Rooted is all about the people and the places that make us proud to call our community home.
It's been almost a full year since Kelly Ann Turcotte decided she would promote a very profound message. Every week, Turcotte shares the message of the importance of organ donation. Through her dedication, she aims to bring greater awareness to this critical cause via the NoahStrong Foundation. Her goal was to bring light to a very important conversation.
Turcotte says, “I wanted to have those conversations but still remain sensitive to not only the individuals receiving the organ/tissue donation but also to the families who have consented to having their loved ones donate their organs/tissue."
When asked about the significance of organ donation and how it saves lives, Turcotte explained, “Some people become ill over time and some are in need of organs from birth. Their precious organs can get weak and start to fail, and sometimes, the only option is a life-saving procedure with a healthy organ.”
She says there are a lot of people waiting for an organ transplant in Ontario. She says, "The availability of organs from living donors does not meet the crucial need - on average, there are 1,400 Ontarians waiting for a life-saving transplant. Organs and tissue that can be donated include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, small intestines, eyes, bone, skin, heart valves, and anterior cruciate ligaments.”
The benefits of becoming an organ donor are emphasized by Turcotte, who states, “Becoming an organ donor has many benefits - the most important being able to save a life. Just one donor can save eight people and make a great difference in the lives of 75 more.”
Turcotte's commitment to this cause through NoahStrong continues to make a profound impact on raising awareness and encouraging individuals to consider the gift of life through organ donation, and as a North Bay-born and raised resident, Turcotte is hoping this message resonates with those in the Gateway City and beyond.
For those willing to register as an organ donor, Turcotte provided guidance, “If you visit the NoahStrong website page, the 'Be a Donor' tab at the top of the page links you directly to the campaign to sign up to be a donor online at beadonor.ca or go to any Service Ontario and sign consent there if you do not have a computer.”
Addressing common misconceptions, Turcotte stated, “It’s a misconception that organ donation is a taboo subject. Not if you talk about it right from the start with your family. Nothing taboo about the potential of saving a life. Have the talk. Know your family’s wishes before it’s too late. Normalizing these conversations is key in understanding the importance of organ and tissue donation.”
When asked about promoting organ donation awareness at an individual and community level, Turcotte suggested, “Simply by checking your status online at beadonor.ca, letting your family know if you are a donor, and asking the question to your friends and family. It’s about creating awareness. Having the conversation. Communities can join NoahStrong during the month of April to promote Organ and Tissue Donation month by checking their status.”
She says she has been proud to take on this role by using the NoahStrong campaign to promoting organ donation and supporting transplant patients. Turcotte explained, “One of the NoahStrong Foundation's platforms is organ donation and awareness. Given Noah's family's experience, NoahStrong is committed to generating awareness and consideration for organ and tissue donation. Many people follow Noah's story, and so sharing how his selfless act of organ donation saved seven people is a way that NoahStrong can contribute to these needed conversations."
Turcotte elaborated, “Organ donation can turn tragedy into triumph and sorrow and loss into a gift of life and opportunity for others. NoahStrong is committed to enhancing more lives of Ontarians waiting for life-saving transplants by advocating for organ and tissue donation consent.”
Speaking about the impact of organ donation on families and loved ones, Turcotte noted, “It gives them hope and a second chance at living a long and healthy life. These gifts are due to someone’s consent to organ donation. Having the conversation avoids having to make difficult decisions during very critical and time-sensitive moments.”
While recounting success stories of organ donation and transplantation, Turcotte mentioned, “Noah's selfless act of organ donation, has changed the lives of seven individuals and their families and countless others through this awareness.”
Turcotte emphasized, “These are not easy conversations, but they are important and can save lives. Our work as an organization is to keep Noah’s memory alive by sharing his story, giving back to our community, and the many people that have been touched by Noah’s actions and the NoahStrong organization.”
Reflecting on the importance of continuous messaging, Turcotte shared, “Since the passing of Noah Dugas, I have been wearing my 7N1D merchandise in honor of Noah and to support the NoahStrong Foundation. Noah was an outstanding young man who touched a community. It has been said that 7 lives were saved by 1 angel. His number was 71 in hockey. I felt that I could make a difference.”
Turcotte continued, “It takes two minutes to save a life. If just one of my posts gets the conversation going and perhaps someone goes to beadonor.ca and signs up, then it was all worth it! As a community, we can always do better.”
"It is not an easy decision, but making individuals aware of the choices they have can really make a difference.”
You can see her weekly posts on the NoahStrong Facebook page.
If you have a story idea for “Rooted” send Matt an email at [email protected]