Many social media users say the donation of Humboldt Broncos player Logan Boulet’s organs has not only potentially saved lives, but inspired them to have the conversation with loved ones and become donors themselves.
Ontario’s organ donation agency says it saw online registrations nearly triple Sunday compared to two weeks prior.
Boulet, a 21-year-old defenceman from Lethbridge, Alta., was among the 15 people who died after a horrific crash involving the junior hockey team in Saskatchewan.
Fourteen others were injured when the team’s bus and a transport truck collided Friday in a tragedy that has reverberated around the world.
Boulet’s cousin Julie Kindt said on Facebook that Boulet had been on life support until his organs could be donated.
His godfather posted a statement on behalf of the family saying a surgical team from Alberta travelled to a Saskatoon hospital to conduct organ transplant procedures early Sunday morning.
Neil Langevin said six people were set to receive the “gift of life” from Boulet, and his other organs would be donated to science.
“Logan had made it known, and very clear to his family, that he had signed his organ donor card when he turned 21 just a few weeks ago,” Langevin said in a Facebook post that had been shared more than 1,700 times as of Monday morning.
“These actions alone give voice to the selfless and benevolent nature Logan possessed in life for others.”
Boulet’s final act of generosity was met with an outpouring of support on social media.
Lee Ellis, a 55-year-old dog walker in the Toronto area, said she had been thinking about becoming an organ donor for a while, but only got around to it this weekend after coming across a tweet encouraging others to follow Boulet’s lead and become donors.
“There’s always a bit of a silver lining, even in a tragedy like this,” Ellis said in a phone interview. “This is definitely going to be part of his legacy. The people that get his organs are going to have a chance at a good life.”
A spokesperson for Ontario’s Trillium Gift of Life Network said 182 people registered online to become donors Sunday, up from 67 new registrations on March 25.
Jennifer Long said the majority of Ontario organ donors register in person, and the number of registrations tends to fluctuate, so it can be challenging to pinpoint any single explanation for the jump.
Ellis said she was surprised by how easy it was register as a donor online, and encouraged her social media followers to do the same.
“I think a lot of people want to do it,” she said. “If they see somebody doing it that they know, or someone who is kind of a public figure … it might give them enough of a boost to do it.”