ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION A CATALYST FOR FAITH HARMONY BREAKFAST

Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Lutheran leaders join Trillium Gift of Life Network in urging registration of consent

TORONTO, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - At an interfaith breakfast to mark the United Nation's World Interfaith Harmony Week today, faith leaders, working with Trillium Gift of Life Network, encouraged their respective communities to register their consent to donate organs and tissues. The breakfast also marked the official launch of the newest material prepared by Trillium Gift of Life Network to address myths and misconceptions associated with becoming a registered organ and tissue donor within the Hindu faith community.

Since the 2007 launch of the provincial Organ Donation Strategy, Trillium Gift of Life Network has sought the input of local faith leaders to find ways to reach out and address questions that Ontarians may have about the impact of religious beliefs on their decision to register their consent as organ and tissue donors. Previous work has addressed the needs of those of the Jewish, Catholic and Muslim faiths in the Greater Toronto Area. This past year has seen efforts expand with these groups across the province and to the nearly 220,000 Hindus in the province.

Quotes:

"I hope every police officer who came to pay his or her respect to Sgt. Ryan Russell last week in Toronto will follow his example and do the same meaningful act that he did. Because Sgt. Russell had registered his consent to donate, it made his wife's decision so much simpler since she knew that's what he wanted. He wanted to help others even in death."
Reverend Walter Kelly, Chaplain for the Toronto Police Service

"Hindus live with the fundamental understanding that to give is divine. What better way to give than of your own organs, so another can live. We also know that Lord Krishna says: Compassion to your fellow man is one of greatest ways of Worship, and that's why we must give our organs. This is my humble request to all Hindus.  When leaving this earth, we continue to live, because we have made someone wholesome."
Dr. Budhendranauth Dooby, Vishnu Mandir

"Our challenge, as religious leaders, is not merely to affirm that organ donation is ok, or nice. It is to impress upon our communities that organ donation is a supreme obligation, a fundamental responsibility. In the Jewish tradition, saving lives is the highest fulfillment. Organ donation gives us this great opportunity."
Rabbi Reuven Bulka, Congregation Machzikei Hadas and Board Chair, Trillium Gift of Life Network

"Faith leaders stand together today to support one cause, encouraging more Ontarians to register consent for organ and tissue donation at a time when approximately 1,500 people are waiting for organs and thousands more are waiting for tissue. No one group, no one community is responsible for donation. To make the system work, faith leaders know that it must be a shared endeavour of all and that's why they are here today."
Frank Markel, President and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network

"As we love to receive, we should love to give. As we expect others to do something for us, we should give others what they expect from us. Religion is for life, not against it. Religion cannot and should not contradict common sense. It should not oppose honest and equal opportunity, which is driven by the urge of saving lives every day."
Imam Dr. Hamid Slimi, President, Faith of Life Network

"Of all the commands given to us in Jewish tradition, the obligation to protect and preserve human life is among its greatest. Our efforts to promote organ donation is one of the echoes heard from this ancient commandment; that human life is precious and we are charged to do all in our power to cure those who are ill. The donation of organs, blood and tissues is something each and every person can do to give the "gift of life" to another."
Rabbi Aaron Flanzraich, Beth Sholom Synagogue

"It is important to remember that the Catholic Church views legitimate organ donation as an act of charity, a noble and selfless act that bears witness to our "neighbour," who is any person in society in need of an organ or tissue transplant."
Dr. Moira McQueen, Director, Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute

You can register your consent to donate your organs and tissues by visiting any ServiceOntario centre or by mailing in a Gift of Life Consent Form available at www.giftoflife.on.ca.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Trillium Gift of Life Network

For further information:

Maryse Bélanger, Media Relations Advisor, Trillium Gift of Life Network
416-619-2363 (office)
416-689-7711 (cell)
mbelanger@giftoflife.on.ca


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