A Special Wish For This Holiday Season

11-year-old urges others to register their consent to donate their organs and tissues and talk to their families

TORONTO, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Sydney Strongman-Borg knows how important organ and tissue donation is; it is her family's wish this holiday that their story will inspire others to register their consent.

In June of 2009, Sydney's father Ron Borg passed away at the age of 43 after a lengthy 15-month wait for a heart transplant. Sydney and her mother Stephanie are working to carry on Ron's dream to increase awareness about organ and tissue donation.

"As partners in the Palais Royale Ballroom, our family helped create and sponsor an event for the Toronto General Hospital," says Stephanie Strongman-Borg. "Sydney has drawn up posters for her school and hospitals to encourage people to think about this important issue. Also, in honour of her father, Sydney contributed artwork to Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) for their holiday e-card."

"There is nothing more extraordinary than giving the gift of life. We all have the power to save lives by consenting to organ and tissue donation. There is no better time to talk about organ and tissue donation than when families are together during the holidays," says Frank Markel, President and CEO of TGLN.

Today, approximately 1700 people in Ontario are waiting for a life-saving transplant.

One organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and enhance as many as 75 others.

Rizwana Ramzanali, a kidney-pancreas recipient, knows the impact one donor can make. She is now free from dialysis and is able to live a normal life.

"I see my donor family as heroes. Their decision to donate the organs of their loved one changed my life, and the life of my family," says Ramzanali. "The holidays are the season for giving, so please consider giving the gift of life."

You can register your consent to donate your organs and tissue by visiting your local Service Ontario Health Card Services - OHIP office or outreach centre where you renew your health card. You can also register by downloading and filling out a Gift of Life Consent Form from www.giftoflife.on.ca and mailing it to the address on the form.

Even if you've already signed your donor card, please also register your decision so that this information is accessible at the time of your death and talk to your family about your decision.

As the Strongman-Borgs note, "The consent of others will mean the world to families like ours and so we wish that everyone, everywhere, considers giving the ultimate gift - the gift of life."

For more details on Trillium Gift of Life Network, please visit our website at www.giftoflife.on.ca. You can also call 416-363-4001 or toll free 1-800-263-2833.

Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario and is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.

SOURCE Trillium Gift of Life Network

For further information: For further information: Carrie Hoto, Trillium Gift of Life Network, (m) (416) 735-0099, (e) choto@giftoflife.on.ca

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