Third annual Green Shirt Day in honour of Humboldt Broncos defenseman Logan Boulet encourages organ donation registration
Sixty-one-year-old Jim Lowes, inspired by Logan, went above and beyond to become a living kidney donor to a stranger in need
March 3, 2021 (Lethbridge, AB) — The third annual Green Shirt Day is one month away. Leading up to Green Shirt Day on April 7, the Canadian Transplant Association, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Canadian Blood Services and Canada’s organ and tissue donation community are asking Canadians to take the time to consider organ and tissue donation, find out how to register in their province or territory, and to have a conversation about it.
“Together Strong” is the 2021 Green Shirt Day slogan. It encourages Canadians to unite online and to bring enthusiasm and green shirts to online platforms. Find out about how you can participate at greenshirtday.ca/be-inspired.
It is estimated that almost 150,000 Canadians registered as organ and tissue donors in the weeks following the Humboldt crash in 2018 that took Logan Boulet’s life and led to him becoming an organ and tissue donor. This became known as the “Logan Boulet Effect”. Since then, Logan’s family and Canadian organ donation organizations have been honouring Logan’s legacy every April 7 by reminding Canadians to register their intent to be organ and tissue donors.
This year, with COVID-19 restrictions in effect to varying degrees across the country, it is key that Canadians get creative about how to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation and encourage even more Canadians to register on Green Shirt Day.
“Though the pandemic may keep us apart, ‘Together Strong’, the 2021 Green Shirt Day campaign slogan, reminds us to unite online to inspire conversations about the powerful impact of organ donation,” says Toby Boulet, Logan’s father.
Green Shirt Day has done more than just inspire Canadians to register. For Burlington, Ontario resident, Jim Lowes, it inspired him to embark on a journey to become a living donor.
“The Humboldt Broncos bus crash took the lives of 16 people nearly three years ago,” Jim Lowes explains. “I remember this tragedy like it was yesterday. So many things stand out in the days that followed, but for me it was Logan Boulet’s story that really moved me to take action.”
When Jim read about Logan and his parents’ decision to donate his organs respecting Logan’s wishes, Jim made sure he too had signed up to donate his organs and tissues. He was so inspired by what Logan had done at such a young age, Jim wondered if he could become a donor even while he was still living. He contacted St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario, about becoming a living kidney donor. After a number of tests, over a period of months, it was determined that Jim was not healthy enough to become a living donor. Determined to find a way, and with the help of his son Koyde, Jim set out to improve his health and soon was able to lose around 40 lbs.
“I went back to St. Joseph's Healthcare and the doctors were very happy with the new results. I am now able to donate one of my kidneys to someone I don’t know. At 61, I’m in the best health of my life. I am just happy that I can help someone in need.”
Jim’s anonymous kidney donation is a special gift. Every patient who receives a transplant from a living donor comes off the waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor. This shortens the waiting time for other patients on the transplant waitlist.
There are 4,400 Canadians waiting for an organ transplant. Not everyone can have a living donor. That’s why it is so important to register a decision to become an organ and tissue donor and to make sure your family knows your wishes.
About the Canadian Transplant Association’s Green Shirt Day
The Canada-wide Green Shirt Day was created to remember the victims and families of the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan in 2018, and to continue Logan Boulet’s legacy by inspiring Canadians to register as organ donors and to talk to their families about their wishes.
On April 7, learning that he would not recover, Bernadine and Toby Boulet offered to donate their son, Logan Boulet’s organs. They did so because Logan had registered as an organ donor and had spoken to his parents about his wishes. His generous final act inspired almost 150,000 donor registrations across Canada shortly thereafter, which became known as the Logan Boulet Effect.