May 20th, 2024

AHS encouraging discussion about organ donation for awareness week

By ANNA SMITH on April 23, 2024.

asmith@medicinehatnews.com

National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week runs from April 21-27, and with this in mind, Alberta Health Services is encouraging families to speak with each other about donation in a new awareness campaign.

The Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Program is now Give Life Alberta, said AHS in a press release, with the intent behind the change a call to action for Albertans. In particular, for residents to register their intent to donate online, and to tell loved ones about their decision.

“The Government of Alberta is proud to support this life-saving program and campaign,” says Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health. “Increasing donation rates will reduce wait times for transplants and allow seriously ill patients to get back to life.”

While registration for donation is still accepted at motor vehicle registry offices, and while signing the back of your Alberta health card is accepted, it is not preferred, as the card can be lost.

“One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and a tissue donor can save or dramatically improve lives for up to 75 people,” said AHS.

While Alberta marked a record year, with 273 organ and tissue donors in 2023, there are almost 300 people waiting for life-saving transplants in the province. Nearly 50 people on the waiting list for donated organs or tissues died last year.

AHS donor co-ordinators are approaching more families than ever since Bill 205 took effect one year ago, said AHS.

“The families that have talked about organ and tissue donation, they are able to know exactly what their loved one’s wishes are and either sign the consent or not,” says donor co-ordinator Carey Beninger. “It makes such a difference in such a stressful time. They don’t want to get it wrong. They want to be sure this is what their loved one would have wanted.”

Further information on donation, as well as the pathways to register a decision to donate, can be found online at GiveLifeAlberta.ca.

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