Education Matters: Celebrating 25 years of organ donation awareness


April 25, 2022 (Ottawa)National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week takes place April 24-30.This year marks the 25th anniversary of NOTDAW, a week dedicated to honouring those who have donated to save others, celebrating those who have received lifesaving transplants, and inspiring others to register their intent to become organ and tissue donors.

Each year in Canada, approximately 250 people die waiting for an organ transplant. Currently, there are more than 4,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Canada’s organ donation and transplantation community is asking all Canadians to register their intent to be an organ donor. Don’t forget to share your decision with your family and friends. Visit organtissuedonation.ca to register where you live.

“For 25 years, National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week has offered the opportunity for the organ and tissue donation and transplant community to collectively channel efforts into raising awareness about the power and beauty of organ donation across the country,” said Roberta Koscielny, Transplant Manitoba and Chair of Canadian Blood Services’ National Public Education and Awareness Committee.

Canada’s organ and tissue donation community is working to increase awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation in Canada. NOTDAW is an opportunity to shine a light on those in need and honour those who generously donated to save lives.

“Every year, by sharing stories of those who have walked the journey and supplying information to help Canadians decide to register as an organ and tissue donor we generate hope for those waiting,” says Roberta. “Our collective aim is to spark important life-saving conversations during what has become a truly inspiring and impactful week dedicated to honouring donors and their families and recognizing the gifts so selflessly given so that others can have a second chance at life”

Education is a key element for improving organ and tissue donation in Canada. The Organs & Tissues for Life Education Portal, recently introduced by Canadian Blood Services in collaboration with Canada's organ and tissue donation community, offers an age-appropriate, easy-to-access and easy-to-use teaching resources for educators to spark interest in, and conversation about, organ and tissue donation and transplantation. 

“Knowledge is key to addressing young people’s concerns about organ and tissue donation. It can help them feel empowered to talk about donation with their families and equip them to make informed choices in the future,” says Peggy John, Associate Director, Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation, Canadian Blood Services.

This month, Canada Post unveiled a special stamp designed to bring awareness to organ and tissue donation. The stamp features an illustration by Christopher DeLorenzo with the text “Give Life”, which captures the essence and spirit of organ donation.

Register your intent to be an organ and tissue donor through your province or territory and have that all-important conversation with your family and learn more about educating others. Visit organtissuedonation.ca to access information about how to register a decision about organ and tissue donation where you live.

About National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week

Bill C-202, enacting National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week in Canada was passed unanimously by the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology on Feb. 4, 1997. The bill was brought forward by former Liberal Member of Parliament Dan McTeague. The last full week of April was chosen to mark the occasion and to commemorate the death of Stuart Herriott, a toddler killed in a motor vehicle incident in McTeague’s riding of Pickering-Scarborough East. Parents of two-and-a-half-year-old Stuart donated his organs and, in turn, helped to save and improve the lives of four others. 

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