Two young Quebecers suffering from cystic fibrosis and waiting for lung transplants have launched a petition on the National Assembly's web site aimed at making it easier for Quebecers to donate their organs.
The petition spearheaded by 24-year-old Alexandra Beaudry and 28-year-old Richard Leboeuf-McGregor's is calling for a change in the rules for consenting to organ donation. They want consent for organ donation to essentially be automatic — unless the would-be donor objects.
Beaudry and Leboeuf-McGregor are effectively calling for the current system to be turned on its head — as things are now, it's assumed that someone will not donate their organs unless they indicate they do want to be a donor.
The petition, launched in January, has received just over 6,000 signatures so far. They're hoping to reach 100,000 by April 24.
The text of the petition notes the number of people waiting for an organ donor has gone up dramatically in just the last decade — from 872 in 2004, the 1250 in 2012 — while the number of actual organ donors has remained steady.
"We need more organs," Leboeuf-McGregor says. "There's more people who need transplants, but there are no more people who give."
It also notes that many are on waiting lists for months or years for a life-saving organ donation. The average wait for a lung donor in Quebec, for instance, is just over two years. Patients waiting for a kidney transplant wait three years, on average.
In 2013, a total of 38 Quebecers died while waiting for a transplant.
Leboeuf-MacGregor, who waited a relatively speedy 30 weeks for his transplant, also points out similar systems are in place in a number of European countries, and works well.
"In France, or Spain, and Portugal, that's how it works," he says.