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Family of young heart transplant recipient urges organ donation

When Adelaide Radbourne was born in May 2009, her family soon learned that she had an oversized heart and needed a transplant. After months on the transplant list with an artificial heart, Adelaide got the surgery she needed, and her father Dean says they’re now advocates for organ donation in Grande Prairie.

“This is something that people haven’t thought about very often. In Canada, especially right now because we don’t have any good national legislation about it, or a good national governing body, if you don’t tell your friends and family your wishes to be an organ donor, it won’t happen.”

An organ donor can save up to eight lives and help as many as 75 more, but most Canadians haven’t thought about it. That’s what Radbourne is hoping to get across to anyone who isn’t already signed up.

“We think about Adelaide’s donor family lots, and how lucky we are that they chose to give life on what would have been a very difficult day for them. We’re blessed and lucky and I hope that they feel a little bit of consolation that they were able to save so many lives with their very selfless decision.”

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This week is National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week. According to Alberta Health Services, there are more than 4,500 Canadians on the waiting list, including more than 500 Albertans.

An Organ and Tissue Donation Registry was established in 2014, but Radbourne says people can also indicate to their family that they’d like to be a donor.

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