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Gift of Life Walk needs your presence

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when only a handful of people show up to support a charity event as noble as the one that promotes organ transplants.

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when only a handful of people show up to support a charity event as noble as the one that promotes organ transplants. Last year, the annual Give the Gift of Life Walk went down with just five people on the trail.

For Angie Ewanchuk, the organizer with the local branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, it doesn’t really come as a surprise. She stated that Canada is ranked in the bottom half of countries in the western world where transplants are performed.

“It’s so sad. One [deceased person] can save or improve the lives of up to 80 people.”

She said that anything from major internal organs like livers and hearts to external parts like corneas and skin could be donated. Even tendons can be used on ailing recipients.

“The list just goes on and on. It’s just amazing what they can do. The really sad part about it all is that only about 14 per cent donate their organs.”

She added it is a very sensitive topic but, as important as it is to sign your donor card on the back of your Alberta Health Care card, you also have to talk to your family about your wishes. If the family declines a doctor’s request to remove organs, even with a signed card, the organs don’t get removed.

“Signing the card is not enough. You need to let your family know your wishes.”

About 4,000 Canadians are currently waiting for a transplant, the vast majority in line for a new kidney. This is an organ that can be donated one at a time, thus saving the recipient and keeping the donor alive at the same time. Every year, about 250 people on the list don’t survive the wait.

“We’re just trying to get people to recycle some of their organs.”

The goal for this year’s walk in St. Albert is $20,000. Luckily, Ewanchuk said that there has already been more interest in the fun run this year. All proceeds go to the foundation’s efforts to provide care and fund research into chronic kidney disease that affects almost two million Canadians. It provides services including peer support, education, and help in emergencies.


Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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