Some stellar hockey to accompany Green Shirt Day this February
The death of a loved one can be a very traumatic event, but it may also bear a silver lining in that their loss can help save other’s lives through organ donations. To help raise awareness for organ donations, the Taber Golden Suns will be taking part in the Green Shirt Day at the Rink event.
One of the organizers behind the event is Jan Clemis, an ambassador for Green Shirt Day who provided a quick rundown of what will be happening at the event.
“Here in Taber on Saturday, Feb. 25, we will be hosting another Green Shirt Day at the Rink event,” said Clemis. “We held one last year, which was very successful so we are repeating that again this year. The Golden Suns U13 team will play at 3 p.m. and the U18 will play at 8 p.m. At both games Bernadine and Toby Boulet will be coming from Lethbridge to do a ceremonial puck drop, and I have invited all 12 families in the Taber/ Vauxhall area whose lives have been touched personally by organ donation and organ transplant to come to the rink.”
Clemis expanded on how the 12 families will be participating in the event.
“(They will) help us do an awareness table and talking to people about the importance of organ donation — how it impacted our life positively — those of us that are recipients, and those families that have graciously donated the organs of their loved ones. We call those angel donors families. Those families are able to find a lot of solace in knowing that even though they’ve lost their own loved one, that like the Boulet family, they were able to save many lives in their own tragic loss. That brings hope to them that others live because of the gift of life from their own loved one. That is what’s happening on the Feb. 25."
Additionally, Clemis also discussed a sister event that will be happening earlier in the month in Lethbridge.
“We are also doing a game in Lethbridge with our Golden Suns U15 team against the Lethbridge Hurricane AA team. That game will take place at the Logan Boulet Arena — that’s where Logan played his hockey growing up — and there’s huge connections between the Boulet family, the coaches, the players, and the families there in Lethbridge. We will have a Green Shirt Day..., so that’s Feb. 12 in Lethbridge at the Logan Boulet arena, and that game is at 4:30 p.m.”
With the general explanation of the events completed Clemis then proceeded to discuss the main goal of Green Shirt Day at the Rink.
“The main goal is awareness, to talk to people about our stories, and to encourage people to become organ donors themselves,” said Clemis. “When the tragedy occurred in April 2018 and as a result of the media attention that was brought when Logan saved the lives of six people there were over 150,000 people across Canada that registered their wishes to become organ donors, and follow in Logan’s footsteps, so to speak. That created the Logan Boulet Effect, and so every Green Shirt Day, and every time we have an awareness event like this with Green Shirt Day at the rink, our goal is to create that awareness, and create that desire for those people who haven’t yet registered to become an organ donor to make that decision and talk to their family about it. I know that there are three phrases used on all of the shirts that you see for Green Shirt Day, and all the posters and all of the information. They say: register, tell your family, and be inspired.”
From here Clemis provided a greater explanation of what these three phrases mean.
“That’s the goal here when we have our events at the rink. We want people to register their decision to become an organ donor, and do that willingly. Know that it can potentially save many, many lives — up to eight lives with solid organ transplant — and with your tissues you can save and improve another 75 lives. Your tissues would be your vessels, your skin, bones, and those kinds of donations. Then the second is to tell your family. It’s very, very important to have those family conversations, and not just go to the registry office when we renew our driver’s license and just put that heart on our driver’s license. You have to tell your next of kin and you have to tell your family, because in the event of your passing it’s your family that make that final decision because you are unable to speak for yourself. It’s very, very important your family knows your wishes, and then the least step, of course, to be inspired.”
Clemis then took a moment to give a more in-depth breakdown of what it means to be inspired by going back to the incident that created Green Shirt Day.
“Logan was inspired by his trainer from Lethbridge that passed away very suddenly, and (that) inspired Logan to become an organ donor, because his trainer also donated his organs, and he saved six lives,” said Clemis. “When Logan passed away in 2018, he saved and improved six lives. He was able to donate his heart, his lungs, his liver, his kidneys, and his corneas. There were other people in the crash that may have wished to become organ donors, but only Logan died in a special circumstance that was needed in order for him to become an organ donor. We want people to be inspired to share their story with others, and again those families that show up to the rink to tell their personal stories of the positive impacts of their donation, that speaks volumes. In many ways organ donation may be generational because I know several families who donated organs to young children, and they have gone on to have a full and happy life. Then they’ll have children and they’ll have children.”
Finally, Clemis provided some statistics of how many people are actually organ donators in Canada.
“When we call organ donation the gift of life, we are very sincere about that,” said Clemis. “It’s not just kind of a catchphrase it’s very, very meaningful to all of us that are impacted by this cause. Although 90 per cent of Canadians support organ donation only 32 per cent are registered to be organ donors. We still have a long way to go, and we have a lot more conversations that we need to have.”
For more information about this event or Green Shirt Day in general, you can visit their website at Greenshirtday.ca
Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times