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Tragedy brings light to organ donation

'While I am not on the list yet, I know I will be sooner rather than later so this is a cause near and dear to my heart'
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Claire Stewart from Nipissing Gift of Life, speaks to students and encourages them to get on the organ donor list. Photo by Chris Dawson.

Every day Adele Orr says she feels like she is breathing through a straw. 

“So you put a straw in your mouth and did a hardcore workout and you are trying to catch your breath through a straw,” explained the 21-year-old Canadore College student. 

Orr suffers from cystic fibrosis and doctors say the only way to treat the genetic condition is to have a lung transplant.   

“It is very difficult, my current lung function, I have a 40 per cent capacity of someone my age and that is very good for my age for someone with CF,” explained Orr, who is part of the organization "Nipissing Gift of Life."  

Orr hopes she can get on the donor list sooner than later. 

“While I am not on the list yet, I know I will be sooner rather than later, so this is a cause near and dear to my heart,” she said.  

More than 1,500 Ontarians are on that list. That is why Orr and her colleague Claire Stewart were set up in the hallways of Canadore College and Nipissing University talking to students with a goal of getting at least 50 students on the organ donor list during organ donor month.  

The easiest way to check if you are, is to look on the back of your health card. 

If you aren’t, all you need is your health card number then go to the beadonor.ca website and click the big red button. It takes 15 minutes to register.  

Claire Stewart has a personal connection too. She received a liver transplant five years ago. She will be set up around the city this month looking to get more people on the donor list.  

“Our goal in North Bay is to reach over 60 per cent. We are going to try to set a goal for ourselves and we are going to work on that,” said Stewart.  

Orr says organ donation got some exposure through the Humboldt tragedy, where one hockey player perished in the crash but six of his organs were used to help others because he signed his donor card.   

“It is a wonderful thing to come out of a horrible situation,” said Orr. 

“Obviously, we are grieving for those young boys, it’s a horrible, horrible loss of life, but the fact that he was able to donate his organs is one way to find strength in what has happened.”  




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