Ontario’s new online organ donor registry is live!

In 2005, I wrote a post about organ donation, and I wrote one in 2006, and in 2007, too. (You’ll see why organ donation is dear to my heart later in this post.) Yesterday, I heard that Ontario has finally set up an online organ donation registry: beadonor.ca

According to Ontario’s health minister, more than 1,500 people are currently on waiting lists for such transplants. More than 80 per cent of Canadians say they would like to donate their organs, but less than 20 per cent of those eligible have registered to do so.

Did you know that a single organ donor can save up to eight lives?

Here’s the story of one life that was saved through organ donation: my father’s. This is the first blog post I wrote about organ donation, back in 2005:

In late October of 2001, I was just about five months pregnant with our first son. I had been over at the grocery store buying Halloween candy for us — er, I mean, the neighbourhood kids. When I came in the door, before I could even get my coat off, Beloved approached me with tears in his eyes. “Your mom called,” he said, and the world stopped turning for the briefest instant. Thankfully, it was not what I was expecting, what I had been gradually bracing myself for through the long and awful course of my father’s illness.

“They got the call. Your dad is getting his liver transplant.”

My dad got Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion in the early 1980s. We didn’t find out he was sick until much later. Aside from becoming increasingly weak and frail, one of the most disturbing and debilitating results of my dad’s cirrhosis was how it affected his cognitive processes. The gist of it is that the liver filters toxins like ammonia out of your blood, and when it isn’t working properly, the toxins can build up, leading to serious cognitive impairment. It really messes with your memory, your moods, and your mental stamina, among other things. In a lot of ways, it is similar to Alzheimer’s disease. It made me so very sad to see him struggling, because my father is one of the smartest people I know, and I aspired as a child to be as funny, as charming and as quick of wit as him.

We have been blessed. After the transplant, it wasn’t long before I had my ‘old’ dad back. Every time I see him interact with Tristan and Simon (ed: and now Lucas!), my heart soars. Simon especially has a thing for his “Papa Lou” and even as I type this, I am grinning as I imagine how his face lights up when my dad catches his eye.

I don’t have the words to express how the pain of some family’s loss can be so intimately bound to our family’s joy. I wish I could let them know what a difference their donation has made in our lives.

Within about 18 months of receiving his transplant, my parents moved across the province to live in the same city as us. Some days, when my dad is out and about, he calls me and offers me a ride home from work. They live just a few blocks from us, and when I was home on maternity leave, he would sometimes wander over in midafternoon while taking the dog for an extended walk.

It’s these tiny moments that are the gift we’ve received from an organ donation. How do you say thank you for the joy of a happy life with someone you love? How do you thank someone for the look in a baby’s eyes as his face lights up with excited recognition?

If it weren’t for an organ donor, this would never have happened:

157:365 Happy Birthday Papa Lou!

What are you waiting for? With one click, you could save eight lives. It may be the most important thing you do today. beadonor.ca

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

8 thoughts on “Ontario’s new online organ donor registry is live!”

  1. I had no idea we had to register even though I’d filled out my card. It’s done and I’ve sent the link to my husband as well as shared the link on FB.


  2. Thanks for making it so easy. Both of us have registered and I will inform my community about how easy it is. Hopefully there will be dozens that register.

  3. I wasn’t reading your blog in 2005 when you wrote that post, Dani…

    Did you know my dad had a liver transplant too? (does that kind of freak you out??) It was in 1999. They’d originally mis-diagnosed him several times (cirrhosis was one of the options), but it turned out he had a protein deficiency that cause his blood to clot too easily. His liver was full of tiny clots that basically backed the whole thing up and killed it.

    Anyways, yet another thing we have in common I guess…

  4. Excellent post! I’ve been an organ donor since we lost my brother to suicide over 30 years ago. He was 18 but hadn’t signed his organ donor card and when my Father went to identify his body, the Dr’s asked if he would consider donating some of my brother’s organs. My Father said yes. After we buried my brother, my parents received a letter telling them that three young boys were recipients of different organs. My Father’s decision to donate and the knowledge that others were helped, made my brother’s sudden passing a little easier to bear, for all of our family.

    I’m very happy that your family has been blessed with the gift of organ donation.

  5. Oh! You guys have made me cry! Amy, I had no idea. Is your dad well now? He must be over the moon today, with a new granddaughter in the family!

    Coco and Shauna, thanks for spreading the message!

    Paula, I’m so sorry to hear about your brother, and all choked up about the beautiful gift your family was able to bestow on three separate families. So sad, but so generous as well.

  6. I am proud to be a donor.

    If it wasn’t for a donor my mom wouldn’t have newish eye parts. She had to have cornea transplants in both eyes.

    Everyone in my family with the exception of my son are donors.

    The way I see it, why not let someone else use something you can’t when you aren’t around to use it anymore. Although, most of the people in my family die from cancer (I am so scared) or heredity diseases (scared of this too) that they don’t normally use our organs. That is why, I have stated in my will, as well as my living will, that I want my organs to go to research purposes, if they can’t be used to help someone else.

    As a side, donating blood to me is equally important, although I don’t do it often because I have a heredity blood disease (Factor Five Leiden)that CAN NOT be transferred to others but when I am on my medication I can’t donate. I am bad for that, I should be taking my medication all year but I do three months on, three months off. My doc dislikes it but it seems to work better for me than all year round. I know that it might seem strange but it works for me.

  7. Such an important post Dani! I registered and shared it in facebook. Hopefully everyone will sign up. My father passed when I was 24 while he was on the wait list for a new heart. I often wonder what life would be like for us is he had gotten one.

  8. I’m mom to Ryley who is featured on the beadonor.ca site. I have to say I love how you put it “I don’t have the words to express how the pain of some family’s loss can be so intimately bound to our family’s joy” How I have felt that as the years have passed. I can never thank the donor family enough. So glad to hear your father is doing well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *