If it weren’t for two heart transplants, Cheryl Olson might not be alive today, and so she is 110 per cent behind the idea of an opt-out program for organ donation.
Olson caught the flu in 1999 when she was 31 years old, and it ended up settling in her heart. She said she was on life support for two months, and just a day before her husband had to make a decision about whether to keep her on life support, a heart came available.
“I was so sick that I didn’t even really realize that the possibility of a transplant was on the table,” said Olson.
Nine years later, Olson’s body was rejecting the heart and she needed another one.
“I couldn’t believe it, but a week after I was put on the list I got the call for my second heart … I was absolutely blown away when I got the call in the middle of the night.”
Now Olson has been able to see her kids grow up and has been able to celebrate 26 years of marriage with her husband.
Because of what she’s had to go through, Olson completely supports the idea of an opt-out system for organ donations like the premier has floated.
“I think it’s about time and I’m really, really thankful that Brad Wall is taking this step and allowing Saskatchewan to be the leader of the country in this way.”
She said all the organ recipients she knows are behind this idea as well.
On Tuesday, Wall said he wants to bring in a system of presumed consent and would like the government to look at what steps can be taken to protect such legislation from legal challenges.
“My personal view is, if it’s possible to have presumed consent that’s consistent with the rights of Canadians and the Constitution, I think that would be a great thing to lead the country in,”
No other province has presumed consent.
Saskatchewan’s donation rate is one of the lowest in the country, at just one per cent.
A legislative committee was tasked with looking at the idea of presumed consent, but its report tabled Monday did not recommend it.
However, Wall wants to go further.