The chance to save lives is simple--become an organ donor. The chance that someone from a particular ethnic group will receive an organ, like Canada's aboriginal and South Asian populations, is a little more complicated. We're a diverse country, but does our donor pool match that diversity? In Ontario's predominantly caucasian communities, up to 50 per cent of residents are registered. But in more diverse areas like the GTA, the registration rate is around 14 per cent.
Rehtaeh Parsons will live on in the lives of others thanks to the organ donations made after her death. I received a letter from an organ recipient. This unnamed person found out this year they needed a new heart. Their family and friends were scared because they almost died. Then the words hit me, the recipient is "only 17 years old." Rehtaeh's age.
When my dad passed away it was by far the worst day of my life. All the anti-rejection drugs that were keeping his heart pumping were slowly deteriorating his other organs. We knew this day would eventually come, but none of us really wanted to accept it. Really, how can anyone be prepared to lose their parent?
The reality of our parent's mortality was something we couldn't (as much as we wanted to) avoid any longer. We just wanted to find something -- anything -- that could, at the very least, buy him a few more years. We all had a collective awakening. What seemed so important before became just so laughably trivial.