first_imgOrgan and tissue donation is one of the greatest gifts you can give. This message came across loud and clear at the Transplant Atlantic 2007 conference I attended last week in Halifax. Organ and tissue donation and transplantation is critical to the health and well being of many Atlantic Canadians. Like more than 50 per cent of Nova Scotians (484,991), I have registered with MSI as a donor. These numbers are encouraging and I believe there is more we can do. To help with this, last fall we created a new provincial program — the Legacy of Life: Nova Scotia Organ and Tissue Program. The program aims to make sure all Nova Scotians will know about organ and tissue donation and will choose to donate. Thanks to a dedicated team of professionals, families and clinicians we have been able to accomplish a lot. Last year, many Nova Scotians received the gift of life with 146 transplants being performed. Hundreds of Nova Scotians also have improved quality of life thanks to 1,500 donations to the Regional Tissue Bank, with 549 of those passed on to Nova Scotians. We want every Nova Scotian to know about organ and tissue donation and hope they will choose to donate. Organ and tissue donation can create some good from a tragic situation. This can be a very difficult time for families, so it is important that you talk with your family and make your wishes to become a donor known. Ensuring that Nova Scotians have access to every potential organ and tissue donation will help save or enhance many lives. Although the new provincial program is in its infancy, so far part-time organ and tissue-resource nurses have been hired in all health districts, a review of organ and tissue legislation is underway, and communications and professional education working groups have been established. In the year ahead, we are going to continue our efforts to get the message out there about the importance of organ and tissue donation. To become an organ and tissue donor in Nova Scotia you sign up through your health card. If you haven’t signed up already, I hope you will make the choice to mark your health card to say you’ll be a donor. To the thousand of Nova Scotians who are donors, thank you. -30-last_img

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