OTTAWA - Eugene Melnyk, Owner of the National Hockey League's Ottawa Senators and himself an organ transplant recipient, today launched a major philanthropic initiative called The Organ Project whose mission is to end the waitlist for all transplant patients.
In May 2015, Mr. Melnyk received an anonymous live liver donation that saved his life. From that moment on, he took on the mission of helping all patients who are in desperate need of an organ transplant.
The Organ Project is focused on building greater awareness:
- To educate on the detrimental impact of organ transplant wait lists
- To encourage people to make the choice to donate their organs by registering on their provincial organ donor registry; and
- To ensure registered organ donors share their wishes with their family members and friends.
Through the Foundation's website (www.theorganproject.net) individuals can find links to ensure they are registered on their respective provincial organ donor registry.
"Every three days in Ontario, someone dies waiting. Sadly, this is the unfortunate reality across Canada, the U.S. and around the world. The good news is this is truly a solvable problem because we don't need to find a cure for waiting," said Melnyk. "For many of us, we remember a time when getting in your car did not involve wearing a seatbelt. It took time, a change in laws, and a lot of public education to change our habits. Our goal is to make organ donation as normal and expected as wearing your seatbelt. Both save lives and both are a choice you can make and embrace."
As part of today's launch, The Organ Project is also announcing that its inaugural gala will be held on March 31, 2017 to help kick off April as Organ Donation Awareness Month. The Organ Project Gala will be an exclusive event held at the historic Fairmont Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto and will feature, among other guests, 7-time Grammy winner Carrie Underwood. Sponsorship and ticket details can be found at www.theorganproject.net.
"There are in fact many components that will play a role in ultimately ending the wait list. Bringing the general public on board in a way that encourages active participation and conversations will help solve the problem of "not enough donors".
Moving forward, funds raised in support of The Organ Project will go towards working closely with other stakeholders, organizations and government agencies across North America to help identify possible solutions to other obstacles within the organ donation and transplant system. These funds will be in addition to the personal funds and in-kind contributions valued in excess of $3 million provided by Melnyk and others.
"Ending the wait list isn't like finding a cure to a disease. We all hold the solution to this problem and together we can save lives. This is about awareness and people being aware their decision to donate their organs could one day save up to 8 lives and to enhance 75 more upon their death," added Melnyk.
Visit The Organ Project website: www.theorganproject.net
Follow The Organ Project on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theorganproject
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