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NHL victory offers insight into organ donor awareness

Web posted on February 23, 2020

A shout out today to David Ayres.

If you don't know the name, he's the Toronto Maple Leafs emergency goaltender who stepped into a game with the Carolina Hurricanes when their back-up goaltender was injured.

Ayres, a Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, finished with a win for the Hirricanes. He's the forst emergency goaltender to register a win.

He is practice goaltender for both the Marlies and Leafs.

"He probably dreams of playing in the National Hockey League," Hurricanes' Warren Foegele said of Ayres. "What a moment for him. Something he'll never forget, and something we won't either."

My father, who played as a goaltender in the old Senior A hockey league in Montreal would have been ecstatic. After moving to Mississauga, he continued to have a connection with goaltending working teaching and training Clarkson minor hockey goaltending hopefuls.

As for myself, I'm ecstatic because Ayres is a 15-year kidney transplant recipient. His successful win in his first NHL game is a credit not only for himself but all transplant recipients like myself who have successfully turned around their lives after a bout with dialysis.

The one question I'd love to ask Ayres is whether he uses extra protection for his kidney. Transplanted kidneys don't replace a kidney where it normally resides in the body. Kidneys are placed in the area of the appendix in the front of the body.

Ayres celebrity makes him a poster boy for organ transplants. People who have not registered as transplant donors should now consider how different the world would be if we can get those on the waiting list back to a productive normal lifestyle.

The transplant list, which covers all organs, hovers between 1,500 to 1,600 at any time. CBC-KW's Morning Edition last week interviewed a Trillium Gift of Life Network spokeswoman who stated 72 per cent of those on the waiting list need a kidney. There are only 4,000 people registered as donors in a province of millions.

The cause of the need for kidneys can be stated in one word: diabetes.

It's easy to become a donor. It takes two minutes online to register. Anyone age 16 or older can register, there is no upper limit. Recently, a 92-year-old man donated a kidney.

My hope is that with the publicity surrounding Ayres celebrity there will be additional registrations.

The website for registering is:

Thank you to readers for considering and acting upon helping our neighbours and communities by becoming a donor.

That's it. Until next time.