BC Transplant is reminding individuals across BC including the Cariboo to consider registering their decision as an organ donor this holiday season.

Peggy John, with BC Transplant, says the decision is possibly the greatest gift to give and also receive.

“We know that 1 organ donor has the potential to save 7 lives and to help many others.”

“There are people on the waiting list who range from age from infants to older people, to people whose’ lives are totally changed through organ donation,” John says.

“It truly is the gift of life.”

Close to 500 Britsh Columbians are on the transplant waiting list.

A trial project at the service BC office in Quesnel meanwhile, has helped many British Columbians register their decision on organ donation.

John says many misconceptions exist about registering as an organ donor.

“Some people think that if they register their decision that they might not get the care that they need if something were to happen to them in an emergency and that’s just so far from the truth.”

“What happens in BC is you register your decision, but that registration and that decision are only accessible by Transplant BC. So only when everything possible has been done to save your life.”

John adds that some individuals shy away from registering as they mistakenly believe they are too old or have a condition that may prevent them from becoming an organ donor.

“What we say is to register your decision and when the time comes, the medical staff does so much testing that they can rule out if you are a capable donor or not.”

“The oldest donor in Canada so far has been 93 and people who have had some types of cancer or other types of medical ailments have been able to be organ donors.”

The project, which also ran at Service BC offices in Dawson Creek, Port Alberni, and Salmon Arm received 360 registrations from September 22 to December 19.

It is estimated that more than 95% of British Columbians support organ donation, but only 19% have registered.