Sudbury Catholic District School Board
December 14, 2010

SCDSB and Trillium Gift of Life Network – Community Challenge Launch

On December 13, 2010, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board issued the Greater City of Sudbury a challenge – give the gift of life. In partnership with the Trillium Gift of Life Network, Sudbury Catholic launched a Board-wide initiative to have Sudbury be the first city in the province of Ontario to have 50% or more of its residents be registered organ and tissue donors. Currently sitting at 40%, Dr. Frank Markel, President and CEO of the Trillium Gift of Life Network felt that Sudbury was the perfect place to issue this challenge. “I am proud to be working with Sudbury Catholic District School Board and the residents of Sudbury on this historical initiative. Tonight, we are challenging the Greater Sudbury Region to do something that hasn’t been done in Ontario before, register over 50 per cent of their community to consent to organ and tissue donation,” Markel said. “Sudbury is an inspiring community. My hope is that other Ontario communities follow their example and get their communities registered. Together, no one has to die waiting for an organ transplant.”
Catherine McCullough SCDSB Director of Education echoed Dr. Markel’s comments and expressed to the crowd her pride in the Board for embracing this initiative. “I am very proud of our Board for partnering with the Trillium Gift of Life Network for this very important initiative and I encourage the entire community to join us in this challenge to not only have Sudbury reach or even surpass the 50% registration for city-wide donation in Ontario, but more importantly, to recognize that there is no greater gift than the gift of life.”
The evening was dedicated to St. Benedict (and formerly St. James) student Ian Smyth who passed away in November and was the recipient of double lung transplants. Both of Ian’s parents, Susan and Phillip were on hand at the event and spoke about their belief in organ donation as well as their gift of more years with Ian as a result of his transplants.
Also on hand for the event were speakers Bishop Noel Simard, M.P.P. Rick Bartolucci, Mayor Marianne Matichuk, Community Advocate and Businessman Gerry Lougheed Jr, as well as several people who spoke of their life experiences as donors and recipients. SCDSB Trustee Paula Peroni shared with the crowd the anguish of losing her son in an accident as well as the joy of finding out a year later that he lives on in both a 23 year old female and 79 year old man who were given the gift of vision through the donation of her son’s corneas.
Other community partners on hand included the Irish Heritage Society, Sudbury Regional Hospital staff, several city councillors, any many more key city players who were asked to help spread the gift of life message.
An important part of this initiative included the next day in-servicing of several Civics and Religious Education teachers at all four of the Board’s secondary schools as organ and tissue donation will now be a part of the curriculum at Sudbury Catholic -making it one of the first Boards in Ontario to do so.

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