On Green Shirt Day, families of B.C. organ donors continue their legacy
Lower Mainland resident Rav Mann Johal never thought she would have to speak to her 26-year-old brother about organ donation.
But when Michael Singh Mann was injured in a car accident on his way to Whistler in 2020, Johal had to make the decision to donate her brother’s organs.
“I knew exactly the type of person he was, exactly what he would want,” she told Global News. “It wasn’t a decision that I had to think about twice. It was a hard decision because these are pieces of your loved one that you are now giving to another family. But you know what, I just kept thinking about the recipients.”
Johal says Mann was left with no pulse for 20 minutes following the accident. After his pulse returned, he was taken to the hospital where he stayed for five days, before he was pronounced dead.
“This made no sense to me. Like how did you go from not having a pulse to having a pulse? And that’s where it hit me… knowing the person he was came back to pass life on,” Johal said.
Thursday is Green Shirt Day. Canadians are wearing their green shirts to help raise awareness for organ donation.
Johal believes this should be a topic openly discussed within families.
After her brother’s accident, she began to raise awareness. “You always have a lot of people coming up to you and saying, ‘if there’s anything that we can do let us know’. And the only thing that I ever asked anyone was, please sign up to be an organ donor.”
Mann’s donations saved five lives. Johal is now a volunteer with BC Transplant, working to raise awareness for the cause. She continues to honour her brother’s bravery and legacy.
According to BC Transplant, the number of people registering to be organ donors has dropped over the last couple of years since ICBC and Service BC offices remained closed for the majority of the COVID-19 pandemic.
BC Transplant’s provincial operations director Edward Ferre believes April 7 holds a lot of importance. “It’s a day to raise awareness for organ donation and we encourage all Canadians to register as organ donors to honour Logan Boulet’s legacy,” he said.
Boulet was an ice hockey player who lost his life when his team’s bus crashed in Saskatchewan on April 6, 2018.
Fifteen people including many members of the Humboldt Broncos organization were also killed in the collision.
Defenceman Boulet died in the hospital and made the decision to donate his organs.
He was registered as an organ donor after being inspired by his coach and mentor Ric Suggitt, who passed away on June 27, 2017, and was also an organ donor who saved six lives. Because of Boulet’s decision, he too was able to save six lives.
His selfless act went on to inspire many Canadians to register to be organ donors and continues to raise awareness of the movement.
According to the Canadian Transplant Association, it is estimated that almost 150,000 people registered to become organ donors in the weeks following Boulet’s story. This was the largest number of Canadians registering to become organ donors in Canadian History.
According to BC Transplant, B.C. still sees a stable amount of donors, sitting at more than 1.5 million people registered. While the number of those in B.C. waiting for transplants sits at 577, Ferre says registering takes two minutes.
Minister of Health Adrian Dix said Thursday “on behalf of the provincial government, I thank those who have become organ donors and those whose selfless, generous acts have helped others.”
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.