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Chatham-Kent Health Alliance and Community Partners Recognize National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week

CHATHAM-KENT: April 21, 2015 -- National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (Apr. 19-25) is recognized every year to remind Canadians of this critical need. Despite significant progress province-wide, there are still more than 1,500 Ontarians on the waiting list for a life saving organ transplant. One organ donor can save up to eight lives and enhance 75 others through the gift of tissue. While 85% of Ontarians support organ donation, only 26% are registered. 

To raise awareness and increase donor registration within Chatham-Kent, community partners teamed up and launched the Chatham-Kent...Give the Gift of Life organ and tissue registration campaign in December 2012. The goal of 250 new registered donors was surpassed within three weeks. The community's ongoing support has brought the campaign tally to over 1,000. Today, a new campaign goal of 1,500 registered donors was announced.

"The Chatham-Kent...Give the Gift of Life campaign has received tremendous support since its launch," said Constable Renee Cowell, Chatham-Kent Police Service. "But the request for donors is not over; more than 1,500 people in the province are still on the waiting list for an organ transplant. We can demonstrate our community's continued commitment by reaching our new campaign goal of 1,500 registered donors."

The campaign is supported by a number of community partners in addition to CKHA, including: Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Chatham-Kent Police Services, Chatham-Kent Fire Services, Medavie EMS Ontario, Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit, Erie St. Clair LHIN, Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres, Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre and the Canadian Mental Health Association - Lambton-Kent.

Since joining the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) as a designated hospital, CKHA's role in organ and tissue donation has broadened. As a partner in the Routine Notification program, CKHA is required to report every impending patient death and every death that meets established referral indicators to TGLN within an hour of the death. If a person is eligible to donate, specially-trained TGLN staff work closely with healthcare professionals to approach and support the grieving family through the decision to donate and ensure as many people as possible are helped through the gift of organ and tissue donation.

The program expanded hospital-wide to include all CKHA units in March 2014, in an effort to increase referrals of potential organ and tissue donors. Since expansion, 34 people have received the gift of sight through corneal transplant and three additional multi-tissue donors have improved the lives of many more through their gift.

"The dedication our staff members have shown to the Routine Notification program by identifying and referring potential donors has been exceptional," said President and Chief Executive Officer, Colin Patey. "Within our first year, we achieved 100 per cent monthly compliance twice across the Alliance."

Making the decision to become a registered donor can help save and improve lives. Registration only takes two minutes and requires an Ontario Health Card. If you want to be sure that your donation decision is registered, visit BeADonor.ca or register in person at a ServiceOntario centre.

Visit www.beadonor.ca/ckha to register to be an organ and tissue donor today and support the Chatham-Kent...Give the Gift of Life campaign. To view the campaign's new awareness video, visit https://youtu.be/SkhLVR0fiwQ.

For more information on donation, visit www.giftoflife.on.ca

For more information on Routine Notification, email hospitalsupport [at] giftoflife [dot] on [dot] ca

Media Contact:

Const. Renee Cowell
Public Information Officer
Chatham-Kent Police Service
519-380-6591

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