For David Ayres, the 42-year-old emergency backup goalie who has become a household name across Canada, lightning struck twice.
The zamboni-driver-turned-NHL-star accomplished the remarkable when he entered as a relief goalie and helped backstop the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6–3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs live on Hockey Night in Canada on Feb. 22.
But Ayres survived another incredible experience more than 15 years earlier, when he received a kidney transplant from his mother at the age of 27. After the donation, both Ayres and his mother continued to live healthy lives.
“Obviously, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have my organ donation from my mom,” Ayres said. “It just goes to show how important it is to donate and let people live their lives.
“I defied the odds twice, I guess.”
Ayres was in Calgary Friday promoting the second annual Green Shirt Day on April 7, an initiative in honour of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victim Logan Boulet that aims to encourage Canadians to sign up as donors and to talk to their families about their wishes.
Shortly before the crash, Boulet had told his parents he wanted to be an organ donor, and his donations saved the life of six Canadians. The story inspired the ‘Logan Boulet Effect,’ where hundreds of thousands of Canadians have registered to become organ donors following the crash.
“To see an organ recipient like David get thrust into such a high profile — and he’s got such a great story, a made-for-movie story — it humbles us and we’re pretty excited to be a part of this,” said Toby Boulet, Logan’s father.
“Logan’s legacy is one of giving. He was a very giving person, a kind person. And it came together in a way none of us wanted to see happen. Nobody wants to have a tragedy thrust on your doorstep. But out of that tragedy, 100,000 people signed up right away, and now we’re up to 300,000 who have signed up because of the Humboldt Bronco tragedy.”
Boulet believes that for the number of organ donors to increase, people need to receive a message of giving and make the decision to donate for themselves. That’s why an opt-out legislation won’t work, he said.
“We’re Albertans. No one in Alberta likes to be told what to do,” Boulet said. “For the government to say, ‘You’ve got to be an organ donor,’ it’s not gonna work.
“The person has to make a decision, tell their family and be inspired.”
According to statistics from The Kidney Foundation of Canada, an organization that partners with Green Shirt Day, there’s still a significant gap between the 90 per cent of Canadians who say they support organ donations and the 23 per cent who have made plans to donate. There are currently 4,300 Canadians waiting for a life-saving organ donation, with 76 per cent of those waiting needing a kidney.
Ayres hopes to continue to use his new-found platform to promote causes like organ donation.
“We need to let people to know that this is a thing to look into. Don’t be afraid to sign your donor card,” he said. “Even if you’re a live donor, giving a kidney or a liver, you could save somebody’s life.”
The sudden star will be back on-call as the emergency backup goalie in Toronto next week, and he says he welcomes the possibility of getting back in action.
“I feel like I didn’t play very well that game,” Ayres laughed.
Prohibida la reproducción parcial o total. Todos los derechos reservados de Rubicon, Global Trade, Customs & Business Partnership, S.C., del Autor y/o Propietario original de la publicación. El contenido del presente artículo y/o cualquier otro artículo, texto, boletín, noticia y/o contenido digital, entre otros, ya sea propio o de tercero alguno, publicado en nuestra página de internet u otros medios digitales, no constituye una consulta particular y por lo tanto Rubicon, Global Trade, Customs & Business Partnership, S.C., sus colaboradores, socios, directivos y su autor, no asumen responsabilidad alguna de la interpretación o aplicación que el lector o destinatario le pueda dar.