For many hockey fans, Canadians in general and for many others worldwide, April 6, 2018 will be a date they will never forget.
It’s hard to find a silver lining when tragedy strikes, but because of a choice made by one of the Humboldt Broncos players, April 7 will be a date people will always remember.
After a beloved trainer/mentor of Humboldt defenceman Logan Boulet suddenly died in the summer of 2017, Boulet learned about a conversation the team trainer had with his wife just prior to his death about his interest in becoming an organ donor.
Because of that random conversation, his wife insisted his organs be donated. A few months after the funeral, Boulet decided that he would sign his donor card on his next birthday, when he turned 21 on March 2, 2018, to honour his trainer.
Four weeks later on April 6, Boulet was one of 29 team members who were involved in the bus crash that rocked the nation and the world. However, because he had signed his donor card, on April 7 Boulet’s organs became part of a donation that led to six successful transplants to save six other lives. He was the only victim of 16 on the bus that was a donor.
Unfortunately it took a terrible tragedy for many people to open their eyes to a big concern in Canada, that being low organ donation rates. Once word spread of Boulet’s decision to sign his donor card, more Canadians, estimated at about 100,000, have also signed up to be donors.
This has become known as The Logan Boulet Effect. Boulet’s family is calling the movement their silver medal – the best thing to come out of their worst loss.
Boulet’s heart, lungs, liver, kidney, pancreas and corneas were donated. One year later, in honour of their son and all the Humboldt bus crash victims and survivors, Boulet’s parents are launching Green Shirt Day to be held on April 7 to raise awareness of the importance of organ donor registration in Canada.
Green Shirt Day is to become an annual event in Canada held each year on April 7. According to the Canadian Transplant Association website, only 23 per cent of Canadians are registered donors.
Last year I helped that statistic climb up from 20 per cent as I signed my donor card when I renewed my licence just prior to my birthday.
I didn’t know about Boulet’s story at that time. However, last month Sports Illustrated ran a tearjerker story that detailed the inspiration of so many Canadians to follow Boulet’s selfless act. It has also been a great organ donation awareness article.
Many people will know about the more publicized GoFundMe page that stopped accepting donations 12 days after the accident as $15.1 million was raised from 141,985 donors spanning from 80 countries, including all 13 Canadian provinces and territories. It is the largest crowd-funded drive in Canadian history.
A few weeks ago on March 22, the driver of the truck that struck the Broncos bus was sentenced to eight years in prison. The Crown suggested a 10-year sentence.
In January the driver had pled guilty to 16 counts ofdangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
The Broncos returned to the ice this season and actually held the top spot in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in February before they finished in the middle of the standings.
After taking a 3-1 lead in their first round playoff series, Humboldt ended up being eliminated in seven games.
A junior hockey career does not last long and a memory of a certain player fades over time.
This will not be the case for Boulet as many people will remember his name and his effect on Canadians for years to come. His hometown of Lethbridge even recently renamed an arena after him.
Google Green Shirt Day for more information and show your support of the organ donation awareness campaign by wearing a green shirt on April 7.