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A Ride To Save Lives

Anthony Bumbaco for local2 sault ste. marie
August 12th, 2012 at 8:38am

Quinn Thomas Rides through the Sault for Organ Donor Awareness

be a donor 2While 85% of Canadian’s support organ and tissue donations, only 14% are actually registered organ donors. Quinn Thomas, a 21-year old believes this gap is way to large and has taken it upon himself to make a different. The medical student at Laval University is riding across Canada in an effort to increase awareness for Organ donation and stopped in Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday afternoon.

He began his journey on Vancouver Island and will hopefully complete his trek to Newfoundland before the snow arrives. The Montreal native points to his classes in medical school as the reason for starting the initiative.

“As I was doing my studies and in my classes I kept seeing the statistics that so few Canadians were organ donors and I wanted to do something to help,” said Thomas.

It was this motivation that led him on his four-month journey. Each day he travels an average of 100-120kms on his bicycle but uses a great metaphor to describe each day he spends riding.

“I like to tell people that even my hardest day biking is nothing compared to what it is like for an individual that is waiting for a transplant and has to go through dialysis or some other procedure on a regular basis, so whenever it gets tough I remind myself of that,” said Thomas.

The press conference held at City Hall paid tribute to a number of other special guests as well. Many of the honoured guests had undergone procedures for organ transplants such as Sault native Cody McClelland or have been a donor like Jayce Santerre. They were all willing to share their story and recognize just how important being an organ donor is and recognizing how it has saved their lives or impacted them in some way.

It was each of these stories and many others that motivated Thomas and because of them he emphasized two key objectives for his journey across Canada. “The first is to encourage everyone to become and organ donor and be sure to register online and secondly to make sure that your family is aware of your intentions so that they are carried out,” said Thomas with much enthusiasm.

The average person in need of a transplant waits a minimum of 150 days on the organ list waiting for a donor and for many this is much too long. However, if more people register as donors this can be cut down and many lives will be saved.

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Ensuring that you are a donor is very simple, just sign onto beadonor.ca and enter your health card information and answer a few questions and in just a few minutes you can make a difference.

Quinn Thomas was lucky enough that he was able to take time off from school after doing a double semester at Laval and has chosen a great cause. His goal is to become a general surgeon which will require approximately 11 more years of schooling.

He acknowledge that the ride has been difficult so far but that hearing the stories in every city that he stops in helps to keep him going. “The reception has been great so far,” said Thomas. “Everyone has been so good to me and it has been good.”

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The initiative for organ donor awareness will continue into September through the Give the Gift of Life Walk being held at the Bondar Pavilion on Sept. 15,2012. Registration will take place at 9am and the walk will begin at 10:00am. For more information please contact Penny Marquis by phone (705-945-9020) or by email (ssmkidney@shaw.ca).


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