National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week 2015 - Canada needs more donors: "48 in 48" registration drive planned

OTTAWA, April 20, 2015 /CNW/ - As part of National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (April 19-25th, 2015), Canadian Blood Services, along with several organ donation organizations across the country, is taking part in a 48 hour registration drive between April 20-22. Called "#48in48 for organ donation", the initiative's goal is to collectively register 48,000 new donors in 48 hours.

While the number of donors in many provinces has increased over the past several years, it still does not meet the increasing need. Approximately, one of four patients on the waitlist gets a transplant and an average of 230 Canadians die each year waiting for a lifesaving organ.

According to an Ipsos poll, 91 per cent of Canadians support the idea of organ and tissue donation, but only 44 per cent have made the decision to donate. Among those who have decided, only three quarters say they have signed up on the organ and tissue registry or signed a donor card.

Dr. Dana Devine, Canadian Blood Services Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, urges Canadians to learn about organ and tissue donation and to register their consent to donate. "As the Canadian population ages in the next two decades, transplant demand is projected to increase by more than 150 per cent," says Dr. Devine. '"We want to encourage all those people who say they support donation and transplantation to register with their province and discuss their wishes with their family."

One organ donor can improve or save the life of up to 8 patients. A single tissue donor can help improve or enhance the lives of as many as 75 patients. Canadians can sign up to become organ and tissue donors in their province or territory of residence. Medical staff will discuss with a person's family before a donation takes place; so it is critical that loved ones are aware of a person's wishes.

"Anyone can be a potential donor," says Dr. Devine. "We all have a role to play in increasing the availability of organs for transplant."

People can register to donate in their province or territory by visiting: www.organsandtissues.ca/donate.

About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec. Canadian Blood Services also oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, and provides national leadership for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Canadian Blood Services operates 42 permanent collection sites and more than 20,000 donor clinics annually. The provincial and territorial Ministries of Health provide operational funding to Canadian Blood Services. The federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for regulating the blood system.

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SOURCE Canadian Blood Services

For further information: 1-877-709-7773, media@blood.ca

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