Incorporate Organ Donation into the Academic Curriculum
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WHAT DOES THIS INVOLVE?
Include organ transplantation into the BC Academic Curriculum so that children and young adults can learn about the benefits of organ donation (transplants) and are further encouraged to engage in conversation in the home.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Currently as of 2016 there were 651 individuals awaiting an organ transplant in British Columbia, but unfortunately a reluctance to talk about transplants is contributing to a deadly shortage of organs available for donation.
Figures have shown that in the same year an average 100 people in BC withdrew as a result of death or being removed from the waitlist.
Canada has a marked shortfall between the supply and demand of the various organs for transplantation. The median wait times for deceased donor kidney transplantation vary from 5.8 years in British Columbia, 4.5 years in Ontario, and to little as 2 years in Quebec, varying based on geographic location and an individuals blood type and compatibility.
A family's support is still needed for donation to go ahead, so even if someone is on a Provincial Organ Donor Register it's vitally important that they discuss this with their family so that their wishes can be carried out.
Providing education in schools will stimulate conversation about transplantation and help reduce concerns felt by children and families.
WHO AM I AND WHY DOES THIS MATTER TO ME?
I can recount the conversations about cancer and heart and stroke related stories from as early as primary school, the remembrance towards the honorary Terry Fox and his impact on not only his community but in giving a voice for those who suffered with various forms of cancer. None the less the 'sensitivity' surrounding organ donation and transplantation still exists.
In 2016 alongside my full-time post-secondary studies I decided I must do something, I worked alongside the Kidney Foundation of Canada: BC & Yukon Branch to develop "The Passing Life Forward" initiative that aimed to raise awareness about both organ donation and kidney disease to high school bodies, I had the privilege of travelling to my hometown of Mission, British Columbia to speak to several classes and I was asked by Girl Guides Western Canada to present at several meetings.
I have spent the past 6 years representing The Kidney Foundation: BC & Yukon Branch as an organ donation and kidney disease awareness advocate. I have met children, teenagers, young adults, parents, grandparents, that have all been affected by kidney disease and sad to say I have met several that have past away while on the organ donor waitlist.
I decided that the initiative I started 2 years ago deserved further recognition, the voices of those and their families whether it be awaiting a heart transplant, kidney transplant, lung transplant, or liver transplant, must be heard and I decided I would take a stand through informed conversation in the British Columbian educational system.
The impact of informed conversation and education can serve to change the conversation among our youth, the coming leaders in our education system, healthcare system, political institutions, and those at the forefront of our communities.
Please help make a difference, change the narrative around organ donation and transplantation, and curb the statistic by raising awareness to the BC Ministry of Education.
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