Campaign provides organ donor awareness

BC Service centres are now providing information and helping people register

Jerry Brown of Abbotsford had a kidney transplant 17 years ago and encourages people to register as potential donors.

Jerry Brown of Abbotsford had a kidney transplant 17 years ago and encourages people to register as potential donors.

At age 72, some might assume Abbotsford resident Jerry Brown is embracing retirement – however, they’d be wrong.

Rather than hitting the golf links, Brown is happily immersed in his busy financial career while also spending quality time with his wife, children and grandchildren, all thanks to the kidney transplant he received 17 years ago.

“Based on the condition I was in going into surgery, I only had three or four months left to live. The organ transplant gave me a second shot at life,” Brown said. “It allowed me the opportunity to be with my family for many more years. I’m blessed, without question.”

A passionate advocate for organ donation through BC Transplant, Brown was surprised when he was asked to speak with customer service representatives at the Service BC centre in Chilliwack.

He hadn’t realized that Service BC and BC Transplant are partners in a unique awareness campaign designed to provide Service BC clients with information on organ donation and encourage them to register their decision to become an organ donor on-site or online.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the Service BC office. However, I went away so impressed by the enthusiasm of this group and their commitment to the partnership with BC Transplant,” Brown said. “The Chilliwack Service BC office is doing an incredible job of sharing information and encouraging people to register their decision.”

During the meeting, Brown shared his personal experiences as a transplant recipient with Chilliwack Service BC staff. Customer service representatives Braden Adams and Tara Green were both deeply moved by Brown’s story.

“It was really eye-opening to meet someone who, prior to receiving a kidney transplant, was basically on his death bed,” Adams said. “Hearing about Jerry’s experience first-hand and realizing how grim it must be for people who are waiting for that phone call for a donor organ that might never come was really powerful.”

Service BC staff were struck by Brown’s assertion that one organ donor can potentially save up to eight lives.

“His visit was very motivating. It empowered us to realize we are making a difference with individuals in our community,” Green said. “Prior to meeting Jerry, asking someone to fill out a BC Transplant form didn’t have as much of an impact as it does now. Jerry’s story put a face on the program and gave us something important and personal to reflect on.”

Both Adams and Green are even more mindful of how many B.C. residents wrongly believe they are organ donors, based on their decision to donate many years ago.

“Many of the people we speak with have an old sticker on their Care Card or their driver’s licence that they think makes them an organ donor. We are there to tell them that that is no longer the case. They must re-register with BC Transplant,” Green said.

All 62 Service BC centres can now provide information on organ donation and help residents register. Registration can also be done at transplant.bc.ca/