SBD/February 16, 2017/People and Pop Culture

Senators' Melnyk Unveils Canadian Initiative To Raise Awareness For Organ Donation

Senators Owner EUGENE MELNYK, who is fully recovered from a liver transplant that saved his life, yesterday unveiled The Organ Project, an "enterprise aiming to raise awareness for the transplant process," according to Alex Prewitt of Melnyk "still doesn't know anything" about his organ donor, who "remained anonymous." Pre-surgery, Melnyk had been "intensely private about his illness." Around the one-year anniversary of his surgery, though, he "began brainstorming ways to help." Melnyk: "The worst thing about the transplant was not the pain, before or after. It was the torture of being in a lineup. Every morning, you get up, you get told that today’s not the day. What do we do to eliminate those damn lines? You want to get rid of that." Prewitt noted the mission of The Organ Project is to "register as many as possible to donate ... and slice into a waiting list that’s roughly 4,600 deep in Canada." Melnyk "envisions building The Organ Project incrementally," with plans to roll into the U.S. by '19. Melnyk: "My idea is to go through every media department of every hockey team and make this a National Hockey League initiative" (, 2/15). In Ottawa, Bruce Garrioch notes The Organ Project initially will be "launched in Ontario." It will be "easy for people to opt in -- they can opt out at any time." In the meantime, the group has been "working with both the federal and provincial governments." Melnyk: "Once we’ve perfected it here in Ontario, then we can roll it out fairly easily" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 2/16).
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