The day encourages people to become organ donors in honour of Humboldt Broncos #27 Logan Boulet. We’re here for it.
Organ donation saves lives. Yet an “opt in” system across Canada and the United States means many people don’t know about organ donation and many viable organs may not see use. We walk through Green Shirt Day and organ donation here.
What is Green Shirt Day?
Green Shirt Day was created in the wake of the devastating Humboldt Broncos bus crash that took place on April 6, 2020, and is in honour both of those involved in the crash and to honour Logan Boulet’s decision to donate his organs upon his death. The day encourages Canadians to become organ donors. The impact of Logan Boulet’s decision–and the resulting discussions about organ donation–is known as the Logan Boulet Effect in Canada.
What organs can be donated?
The organs that are typically used include the heart, lungs, pancreas, liver, kidneys, and small bowel. Additional parts of the body that can be donated include the corneas of the eyes, tissues, and bone.
How many people donate their organs?
In Canada the rate isn’t that high. Only about 20 people per million donate their organs after their death; living donors are a somewhat smaller number yet. These numbers are grim when one looks at the overall need: While there 2782 organ transplants in Canada in 2018, 233 people died waiting for a transplant, and another 4351 people were waiting for organs.
In the United States the numbers are somewhat better: About 60% of Americans are organ donors. But the larger population means more organ transplants occur and the number who don’t receive an organ in time is higher yet. While roughly 40,000 transplants occur annually in the United States there is a staggering 120,000 individuals estimated to be waiting for an organ donation.
How do I help?
When you turn 18 you can choose to register to be an organ donor. Both the United States and Canada require you to “opt in” by notifying your state or provincial authority. In both countries online services exist as well as options as your registry/DMV office.
Otherwise inform your family you’d like to be an organ donor if you die and make your wishes clear.
Will my organs be used? Would it affect my funeral?
Not likely. Estimates vary but less than 2% of deaths occur in such a way as to allow for organ donation. As for funeral appearances, bodies of the deceased can still be displayed in a way that doesn’t show organ donation scarring, and your mourners might not even know you were an organ donor. But they should: It can be something you talk about with loved ones.
In Canada: blood.ca/en/organs-tissues
In the United States: www.organdonor.gov/