Awareness as a precursor to action

I believe that a large part of my role as a teacher is not just in delivering content, but in raising awareness of the different information available. With the over abundance of information available, how do students know what to look for? Our role is always changing, but I believe we should provide students with an introduction to the types of resources available to them and then allow them to find out information and take action based on this. We need to share ideas and concepts with students and find ways to help them relate to them.  Once students can relate, they will be inspired to learn more and take action.

One example close to my heart is that of my research into organ donation. I wasn’t an expert in the area by any means and it was something I had barely thought about. I had the sticker on my CareCard saying I was an organ donor and that was the end of it. Then my brother became extremely sick with a liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis and we learned that a transplant was inevitable. There is a shortage of organ donors and we were told it was very likely he would die waiting for his transplant. Armed with this piece of information/awareness (and yes, personal motivation), I researched organ donation and became an activist. I learned that my sticker wasn’t enough and that I needed to register online (which took me all of a minute). I emailed my friends and updated my Facebook status to let other know of the importance of donation. Many of my friends signed up immediately. All thanks to a simple email raising awareness. I told them my story, and they chose to take action. Who knows, one of my friends might save another person’s life one day. Someone saved my brother’s life with their decision. Now my brother is doing extremely well, and while at any point rejection or other complications may occur, one thing is true: I still have my brother in my life and he is the healthiest that he has been in years.

One person made the decision to register to be an organ donor and he or she saved my brother’s life as a result.  It is extremely difficult to know that while my family was relieved by the fact that my brother had his transplant and was recovering in hospital, another family had been forced to say goodbye to their loved one and was mourning his or her death. It’s not an easy thought to process and is one that still overwhelms me with emotions. Despite these emotions and difficulties, we must continue to raise awareness so more lives are not lost in vain.

I bring this up again now because of a new campaign started by BC Transplant which has photos of transplant recipients with the organ they received drawn on them. This awareness campaign has already increased the rate in which organ donors sign up and will likely save many lives. In this case, a little awareness has been the precursor to a lot of action. Even if it only saves one life, and even if that life is only saved temporarily, it is still a victory. I have told you my story. I am not going to tell you what to do.  I encourage you to take the time to teach yourself more and take the action you choose to take.


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