The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) is hosting a registration drive as part of National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week.
Staff, physicians and volunteers have registered their consent as part of TSH’s Gift of 8 campaign. In Ontario, there are nearly 1,500 people waiting for an organ. Every three days, someone dies waiting for an organ.
Scarborough resident Tom Mitrovski is one of the lucky ones. He received a donated kidney back in November 1979 and is still healthy today. He appreciates every extra day he has been able to spend with his family thanks to the selfless decision of another family.
“I am able to see my nine grandchildren,” he says. “I have a different outlook. I have a second chance at life and I appreciate that.”
TSH has created a registration page at beadonor.ca with a goal of registering at least 50 new people. It is also hosting an on‐site registration table April 22‐25.
“One donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of up to 75 others through the gift of tissue. A signed donor card does not mean you are registered; you can register your consent or check your status online or in‐person at a ServiceOntario centre,” says Ronnie Gavsie, President and CEO, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Ontario’s organ and tissue donation and transplant agency.
The booth is being staffed by those touched by organ donation including Tom, and double lung transplant patient Ramesh Nankisoor and his wife Savi.
“Sometimes you can inspire someone,” Tom says. “Especially if people see that I’ve had a kidney for almost 34 years.”
In 2012, 26 Scarborough residents – people just like Tom and Ramesh – received an organ from a donor, but only six people from The Scarborough Hospital were donors. There are 89 people in Scarborough waiting for a transplant while just nine per cent of Scarborough residents have registered their consent compared with 14 per cent across Toronto as a whole and 22 per cent provincially.
Tom and his family also made the decision to give back.
“As a result of my transplant, when my wife passed away, she donated her eyes,” he says.
He hopes others will make the same choice. When asked if he’s registered his consent, he replies without hesitation, “Oh, yes!”