April 7, 2019, is Green Shirt Day in Wood Buffalo.
It’s a day to raise awareness for organ donor registry and recipients.
It’s more than a date on a calendar for the FMPSD Vice-principal of Dr Clark school, Angela Woods.
Angela is married to her devoted husband, Jamie, a proud mother of two, ages five and two, and an organ donor recipient.
“When I was 13 years old, I ended up with a virus called strep throat. It instantly attacked my kidneys, and I had to be put on dialysis.”
She developed what’s called rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis: A rare condition that attacks and shuts down the kidneys.
Angela would spend the next three years on dialysis until she received her first kidney.
Complications arose during the next 17 years until help arrived from her extended family.
“My brother-in-law was tested and he was a match for me, so he donated his kidney to me in 2011. It’s definitely improved my health, I’m not on dialysis anymore, I was able to have two beautiful children. All because of organ donation.”
Also, ‘Mrs Woods’ serves as the liaison for Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit students so First Nations kids have equitable opportunities to succeed in the classroom.
While organ donation isn’t a cure-all, she continues to advocate for organ donor awareness.
The Logan Boulet Effect
Awareness for organ donation wasn’t as commonplace during Angela’s time waiting for a kidney.
It wasn’t until the passing of 21-year-old Logan Boulet and 15 others in the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy last April that people became more aware of the need.
“He signed his organ donor card, had that conversation with his family members just to reiterate the importance of organ donation to them.”
Boulet’s sacrifice in the early hours of April 7, 2018, led to six people receiving his organs and a longer lease on life.
News of his donation encouraged 100,000 to become organ donors and led to the dedication of Green Shirt Day across Canada.
It wasn’t long before people began reaching out to Angela for answers.
“I’m very vocal about my transplant. I’m definitely an advocate for organ donor awareness.” Angela Woods says. “I have had people reach out to me to say ‘What can I do? Where can I go? How do I sign my donor card?’ And it’s very easy.”
Before deciding to become an organ donor, she suggests speaking with your family and friends first about your decision.
Your decision could inspire others to sign their cards and save lives as well.
“This whole Logan Boulet effect has really trailblazed for a lot of people with those ideas and not able to get it out there. I just really appreciate the opportunity to share the word of the importance of organ donation and signing your card.”
Expect Angela, along with students and staff at nearby Dr Clark school to wear green shirts on April 7, 2019.
Facts and figures
- Living organ donations are comparatively better suited for transplant patients.
- Organ donation registrants can remain anonymous.
- Anyone can become an organ donor, regardless of age.
- Babies, children, and seniors are more often in need of organ transplants.
- Those under the age of 21 who wish to register must have parental consent.