Girl's gift brings attention to organ donation
Published Tuesday, May 8, 2012 6:19AM MDT
While police say there won't be any answers into the death of a toddler at a southeast Calgary dayhome for months, advocates for organ donation say her tragedy highlights the importance of becoming a donor.
EMS was called to attend a 21-month-old girl who was unconscious and not breathing at the dayhome.
They suspect she may have fallen down some stairs.
Two days after the incident, Mackenzy Woolfsmith's parents made the decision to take her off life support.
They also made the decision to donate her organs so that her life could save other lives.
Kevin Bassett knows all too well the great value of organ donation.
He developed kidney disease seven years ago and two years ago, he received a kidney and pancreas from someone who died.
He says he can never thank that donor's family enough.
"I'd love for them to know how appreciative I am of it and how good I'm taking care of myself and all that kind of stuff to just demonstrate my appreciation. My life was saved because of that person."
Organ donation has been getting plenty of attention recently, with 21-year-old Helene Campbell of Ottawa recovering from a double lung transplant.
Her case was publicized by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and pop star Justin Bieber.
More recently, Facebook has just launched an organ donor registration option.
Advocates say this gets people talking and thinking about the issue.
"We know that from survey to survey, over 90 percent of people are willing to donate their organs," Joyce Van Duerzen of the Kidney Foundation says. "But fewer than half of them actually told their family that those are their wishes."
The communication with family members is key because they make the ultimate decision.
There are roughly 500 Albertans currently waiting on lists for organ transplants.
There is no official organ donor registry in Alberta, but you can make your wishes known by signing the back of your health card.