Heather Bishop has been living a full life since heart transplant surgery in 2001. She's asking people to sign organ donor cards.
Heather Bishop was near death until she received her life-saving heart transplant.
She is urging people to sign their donor cards during National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week, April 18-25.
“People shouldn't take their organs with them,” Bishop, 34, who received a heart transplant in 2001, said Thursday.
She had a heart condition that prevented oxygen from getting to her brain and was on the transplant waiting list for three months after having the condition for three years.
“My mom had to move in ... to take care of me. I had turned yellow and my liver was failing. I pretty much got the transplant just in time,” she said.
“I was back to work in a year and I’m doing really good,” said Bishop, who takes part in several sports at the World Transplant Games.
In her spare time, Bishop volunteers at Toronto General Hospital.
“I go to see patients waiting for a transplant. They get to see someone who is OK and it gives them hope. In some way I feel as though I’m giving back, but I can never pay back what I got,” Bishop said.
“Even if you’ve already signed your donor card, please also register your decision so that this information is accessible at the time of your death and talk to your family about your decision.”
Today in Ontario, there are 1,600 people waiting for an organ donation.
2009 was a record-breaking year in Ontario, as 218 deceased organ donors saved a total of 691 lives.
“This upward trend in organ and tissue donation has continued in 2010,” Frank Markel, president and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network, said.
“During National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week it is our goal to educate Ontarians about the need for donors and to inspire them to register their consent.”
Trillium Gift of Life Network, The Kidney Foundation of Canada and The Canadian Liver Foundation, working in partnership with local volunteers, are holding a Living Green Ribbon Event in Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square on Wed., April 21 from noon to 1 p.m.
“Torontonians are invited to the square to demonstrate their support for the need for organ and tissue donors, learn more about the donation consent registration process, enjoy some live entertainment and join the volunteers, wearing green ponchos or carrying YES placards, as we come together to form a Living Green Ribbon in the middle of Yonge and Dundas Square,” Carrie Hoto of TGLN said.