Claremont students just might save your life, and you might not even know it.
Last week, the David Foster Foundation announced Operation Registration, a pilot project in partnership with the secondary school to raise awareness of the importance of organ donor registration among youth. Students at Claremont Secondary attended a detailed presentation about organ donation and how donating your heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, lungs and small intestines when you die can tremendously impact the lives of others.
“Organ donation is something that happens after you die, and that’s a really difficult thing to talk about,” said Claremont teacher Lia Michalski. “It’s kind of morbid, but that decision to sign a registration form could potentially save eight people’s lives.
“For me, that’s just kind of a no-brainer. When I’m gone, I would love to help somebody else live.”
The DFF financially supports the non-medical expenses of families whose children are undergoing major organ transplants, and works to raise awareness of organ donation and registration in Canada.
According to the foundation, 85 per cent of Canadians say they agree with registering as an organ donor, but fewer than 20 per cent do. Additionally, in 2012, 4,500 Canadians were waiting for life-saving organ transplants, but only 2,124 patients received transplants in that time, with 256 patients passing away while waiting for an organ.
“You’re far more likely to actually need an organ in your life than you are to become a donor,” said Michalski. “We need to change those numbers.”
Roberto Fedrigo and Luca Hoffecker, both Grade 12 students at Claremont, are members of Operation Registration and were among the presenters at the assembly. Fedrigo and Hoffecker talked about how they met with two families who had gone through at least one organ transplant each, and how hearing their stories first-hand affected them.
“Not only was this experience incredibly eye-opening for us, but it also gave us a new emotional perspective to organ donation,” said Hoffecker.
“What really made a big impression on us is how, even years after their organ transplant, they’re still working with the David Foster Foundation because they feel so strongly about the work the foundation does, and also the importance of organ transplants,” said Fedrigo.
While David Foster could not attend the presentation, he prepared a video for the Claremont students encouraging them to register as organ donors.
“Every one of us is going to die of something – it might be cancer, it might be heart disease, or maybe organ failure,” he said. “Of those three things, there is one that we can eliminate right now with your help.”
For more information about organ donor registration or Operation Registration, visit transplant.bc.ca or davidfosterfoundation.com.