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Organ donors surge after Broncos bus crash

A local father has found some light in the darkness brought on by the Humboldt Broncos fatal bus crash. 21 year old Logan Boulet of Lethbridge had signed his organ donor card just a few weeks before he was in the April 6th crash, which his family says helped save six lives.

Since the news broke, the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry received more than 7,600 new registrations in just three days, when the average is 1,080. Dean Radbourne of Grande Prairie has been an advocate for organ and tissue donation since his daughter had a heart transplant as an infant and is amazed by the response.

“This is certainly an incredible story of people realizing the decision that that young man’s family made and the impact that it had in choosing to honour him and the situation and do a good thing all at once by also signing up to be an organ donor.”

Blood donations have also spiked. Canadian Blood Services says donors have increased by about 25 per cent above average in some western Canada cities, and even more in some Saskatchewan ones. Radbourne believes the 16 deaths from the bus crash has hit home for people across the country.

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“People feel they have a much closer connection, whether it’s, ‘I’ve travelled on a bus,’ or, ‘I put my kids on a bus every weekend for lacrosse,’ or, ‘there’s a kid in my daughter’s class who had a heart transplant.’ We’re just so much more encouraged to act.”

April 22nd to 29th is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week, during which time Canadians are encouraged to talk to their family about their wishes. Radbourne says that while it may be uncomfortable, it’s important to have the conversation.

“It’s very rarely something that is really planned,” he explains. “Someone asks you that question and you have to have the wherewithal to recognize that they really wanted this. People really need to have that understanding from you that it’s important to you.”

Only 8 per cent of Albertans are registered as organ donors, but Radbourne expects that to increase with this recent wave. You can register your intent to become a donor online through the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry.

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