Long-time advocate backs NDP bill proposing opt-out system for organ donation

George Marcello, an organ donation advocate who has received transplant surgery and is waiting again for a donor, is urging Doug Ford’s government to support an NDP bill proposing an opt-out system for organ donation. Marcello, NDP Health critic France Gélinas and recent transplant recipient Gary Marin were at Queen’s Park on Wednesday to fight for the bill.

Earlier this year, Gélinas tabled the Peter Kormos Memorial Act (Trillium Gift of Life Network Amendment). If passed, it would change Ontario’s system to be an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in system.

 

“It’s heartbreaking to watch people suffer for months on end waiting for a donor — especially when there are willing donors whose desire to donate went unknown,” said Gélinas. “By moving to an opt-out system, we can continue to respect people’s wishes, while increasing the chances that those on the waitlist will find their match.”

 

Marcello received a liver transplant in August, 1995. After that, he founded the charitable organization, Step by Step, which promotes organ and tissue donations.

 

“Over the past 25 years, I have advocated to improve organ and tissue donations through education and policy,” said Marcello. “My main focus has been to have Ontario adopt the opt-out system.

 

“I commend France Gélinas for her bill. I am calling on Doug Ford’s government to follow the UK’s lead in adopting a soft opt-out system for organ donation and pass this important legislation, because lives like mine are literally at stake.”

 

Nickel Belt resident Gary Marin received a double lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital in April.

 

“This lung transplant has given me a new lease on life,” said Marin. “My life has improved drastically, and I can’t say enough about the importance of organ donations.

 

“Any action that makes more organ donations available for sick Ontarians is admirable. That’s why I’m supporting France Gélinas’ private member’s bill to establish an opt-out system.”

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