Last week, as a part of Green Shirt Day, Jan Clemis a retired teacher with Horizon School Division and provincial director for the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Transplant Association, visited Dr. Hamman School to give a presentation on her kidney transplant to Grade 1 and Grade 4 classes.
Green Shirt Day on April 7 is a day to commemorate the Humboldt Broncos crash which occurred April 6, 2018, and raise awareness of the importance of being an organ donor. It was started in 2019 by the family of Logan Boulet one of the victims of the crash and due to him being an organ donator, he ended up saving six other lives after his passing.
Clemis, having had polycystic kidney disease or PKD for her entire life, has been a volunteer with the Kidney Foundation of Canada for over 25 years. Having her own kidney transplant four months after hearing about the Humboldt Broncos crash and learning Logan's story, Jan reached out in 2019 to help out with Green Shirt Day.
"As a teacher, I'm always trying to teach," said Clemis. "I just think that in Canada we need to create that culture of organ donation. That it is a positive thing and not anything that we should be afraid of. That it is meaningful and impactful in a very positive way to others."
Clemis began working with Green Shirt Day while she was still a substitute teacher in Horizon School Division by organizing and hosting presentations in 2019 first at Vauxhall as well as other schools such as D. A. Ferguson.
"The gift of life is so meaningful that I hope they and the family have that conversation myself," said Jan, when talking about the Green Shirt Day presentations she did for students. These presentations were to show the importance of organ donations to students and as well as the life-saving effects that organ donation has.
"Most people are unaware that it's their family that decides whether they'll be an organ donor or not, even if they register as an organ donator. So it's really important for all of us to have a conversation with our family in a calm time," said Clemis. "Have that conversation and express your wishes because your familv will decide in the end whether you're an organ donor or not."
Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times