Double-lung transplant recipient Hélène Campbell and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq joined Jordan Banks, Managing Director of Facebook Canada, to announce a new Facebook app which allows Canadian members to register as organ donors.
Canada joins more than a dozen other countries with this new Facebook functionality. 275,000 people have become registered organ donors through Facebook since it launched this initiative in May.
I had the privilege of being invited to attend today’s media event to welcome home double-lung transplant recipient Hélène Campbell. The event was hosted by Jeff Mauler of Ottawa’s Hot 89.9 at the Government of Canada Conference Centre.
Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq presented Hélène with a traditional Inuit ulu which represents strength. Ms. Aglukkaq also announced $10 million Conservative Government commitment to support national transplant research program, an announcement echoed by Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre. During his remarks, Hélène’s father Alan thanked all of Canada; and Hélène’s mom Manon raved about the amazing care they experienced.
For her part, Hélène is focused on her continued recovery program. She is writing a book and plans to return to her studies. Perhaps the most entertaining part of her comments was how thrilled she is that she can actually “run to the bathroom” on her own steam.
“We anxiously awaited news that you had taken your first unassisted breath with your new lungs.
When you exhaled, we exhaled, too.”
–Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq to Hélène Campbell
After months of providing support and input for Hélène’s online efforts, it was a thrill to be finally introduced. It was the highlight of my day.
The following is video I recorded of today’s event.
Hélène Campbell will be welcomed back home to Ottawa tomorrow. The event will be hosted at 11:30am at the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in the Sussex Lounge of the Government Conference Centre, 2 Rideau Street [update: location changed due to the risk if thundershowers] by Federal Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq, Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre and Hot 89.9 personality Jeff Mauler.
I’ve written about Hélène on a number of occasions (here, here and here). She was the recipient of a life-saving double-lung transplant on April 6. By that time she was already famous for having used social media to increase awareness about organ donation. Her campaign was successful. With the help of high profile celebrities Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres, Hélène didn’t just raise awareness, she initiated a shift in attitude. #BeAnOrganDonor resulted in a significant increase in donor registrations in Canada. I’ve heard Canada’s Trillium Foundation has dubbed this The Hélène Campbell Effect.
Hélène’s use of social media can be a model for public affairs campaigns. It’s for that reason I’ve continued my research and will write more on the subject.
I’ll be there, tomorrow, and will probably upload some video of the event. In the meantime, enjoy this short video of a talk delivered by Lorne Pike at TEDx ST. Johns: A Tweet to Save a Life in which he features Hélène and her campaign. Note Mr. Pike’s math about the number of people directly and immediately helped by Hélène’s efforts isn’t quite accurate – the Trillium Foundation reports a typical day of donor registrations sees about 20-50 new registrants, each with the potential of saving as many as eight lives when the registrant’s own life ends.
It’s been a particularly busy month with client work and teaching a digital communication class at Algonquin College. My particular curriculum focused on understanding the nuances of different digital channels, communication styles, content creation, storytelling, and brand and reputation management. It was during class yesterday I realized it was time to reactivate my blog even if some of the detailed analysis I want to publish will have to wait.
Speaking of digital and education… Kady O’Malley, Bob Ledrew and I will be participating in the panel discussion (long title alert) Media Integration and how it affects what we do in the classroom, or, Social Media: What should media educators be doing? at the Broadcast Educators Association Conference. The panel takes place tomorrow, 10:45am-12:00pm at the Delta Hotel in Ottawa.
I’m hoping I’ll be able to corner some folks after the panel and enlist them for the #BeAnOrganDonor dance.
This video documents the entire Parliament Hill event.
(Quoted from alungstory.ca) The Torch of Life relay has been an annual event since 2004. The goal of these campaigns is to raise awareness of the need for organ and tissue donations. This event is sponsored by Step by Step Organ Transplant Association. Its mission is to empower students’ participation in promoting organ and tissue donations throughout their communities, inspiring the public, media, and the 3 levels of government.
The 2012 Torch of Life relay includes 75 Ontario cities, including Ottawa on March 30th. It will end its course on June 19th at Queen’s Park in Toronto. This year’s campaign, Register Now, is challenging people in each community to register at beadonor.ca and to actively promote tissue and organ donations.