Whenever you see ribbons tied on trees and lamp posts, there is usually a reason. Different colors of ribbons are often used to show support or create awareness for a cause.
Two weeks ago, a flag bearing the words “Be a Donor” was raised in Cambridge City Hall. Green ribbons were also found around the city to create awareness on the importance of organ donation. If people will sign up for organ donation, the waiting lists in Ontario will be significantly shorter.
Don Stewart remembers that he was 16 when he got his driver’s license. On the same day, he also signed up for organ transplant because it made no sense to him to take his organs to the grave. Don Stewart is prepared to represent Life Donation Awareness Association at the information kiosk located at Grand River Hospital’s Freeport site. Stewart always had the green card on his pocket but he threw away the tattered memento because all that it is needed to become a donor is to signup online at beadonor.ca.
Organs are no good to you when you die. Stewart’s group’s local chapter has about 50 volunteers who plan to raise the flag for organ donation considering that April is organ donation month in the province.
The funny thing is Stewart has never experienced a transplant and he is not associated with anyone who has had an organ transplant. He was not encouraged to volunteer by someone close to him who is suffering the frustrating waiting time. According to Stewart, 86% of Ontarians are agreeable to organ transplant but only 26% have signed up for registration. His wish of for more Ontario residents is to register and give their consent for organ and tissue donation without the need of being personally touched by the need for transplant.
In Waterloo Region, registration was as high as 34% but Stewart wants it to be higher at about 56%. On Monday the “Be a Donor” flag will fly at King and Benton streets in Kitchener. Green ribbons will also be used to raise awareness because more than 50 people are still waiting for a transplant that will save their life.