Each year on the 13th August, World Organ Donation Day is observed across the world. The day is marked to spread awareness about organ donation and to clear misconceptions related to donating organs. The day is recognised to encourage people to take a pledge of donating healthy organs after their death to those who are in need.
To mark this day, we are sharing Lori’s heart-felt organ donation story with you.
Lori’s organ donation story
My name is Lori and I live in New Brunswick in Canada with my husband. We have always been registered organ donors ever since we were old enough to decide for ourselves. We feel very strongly about the importance of organ, tissue and bone donation. We both will be donors when we pass.
We talked to Sam, our only son, about the importance of it and our views when he was old enough to start thinking about driving. He firmly decided though for himself when he was 15 years old, when two of his friends were tragically killed in an accident. One of them was an organ donor and his family donated all his viable organs. This was when Sam chose then to become an organ donor.
In Canada, each province here has their own procedure for being an organ donor. To register as an organ donor here in New Brunswick it is a choice, not automatic. It is as easy as checking a box when applying for or renewing our medical cards issued by the province at no cost. It is then noted on your Medicare card, which most people always have in their wallets.
Not long after this, our world was turned upside down. Sam was killed in a car accident when he was just 20 years old.
He was killed instantly at the scene. We went to the hospital to identify him. They informed us that ‘he is an organ donor’ and we agreed.
When we left the hospital, his body was taken for the operations of removing bones and tissue useful for transplant. We were very sad to learn none of his organs were viable for donation, but his bone and tissue still were. We know his leg and arm bones were taken and tissue also. They were placed in the tissue and bone bank that holds the donations for use in our neighbouring provinces. They are viable for 5 years.
We met a nurse that was present when the bones were being taken and she told us she followed an arm bone to surgery to a recipient. So we know at least that got used. Unfortunately they do not track tissue and bone donation in the same way as organs so we will never know who or when someone received some of Sam’s donations.
Sam’s body was then transported after surgery to our funeral home. His body was prepared by them for us and our family to see him. After that meeting, he was cremated by the funeral home. We received his ashes at his memorial service and brought them home with us.
We have a Bios Urn ® for our son and support the beautiful idea of being returned to nature wholeheartedly. I discovered the biodegradable urn on an ad on the internet a few months after Sam passed. I thought it was an incredible idea. I entered a contest and actually won a tree urn for Sam’s ashes. I was so honoured and happy to have won one. I think the Bios Urn ® should be an option offered at every funeral home. I think it’d be amazing if we had memorial gardens or memorial forests to visit instead of cemeteries.
We have not yet planted Sam’s Bios Urn. We live in an apartment and we were not ready to plant until now. Our original idea was to wait and see if we moved somewhere with a yard. In this case, we would have liked to plant Sam’s tree urn with a white birch tree. When Sam was younger, he loved how the bark peeled off a white birch like paper. If we stay in an apartment, we may plant Sam’s ashes in our apartment in a planter with a tree suitable for a container such as a lemon tree or palm.
Through our own organ donation story, we would like other people to know that it is possible to donate organs and still be buried in a biodegradable urn to be returned to nature as a tree. In my opinion, organ donation should be automatic. I feel it’s so important. I believe that every organ, bone and tissue that is viable should be used to save or help someone else. And as you can see with our experience, it doesn’t take away from the different burial options out there.
We think that being planted in a tree urn should be burial preference for the future. I’d much rather go to a garden or forest to be with my loved ones that have passed than to go to a cemetery.
We are extremely proud that Sam was a donor.
Donate your organs and then become a tree after you die
What many people don’t know or aren’t 100% sure of, is that in the case of organ donation or the donation of the body to science, the remains can be cremated and returned to the family once the donation process has been finalized.
So this means that you can donate your organs and/or your body to science, and still be planted as a tree with a Bios Urn ® afterwards as Lori´s inspirational organ donation story shows us.
Find out all about how it works in this article we wrote. It also explains how to become a donor should you wish to register.
Each Bios Urn ® story is unique
There is such beauty of these real-life stories, there is a sense of autonomy and choice. Dealing with loss is always hard, and tends to send life in an unknown and often confusing direction.
One thing we believe at Bios, is that people see the beauty of life expressed in nature, and in trees. How we connect with these cycles and these stages is personal into and of itself, but the important thing is that we all connect. Like Lori’s own Bios Urn story. Our only hope is to provide comfort and a positive alternative to those who have experienced loss, and to provide a voice for those willing to share their unique stories.
Has this story about organ donation impacted you in any way? Or maybe you have your own organ donation story to share? Let us know in the Comments section below. We would love to hear from you.
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