Green ribbons and landmarks will pop up across Canada in support of organ donation this week

Green ribbons and green-lit landmarks will be popping up across Canada in support of National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness this week. 

The month of April is recognized as National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness (NOTDA) Month, with the week of April 24-30 bringing about the final push of awareness campaigns championed by The David Foster Foundation. 

With green painting the city, the ribbons and landmarks honour the donors and donor families who gave the gift of life, while also acknowledge the thousands of patients in need of a transplant and those who have died waiting. 

With this final push, The David Foster Foundation looks to remind Canadians to register their intent to donate and to discuss their wishes with family and friends. 

In support of NOTDA Week and Month, we spoke with national organ transplant non-profit The David Foster Foundation’s CEO Michael Ravenhill, and we are rounding up five things everyone should know about organ and tissue donation. 

1: One organ donor can save up to eight lives and improve the quality of life for up to 75 people. 

2: Canada has one of the worst organ and tissue donor rates in the world. 

3: Out of the 4,400 patients on the wait-list, there will be five deaths per week and one death every 30 hours. 

4: It takes two minutes to register to become an organ donor. It takes two minutes to help save a life. 

5: There is a chronic shortage of most organs needed for transplant in Canada. 

By becoming a registered organ donor, you may save a life someday and be a part of a story of survival and perseverance. 

One such story is Nathan Hutchinson from Ontario who received a double-lung transplant.

Nathan and his family. (Photo Courtesy: David Foster Foundation)

“Nathan’s story was truly a unique story as the family had to not only navigate all his health and care needs due to his transplant journey, but manage his needs as the world was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic,”  Ravenhill said. “Can you imagine worrying about your child’s health and then hearing about the global pandemic that was spreading? To have to watch them face so much adversity was a humbling experience.” 

“We looked forward to hearing updates from the family, such as when he was able to go into a store for the first time with his mother and pick out a toy for himself,” he said. “His smile and perseverance is something that truly put into perspective what we at the David Foster Foundation are working towards: helping create more tomorrows for transplant children and their families.”

There are multiple ways for Canadians to show support during National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month. To start, help destigmatize the conversation around organ and tissue donation by registering to become an organ donor and sharing your wishes with your family. Another way is to share your support for the cause by using the hashtag #NOTDAM.