This Green Shirt Day, Alberta families are sharing their stories of organ donation.
Ever since their son lost his life, Toby and Bernadine Boulet have spent countless hours inspiring others about giving the gift of life.
Logan signed his donor card just weeks before the crash. After hearing the story of the lives saved by Logan’s donations, Canada experienced a massive wave of people signing up to become organ donors. The phenomenon became known as the Logan Boulet effect.
“It’s huge. The effect is massive,” Toby said. “1.2 million Canadians have engaged in the conversation because of the Logan Boulet effect.
“We taught our kids to be givers and not takers and serve in this way. That’s how we live life and that’s what we continue to do.”
The family doesn’t know who has Logan’s organs, but his mom hopes to have the chance one day to meet the recipients.
“My wife would like to put her head on the chest of someone to hear Logan’s heart beat again. Bernie spent a lot of time with her head on Logan’s chest feeling his heart when he was in hospital,” Toby said.
“We miss Logan dearly.”
Deborah Johnson is also intimately aware of the impacts of organ donation, after her son Andrew was diagnosed with kidney disease and required a kidney transplant.
“My son said: ‘When you’re on dialysis you’re not living. It’s just marking time and holding on.’” I’ve seen my son very ill and that was hard, feeling helpless,” Johnson said.
She wasn’t a perfect match to give the gift of life to Andrew, but his older brother, George, was.
“All of my children and my husband were willing to donate if they could. Everybody was tested and it was a successful match with George and not the others because of blood type and other issues,” Johnson said.
The heroic gesture inspired her to be an anonymous kidney donor, having the surgery about a month ago.
“Knowing how my son received a kidney and how it changed his life, I was so happy I could do that for someone else,” Johnson said.
“We can all live with one healthy kidney and I learned of the paired kidney donation and it was wonderful I was so excited about doing this,” Johnson said..”
She said the surgery was seamless and she’s recovering well.
“Andrew is very proud of me, as are all my children. A lot of my friends think, ‘Wow.’ But I tell them, ‘If you were in my shoes, you would do that same for your family,’” Johnson said.
According to the Kidney Foundation, the average time for kidney patients waiting on a transplant list is nearly four years. Hundreds of Albertans are on that list.
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