Green shirt day brings awareness to the gift of life


reen Shirt Day 2024 will arrive at the Taber Arena on Feb. 18.

The event is a passion project meant to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. It’s an initiative sparked by the terrible bus crash of April 6, 2018, when a semi-truck collided broadside with the Humboldt Broncos team bus in rural Saskatchewan. Sixteen people were killed and thirteen injured. One of them was a young man named Logan Boulet from southern Alberta, who died of his injuries the day after the accident. Logan’s story did not end when he died though. It carries on in a remarkable way. His parents, Bernadine and Toby Boulet offered to donate his organs so that six lives could live on. “They did so because Logan told his parents he was registering as an organ donor and that he was inspired by his coach and mentor Ric Suggitt. Ric passed on June 27, 2017 and was also an organ donor and saved six lives,” the Green Shirt web page says. Green Shirt Day is an annual event that is a continuation of Logan’s story. It honours the victims and families of the crash and invites new donors to register.

Reeve Tamara Miyanaga spoke on behalf of the M.D. in support of the cause. “The council fully supports organ donation and awareness. We want people to register and let their family know. We want to make sure the community knows there’s a need. In Taber, there are so many families that have been touched by organ donation. It isn’t a ‘somebody else’ event; it’s people we know, who we work with, and are family with. It is very important that we work hard to ensure that our donor cards are marked and that the families are aware so that we can continue to help others.”

Jan Clemis, an activist and spokesperson for the event said, “We had such a warm response to our Green Shirt Day event at the Taber Arena the past two years, we decided to repeat it again.” Logan’s parents Toby and Bernadine will be at the rink on Sunday. “They are gracious and wonderful people who are committed to sharing their story and bringing awareness to the topic of organ & tissue donation. They also encourage everyone to speak to their families about registering their decision to become an organ donor,” Clemis said.

“Our family has been deeply impacted by organ donation,” Clemis said. “My former husband Kelly received a double-lung transplant in Edmonton in July 2014, and our son, Blair, was my living donor for kidney transplant in August 2018. My daughters, Carli and Bonnie have both inherited the kidney disease that caused my renal failure, so we put hope into research to find treatment options other than transplant. Our family is grateful for the Gift of Life we were both given and honour each extra day. I’m trying to pay it forward with raising awareness and remain committed to the transplant community. My heart is full, for sure.”

The hockey schedule for the day is a triple-header. Three Taber Golden Suns teams will be playing. Game times are: U-13 at 10:30 a.m. vs the Okotoks Oilers, U-15 at 1:00 p.m. vs the Central Alberta Selects, and U-18 at 3:30 p.m. vs the Airdrie Lightning.

An organ donation information booth will be in the lobby as it has been in the past two years, giving everyone an opportunity to discuss the Gift of Life. Hosts will be on hand to help people register their decision to become an organ donor. All Taber and opposing team players will use green stick tape to signify their support of Green Shirt Day and Logan’s Gift of Life to six individuals, Clemis said. She encourages households to light their own porches with a green light bulb on Friday, April 7th as well.

Cal Braid, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, The Taber Times