Organ donation 101 with Recycle Me
I met James Cameron at the Recycle Me event held in the McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC) last Thursday.
Cameron is a soft-spoken and charismatic young man whose health has played a significant part in his life, but does not define him.
“I was born with cystic fibrosis, he explained. “By my twenty-third, birthday I had to build a transplant list. I had both lungs transplanted, double-lung, and in the process I also developed diabetes. It has been eight years since the transplant. I’ve had some issues with rejection and pneumonia that sort of thing, but it’s been clear for three years now.”
Cameron is a personal trainer and motivational speaker, who, at age 12, was inspired by his uncle to box, and now teaches others how to stay healthy.
He was invited to the event by the Recycle Me club at McMaster. Recycle Me aims to raise awareness and educate students on organ and tissue donation. They also fundraise to help people in need of transplants.
Recycle Me at McMaster began last January after Trisha Sengupta, now president of the club, registered to be a volunteer for the Trillium Gift of Life Network, the external agency that supports the Recycle Me program. Sengupta suggested to a spokesperson for the organization that Recycle Me club a McMaster be founded, and so it began.
Last year, the club provided a campus tour with a life-size version of the game ‘Operation’ in MUSC and gave an iPod to the winner.
During last week’s event, which featured performances from a trained magician and boxing sessions, Recycle Me provided access to online donor registration and information to interested participants. Sengupta explained that the group hopes to make this an annual event. She added that anyone can join the club and that being a donor or having a transplant is not a requirement to join.
The Recycle Me club holds these events to provide students with information about the option they have as a Canadian, to not just donate an organ, but to voluntarily give someone a second chance at life.
The website recycleme.org “brings recycling from the curbside to the inside,” where visitors are invited to bring agency into their browsing experience by exploring the inner organs of a healthy young man who tells guests about his organs.
The website also provides information on myths such as, “is there a chance I might not even be dead when they take out my organs?” The answer, “patients who have agreed to donate are actually given more tests to prove that they are truly dead than those who have decided not to donate.”
The website also has videos on transplants and, of course, available donation forms for those who are interested in signing up online.
The Recycle Me hopes to educate people on a decision to donate organs.
While there are many issues in clinical bioethics, as well as theological and political beliefs surrounding live and dead organ and tissue donation, the Recycle Me club provides information for students to consider the options. In Canada, there is an option on every citizen’s healthcare form, which you can check off if you would like to be a donor.
Many people do not want to think about their mortality, but when other lives are at stake, it might be comforting to know that you can have say in predicting the outcome.