Humans are funny creatures. We can know things factually, but it often isn’t until we can put a name and a face to an issue that we truly understand — or care.
Hopefully, knowing about Squamish’s Beth Miller, 53, who is a recent double lung transplant recipient, will encourage locals to think about registering for organ donation.
Miller, who told her story to The Chief this week, is a life-long educator whose positivity is an inspiration to her friends.
Miller can be seen walking Squamish neighbourhoods, gardening, practicing Tai Chi and, hopefully, skiing our local hills this winter, due to the thoughtfulness of a stranger who registered as a donor.
That should hit home for us all. This isn’t something from Grey’s Anatomy or the city. This is something that impacts us right here in town.
The lack of public awareness and conversation about organ donation means that there are also challenges related to consent to organ donation in Canada, according to “Organ Donation in Canada,” the 2018 report to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health.
So here are some things you may not know.
While statistics show about 90% of Canadians believe in organ donation, only 23% have registered their decision, according to Canadian Blood Services.
(In B.C., as of the start of this year, 1,512,000 people had registered their donation decision, according to Transplant B.C.)
Each year, about 250 people in Canada die waiting for an organ.
In 2019, 23 people died waiting for a transplant, according to BC Transplant.
As of September, there were 30 people in B.C. waiting for a lung transplant.
A deceased donor provides, on average, four organs for transplantation.
There are approximately 50 lung transplants performed each year in B.C. — Miller says she was Number 22 for 2020 — and all are done at Vancouver General Hospital.
The first lung transplant in B.C. took place in 1989 (31 years ago).
We encourage every person in Squamish to take two minutes to register their own decision about organ donation. You can do this by visiting: www.transplant.bc.ca.