Trillium Gift of Life Network gives thanks

    Reminds Ontarians to sign donor cards and speak to family members as over
    1665 people wait

    TORONTO, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) is giving
thanks to the countless individuals both living and deceased who gave the gift
of life resulting in over 708 organ transplants this year while reminding
families that Thanksgiving is an opportune time to sign their donor cards and
speak to their families about their wishes.
    "Thanksgiving is a good time to think about and show appreciation for all
of the people who have given the gift of life over the past year," said Frank
Markel, President and CEO of TGLN. "Right now in Ontario there are 1665 people
on the organ donation waiting list. Please, as you head home to your family
and friends this weekend, take a moment to discuss your organ donation wishes
with them, your decision and your conversation can save lives."
    Today in Ontario, 1665 patients are on the transplant waiting list. Of
those, 1035 are men, 610 are women and 20 of those patients are children.
    "I needed a new heart to save my life - I was going to die," said 28
year-old Cindy Quinn. "I was one very lucky person on the waiting list and now
my entire life has changed. I'm taking a night class, I'm planning a trip I've
always wanted to take - I'm just so excited - and it's all because someone
gave me very generous gift of life. This Thanksgiving I think it's important
to understand that every person has the power to save lives through organ and
tissue donation. Sign your organ donor card and tell your family what your
wishes are - I'm alive because someone did that for me."
    Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor. The oldest Canadian organ
donor to date was over 90 years of age while the oldest tissue donor was 102.
    "I just had my 15th birthday but this was a special one because I also
want to celebrate my new lungs," said Brandon Gibson a 9th grader from
Toronto. "This weekend with Thanksgiving, we're celebrating again. I'm giving
thanks for my friends, for my sisters, for my mum, for my dad but this year,
my biggest thanks is for someone who made the decision to save my life. I want
to remind people that their actions and their conversations can make a real
difference to someone like me. Sign your card and talk to your family today."
    Organs and tissue that can be donated after death include the heart,
liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, small bowel, stomach, corneas, heart valves,
bone and skin.
    "Everyday I think of my donor family," said 32 year-old heart recipient
Heather Bishop. "They gave me a life I might not have had. I don't think
people always realize that they can make such a huge difference just by
signing a donor card and having a conversation. It's so simple and it saved my
life. This Thanksgiving take the time to think about it. Think of me and have
the conversation. You won't ever regret it."
    Even if you have signed a donor card doctors will still ask your family
before recovering organs or tissue.
    "You can express your wishes to become an organ and tissue donor by
signing a donor card and talking to your loved ones," said Markel. "It's
critical to share your decision with your family, as they will be asked for
final consent to donate your organs after your death. Discuss your intentions
with them this Thanksgiving and give them a copy of your signed donor card so
they can understand, support and respect your wishes in the future." For more
details on Trillium Gift of Life Network please visit our website at or 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. Sign your donor card. Talk to your
family about your wishes.

For further information:

For further information: Kari Cuss, Public Affairs and Communications,
(416) 619-2300 (direct line), (416) 526-0564 (cell)

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