Great-Grandmother Gets a Priceless Gift for Christmas

TORONTO, December 21, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Increasing awareness about the urgent need for organ and tissue donation became a family effort this year for 87 year-old Honoria Groves. Her great-grand daughter, Alexandria, had a life-saving liver transplant this summer when she was five-months old. Now that Honoria knows how important organ and tissue donation is, she and her family hope their story will inspire others to register their consent this holiday season.

"There are no words to describe our feelings of gratitude. We realize that without the liver transplant, we might not be enjoying Alexandria's beautiful and healthy presence with us this Christmas," says Groves.

In a poem she wrote while waiting for the transplant surgery to be completed, Honoria Groves encourages others to participate in what she calls a very worthwhile endeavour:

The loss of one precious life
Causes agony and strife,
But it should mitigate the pain
By offering someone health again.
When it is possible to provide
Life for one who would have died.
- Honoria Groves

Alexandria received her donated liver at The Hospital for Sick Children this summer, after attempts when she was only a month old to repair a rare condition failed.

Robert Gold, Alexandria's father, defines organ and tissue donation as: "Something that starts as a choice, becomes a gift - a gift that cannot be purchased, and ends as a miracle."

Today, approximately 1,550 people in Ontario are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, and thousands more wait for life-enhancing tissue. One organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and enhance as many as 75 others.

"There is nothing more extraordinary than giving the gift of life. We all have the power to save lives by registering our consent to organ and tissue donation. There is no better time to talk about organ and tissue donation than when families are together during the holidays," says Frank Markel, President and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network.

You can register your consent to donate your organs and tissue by visiting your local ServiceOntario centre where you register or renew your health card. You can also register by downloading and filling out a Gift of Life Consent Form from www.giftoflife.on.ca and mailing it to the address on the form.

Even if you've already signed your donor card, please also register your decision so that this information is accessible when needed, and talk to your family about your decision.

For more details on Trillium Gift of Life Network, please visit our website or call (416) 363-4001 or toll free 1-800-263-2833.

Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario and is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.