“When I got my transplant, the one thing I knew is I could never repay my donor as they were deceased. So basically I took a pay it forward attitude and started volunteering with the CTA.”
Seven years later Tim Johnson is the regional coordinator with the Lloydminster chapter of the Canadian Transplant Association.
Turning the lights green or getting the green shirt for Thursday are just a couple ways that organizers say the community can raise awareness about organ donations.
Since 2018 following the Humboldt bus crash, the Logan Boulet effect has seen about a 30 per cent increase in donors in Canada and on the fourth anniversary of April 7th now called Green Shirt Day, Johnson is stressing the importance of making your intentions known.
“This was a conversation that Logan had with his parents. Because he had the conversation with his parents, they knew what his wishes were. And that really is another big point in what Green Shirt Day means. To bring that awareness of not only getting registered, but also to have that conversation with your family and make sure that they know your wishes. They have the final decision after you pass, so when you can’t speak, they will speak for you.”
Johnson is paying it forward through his volunteerism with the CTA.
“By donating your organs you can actually save the lives of up to 8 people. I am a transplant recipient. In 2014, I received a kidney and a pancreas. So one, it ended me being a diabetic for 27 years and secondly, the kidney that was donated got me off of dialysis and got me back into being a normal working person.”
He adds by donating your organs people are helping someone get back to living and being productive rather than being in the medical system.
“I was on dialysis for four and a half years. For the last 18 months, it was so bad that I couldn’t work and had to go on long term disability. At that point that I got my transplant, I stopped drawing from the system and started paying back into the system.”
He says that people can indicate their intention to donate their organs when they are renewing their driver’s license or filing their income tax.
On Thursday the Lloydminster Museum and Archives will have the lights on the northeast of its facility switched to green in honour of Green Shirt Day.
The Canadian Transplant Association notes that over 4,100 Canadians are on the waiting list and each year about 250 people die while waiting for a lifesaving transplant.