The Government Service staff in Williams Lake were honoured Friday for their efforts in raising awareness about the BC Transplant program.
Since April, a total of 62 Service BC centres around the province have been providing access information, answers about organ donation and opportunities to register with the B.C. Transplant Society.
The initiative is part of a joint awareness project between the B.C. government and BC Transplant.
As of August, a total of 161 people had registered as organ donors with the B.C. Transplant Society at the Williams Lake Service BC office, making this office one of the most successful in the partnership, said Jon Burbee representing Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Minister Amrik Virk, in presenting the staff with a letter from the minister recognizing their achievement.
About 20,000 people have signed on to the organ donor program since the program began in April, Burbee said, adding that is 15 per cent more people signing up on the program than in the past five years combined.
The government service staff were also presented with a Community Leadership Award for their efforts by the Kidney Foundation of Canada director Edna Humphreys.
Humphreys said there are now more than 500 patients in B.C. waiting for life-saving organ transplant and almost 400 waiting for a kidney.
“Sadly many of these patients will die waiting,” Humphreys said.
Latest polls by the Kidney Foundation show 95 per cent of British Columbians support organ donation, yet only 19 per cent of people have registered their wishes with Transplant B.C.
Raising those numbers is why the B.C. government is committed to making the organ registration process as easy as possible through a partnership between Service BC and BC Transplant, Burbee added.
New on the job in Williams Lake just three weeks, the lakecity’s new Government Agent April Kennedy was honoured that her staff has been recognized for their efforts.
“I’m new with this team, but certainly proud of the work they do each day and the professional way in which they are making people aware of the organ donation program,” Kennedy said. Organ donation is a touchy subject for most people and she is proud of the support from the Williams Lake community and her staff in promoting the program.
Kennedy relocated from Kamloops to take the job of Government Agent in Williams Lake. She comes to the lakecity from the Sheriff Services in Kamloops.