Mark Green Shirt Day by talking to your family about organ donation
By: Dr. Graham D. Sher, O.C.
Many of us are of the mind that once we die, that we would be happy to donate our organs and tissues if it meant it could save other people’s lives. It’s a simple concept and one that means one person’s tragic loss can also be another’s miracle. Organ donation can also be a light in the corner of tragedy for a grieving family.
The problem is that people, though they may share this view, don’t often talk about their intentions with their families before they pass away. In fact, 90 per cent of Canadians approve of organ and tissue donation yet very few have shared their views with loved ones. Perhaps it’s uncomfortable, or it just feels strange thing to bring up at Sunday dinner.
Logan Boulet was an exception. His family knew, when he was just 21 years old, what he would have wanted because they’d had that all-important talk. Without question he wanted to become an organ and tissue donor. Logan’s steadfast and open commitment to organ and tissue donation had been inspired by a coach of his, Ric Suggit. Ric had made his wishes very clear as well, and when he passed away in 2017, he was able to save five lives as an organ donor and his corneas restored the sight of two more grateful recipients. Logan honoured Ric when he registered his intent to become an organ donor. Not only did he register as an organ and tissue donor, Logan also made sure his family knew about it, and was comfortable with it.
As you likely well know, Logan, a young hockey player, was a passenger on the Humboldt Broncos bus that was struck by a transport truck in April, 2018. Devastatingly, Logan, along with 15 of his teammates, succumbed to his injuries caused by the crash. Logan and his teammates’ deaths are nothing short of tragic. Hearts broke across Canada when news of this fatal crash was released. There generally can be no silver lining to something like this. But Logan’s family followed through with his wishes and his clearly stated intent and ensured that his organs were donated. As a result of Logan’s commitment and his family’s decision to follow it through, six lives were transformed by this ultimate act of generosity.
What’s more, following the news of the Boulet family’s decision to donate Logan’s organs in the aftermath of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, far more than 100,000 Canadians were inspired by Logan’s lead in the few short weeks that followed. A surge of newly committed organ and tissue donors of this magnitude had never been seen before in this country, and it has now become known as the “Logan Boulet effect.”
April 7 is Green Shirt Day, a day that honours Logan’s legacy and brings hope to the many thousands of patients waiting for an organ transplant.
In partnership with Toby and Bernadine Boulet (Logan’s parents), Canadian Blood Services is proud to support this highly impactful awareness campaign. Now in its fourth year Green Shirt Day is a collaboration between the Boulet family and their partners, which include Canadian Blood Services, the Canadian Transplant Association and the Kidney Foundation. On this day across Canada, the Boulets and their many supporters inspire the nation.
They keep the conversation going and remind us what it takes and what it means to become an organ and tissue donor. They speak about the importance of not only registering as a donor but the importance of letting your family know your intentions too. We are grateful to Logan’s parents, Bernadine and Toby, for their continued commitment to sharing. From their grief and their tragedy, they have fostered and promoted remarkable societal good. The Logan Boulet effect is about as meaningful and material a difference as it is possible for anyone to make.
On April 7, I encourage you to wear green, inspire others, and register your decision about organ and tissue donation, if you haven’t already, and leverage Logan’s legacy to have that vital conversation with your family.