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Press Release: OCTOBER 17th IS WORLD ORGAN DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION DAY

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Health

Raising Awareness For Tissue and Organ Donation

"Donors Sign But Organs Don't Always Make It To Recipients"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WireService.ca Press Release (10/12/2016) MONTREAL, QC - On the 11th anniversary of the World Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation, October 17, 2016, stories of those on the transplant wait list are front and center as people now remain on the list because many surviving families do not follow through with their loved ones' wishes for organ donations.

Advances in medical science have increased the number of transplants performed. Despite this, organs from deceased donors are rare and there are still not enough to meet the needs of all who await a transplant. Donations from hundreds of registered donors have been blocked over the years, as relatives do not go through with transplants because they find the decision too difficult. Family refusals mean those in need, either wait longer for a transplant, or die, while on the list.

A single donor can provide organs for eight people and tissues for 15 more.

Linda Paradis, 58, of Montreal, Quebec is one of those on the emergency wait list. The once vibrant business executive, chartered professional accountant, personal athlete, helicopter pilot and non-smoker was officiallydiagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) June 2016. Now, on oxygen 24/7, every breath is a struggle as she waits for a donor. The mother of three was an avid health and fitness enthusiast cycling, jogging, power walking, golfing, enjoying Crossfit and spinning until earlier this year.

IPF is a lung disease that scars the lungs for an unknown reason and over time, the scarring gets worse, making it harder and harder to breathe as the lungs can't take in enough oxygen. The possible causes of pulmonary fibrosis can include: environmental toxins, medications, chronic inflammation and infections. Treatments are limited as the disease progressively worsens. Outlook is poor as the survival life expectancy for most is less than five years.

To help others, Paradis is now going public with her story to bring awareness to the reality of what often happens even though a person signs to be a donor. In a desperate plea to save lives, she is calling on all to be aware of how organs do not always get to needy recipients.

"October 2014 was the first sign that something serious was happening with my lungs as I was short of breath while exercising. Medication was given and I was able to continue to do sports vigorously until February 2016, but then my decline was rapid. This past June, I was put on oxygen 24 hours a day. Today, I can barely walk as my lungs are deteriorating quickly. Doctors tell me that if I don't get donor lungs soon, I may not have even six months to live. It's unbelievable how fast this disease can take hold of you as I watch my abilities diminish and now breathing is all my focus. I lived an extremely healthy lifestyle, to stay healthy, but sadly, this could happen to anyone. The reality is that non-smokers who are in excellent shape and active, doing everything right, can get this too" says Paradis as she grasps for breath.

Paradis is asking everyone to talk to their family and share their wishes as soon as possible.

"People don't realize that signing the card is not enough. You must have an open conversation with your family members, beforehand, to stress that you want your organs donated to ensure the donation is actually made. The conversation will better prepare your family to agree to organ donation upon your passing.

There is no greater miracle than giving birth. There is no greater gift then receiving a second chance of life when an organ is given from a pure stranger. Without an organ donation, death is my destiny as well as for many others, young and old.

On the other side, if things go wrong with my transplant, I will become myself an organ donor and my family is fully aware of my motivation to give " says Paradis.

Dr Jean-François Lizé, Medical Director-Organ Donation for Transplant Quebec, says although someone wants to donate, family members are not always aware.

"If your family is aware of your intentions, they can act on your behalf. Unfortunately too often families may oppose organ donation because they are unaware of their loved one's wishes."

"Transplant specialists only intervene once all efforts to save a patient's life have failed, death has been pronounced, and the consent for organ and tissue donation has been confirmed'' says Lizé.

Linda knows what it is like to wait for a lung, and is suffering because we are losing too many organ donation opportunities.

"We need to find ways to facilitate organ donations and make it a natural human reflex so that the decision is known in advance, easing the emotion when loved ones are grieving the most. Opportunities could include a public online registry linked to every medicare card issued , consenting to organ donation pre surgery when signing the risk of surgery form. Other ways need to be explored." says Linda.

A person's age does not affect the ability to donate. Organs that can be transplanted are lungs, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys and intestines. Bone, skin, heart valves, tendons and corneas are the main types of tissues used for grafts but many are just not making it into needy patient.

To set up interviews with Dr Jean-François Lizé, Medical Director-Organ Donation Transplant Quebec, or Linda Paradis please contact Katherine Aziz @ KathyAziz@sympatico.ca or Ann Shatilla @ AnnShatilla@gmail.com

For more information on transplants: http://signezdon.gouv.qc.ca/index.php?accueil-sansjs-en

 


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