| May 03, 2007

Feature Article - May 3, 2007

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Feature Article - May 3, 2007

Your gift is Life:National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week

by DawnGillam

Last week was National Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness Week. Are you aware of this and its significance? Probably not, as we often tend to bypass it as just another week; but I'm hoping that you will stop and say, “What can I do to help?

There is a huge shortage of donors whether it be through live donation or by cadaver. I realize that this is a huge decision and an emotional one; but when you see the end results, it is well worth the time to think about it. Your Gift is Life!


On April 16, I was participant to a "Live Kidney Donor Recognition & Education Night", hosted by St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. At my table, there were four couples – a mother (donor) & daughter; husband & wife (donor); father & daughter (donor), cousin & cousin (donor) - all with remarkable stories. Twelve years ago, the mother had donated a kidney to her daughter, who had fallen into a coma after giving birth prematurely at six months gestation to a son who weighed less than two pounds. Her kidneys had failed and she was in a coma for three months and then was on dialysis for another year before the transplant took place. Today, she has overcome all obstacles and her son is a lively, active teenager. The mother is looking forward to retirement! All sorts of stories were being shared with hugs, tears and smiles. To the donor(s) whose kidney did not take, our heart goes out to you. It's a rare occurrence but unfortunately it does happen and is devastating. We applaud you for your strength and courage.

St. Michael's Hospital is proud to be North America's leaders in kidney transplants, with over 500 live kidney transplants successfully accomplished since it was first performed in 1973. The team of experts, led by Dr. Jeffery Zaltzman, is dedicated to discovering new treatments, conducting groundbreaking research, and employing the latest surgical techniques. These efforts have direct impact not only on their patients, but also patients across the country and internationally.

Debra Kine, the Chaplain & Spiritual Director was one of the guest speakers and her speech echoes our thoughts. She said, “..This gift is not a gift you can buy or wrap in a box. It is the gift of love… The donors talk about their love for the other and how they could not bear to watch them suffer any longer, so they choose to give of themselves. Most of the donors tell me they make the decision and never look back or have feelings of doubt…. May we all be as loving and giving.”

Your consent can make a difference! Thank you.

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