The challenge is on for organ, tissue donors
RUNNING FOR LIFE..
Brian Moore, a Grade 9 student at Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School, leads the high school’s track students at the beginning of the Torch of Life run through Bracebridge. The torch is visiting schools throughout Ontario to raise awareness for organ and tissue donors.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
April 25, 2012
BRACEBRIDGE - Bracebridge has taken the challenge to have the most organ and tissue donors per capita than any other community in Ontario.
A couple of months ago, North Bay’s mayor said his city is going to register more organ and tissue donors per capita than any other community in Ontario. So far 30 mayors have accepted the challenge.
Track students from Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School cheered on as Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith took the pledge at the outset of the Torch of Life Run at Kelvin Grove Park in Bracebridge.
“We’re certainly willing to accept the challenge,” said Smith. “We want to be part of the solution.”
The Torch of Life is visiting schools on its way through Ontario to raise awareness for organ and tissue donors. It started in Kenora on March 2 and will finish in Toronto on June 19.
One donor can save up to eight lives.
One of the donor recipients is Carrissa Winger, a Huntsville resident. Winger was born sick and has had two liver transplants at ages 12 and 23. She is now 30 and has three children.
“I wouldn’t be here,” she said. “I wouldn’t be alive, I wouldn’t have kids.”
She turned away with tears in her eyes as she watched the track students arrive at the high school with the torch.
This is the first year BMLSS is involved.
Christine Mortimer, a physical education teacher at the school, said the high school got involved to get the kids thinking about being an organ donor.
“We’re hoping they’ll go home and talk about the issue with their parents,” she said. “A lot of times people want to donate organs and they think they’re registered, but they’re not.”
To become a donor, people must now sign up online. You need to have a health card and be at least 16 years old.
Glen Orchard Public School was also part of the relay.
Shelly Brandon-Yungblut, one of the teachers at the school, said she took some time to teach her class about what it means to be an organ donor. She said her students were very intrigued.
“We’re focusing on informed choice,” she said.
Learning about it now gives them time to do some thinking before they turn 16, she added.
The torch is going through Parry Sound today (Wednesday).
Bracebridge is in 23rd place in the province with 38 per cent of its residents as organ and tissue donors; that’s higher than the provincial average by 17 per cent. North Bay is currently in sixth place in the province with 47 per cent of its residents as donors. Huntsville is in 28th place with 37 per cent and Gravenhurst is in 42nd place with 33 per cent.
To register to become an organ donor, go to www.beadonor.ca.
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