Matt Schlatter fulfilled his dream of becoming a paramedic and living an active life after receiving a double lung transplant two years ago.
Having battled cystic fibrosis his whole life, the native of Victoria, now 25, has beat the drum for organ donor registration since, but especially in April – organ donation awareness month. His experience with life-saving surgery followed someone’s selfless decision to make their organs available in the event of their death.
“Without the generous gift of an organ donor, I would not be here today,” he stated in a release. “All of the things I didn’t have the energy or health to do before my transplant, I’m now able to accomplish and more!”
A quick scan of Schlatter’s Instagram page, post-surgery, finds photos of him engaged in such outdoor activities as hiking, boating, surfing, kayaking, tubing, kite surfing and more.
Schlatter, who has been working as a paramedic in Ladysmith and recently accepted a job in Vancouver, where he started April 16, encourages people to look into organ donation then consider registering their decision.
“We don’t need our organs once we pass away, so why not give them to someone who does?” he asked. “All it takes is two minutes to register as a donor, with the potential to change the lives of people waiting.”
With approximately 700 people awaiting transplants in B.C., he said it’s important for people to sign up for the Organ Donor Registry at taketwominutes.ca and let family members know your wishes.
The death of hockey player Logan Boulet, a registered donor, in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018 inspired tens of thousands of Canadians to sign up as organ donors knowing that his donations allowed six other people to live on. Green Shirt Day on April 7 honoured his legacy.
BC Transplant states that only about one per cent of all deaths occur in a way that would enable someone to be an organ donor, and no age limit exists for donation if a suitable match recipient is found.
Deceased donors can have up to eight organs transplanted, including two kidneys, two lungs, liver, heart, pancreas and small intestine.
Live donors can pass on a kidney to someone with the same blood type and other match criteria, and the outcome is generally better than with a deceased donor, BC Transplant says. Even one’s corneas can be transplanted to help people with blindness, a process overseen by the Eye Bank of British Columbia at eyebankofbc.ca.