a need for more to register, said Dr. Faisal Siddiqui, an organ donation physician with Transplant Manitoba’s Gift of Life program, said today.

“When you think about it, more people take in a Jets game on a single night than have signed up to be an organ and tissue donor.”

Health Minister Erin Selby encouraged more people to register during a press conference celebrating the second anniversary of the Sign Up For Life campaign. “We have nearly 10,000 people on that list, including myself, but the need for donors is high,” she said.

An organ recipient and an organ donor were on hand to speak about their experiences. Kristin Millar talked about receiving a heart from a donor, and how she honours that person every day since then. She also spoke about a young Winnipeg woman who died, and how seven people received organs from that tragedy.

“Her friends and family say that knowing other people are healthy today helps them through the grief of losing her,” said Millar. “She has inspired more people to sign up as an organ donor through her story.”

Ian Goodall-George spoke about his decision to become an anonymous donor, allowing a stranger to receive one of his two kidneys last year. “My decision to donate a kidney was simple. What decision could be easier than to do something to help someone else?” he said. “I thought a lot about donating a kidney and have not regretted my decision to do it for a second.”

Goodall-George was part of the Living Kidney Donor Paired Exchange program, where Manitobans can donate a kidney for a loved one. Goodall-George was unusual in that he donated a kidney without a specific recipient in mind. “I woke up after the operation knowing that I made a difference in someone else’s life,” he said, adding that he didn’t even know which of his two kidneys was donated.

Along with the online registry, Manitobans also have the option of signing their Manitoba Health cards.

For more information, and to register, see www.signupforlife.ca.

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