HomeBusinessA new AHS campaign encourages conversations about organ and tissue donation Achi-News

A new AHS campaign encourages conversations about organ and tissue donation Achi-News

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A new AHS campaign encourages conversations about organ and tissue donation

 Achi-News

Achi news desk-

Alberta Health Services hopes you will have the conversation about being an organ and tissue donor.

AHS has launched a new, light-hearted campaign in the hope of normalizing the conversation around donations from people who have died.

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For those who have been through it, like Ed Fisher, it can add comfort and confidence when a loved one passes.

In 2017, Fisher’s son, Bryn Fisher, was killed when he was 17 years old, while driving down a rural road in Parkland County. A herd of horses had escaped from a neighbour’s yard and one jumped in front of his car.

“We walked to the door and found two policemen,” Fisher told Global News, as he reflected on the night it happened. “They told us he had been in an accident, and they told us he had been taken to hospital.”

Bryn had been flown by STARS to the University of Alberta Hospital. When the family arrived, the staff warned that Bryn would be connected to machines.

“The doctors basically told us: ‘He’s not going to make it,'” Fisher said.

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Bryn had suffered serious brain damage.

His family and girlfriend knew exactly what he wanted in that situation because of a conversation they had earlier.

“He signed his universal donor card,” Fisher said. “I remember him showing us that and being quite proud.”


Click to play video: 'National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week'


National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week


But as they said goodbye to their son, he received more devastating news.

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“They actually told us he wasn’t able to donate organs,” Fisher said. “We went home absolutely crushed because at that point we thought, you know, his last wish wasn’t granted.”

Fisher said the family was in a pretty dark place for a while. But then they got a phone call and that changed.

“We had completely forgotten that he was a tissue donor as well,” Fisher said. “A little later, one of the donor co-ordinators contacted us and said: ‘As you know, Bryn’s heart valve has saved the life of a two-day-old boy.’


Click to play video: 'Edmonton-area family shares organ donation story'


Edmonton-area family shares organ donation story


Bryn’s skin was also used to help a 24-year-old burn victim and his bones were also used to help others.

“The difference that makes is … I can’t describe it,” Fisher said. “It’s like there’s nothing and then there’s something.”

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Fisher says that although nothing will give meaning to the loss of his child, knowing that a part of Bryn is still out there is comforting.

“If nothing else, there are some people out there, some families out there, there are some parents out there who haven’t had to go through what we went through.”


Click to play video: 'Edmonton transplant program completes record number of living donor kidney transplants in 2021'


Edmonton transplant program completes record number of living donor kidney transplants in 2021


Those who work for AHS’s GiveLifeAlberta.ca said end-of-life decisions can be very difficult for families, especially when those conversations haven’t happened ahead of time.

“Families go through such an emotional and traumatic time,” said Tara Barkman, donor coordinator with AHS. “It helps them feel much more confident in what their loved ones would want if those discussions had happened beforehand.

“We encourage families who do not make a decision for their loved ones,” he added. “They are a voice for their loved ones when they cannot speak for themselves.”

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One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and a tissue donor can help up to 75 people. Last year, almost 50 people on the waiting list died while waiting for a transplant.

& copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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