By Ian Croft
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
As a lead up to Green Shirt Day on April 7 the Taber Arena had Green Shirt Day at the Rink last Saturday to show off some good hockey, and help build awareness for Green Shirt Day proper.
Bernadine Boulet and Toby Boulet, mother and father of Logan Boulet, were both present at the event.
“It’s a pre-Green Shirt Day event, but Logan played lots of hockey here in Taber and there’s lots of people here in Taber that have received organs — organ transplant recipients,” said Toby. “They organized this last year and they invited us to come out and we’re out again this year. We just love to come and we get a chance to talk about our son Logan and talk about organ donation, and transplant awareness.”
“It’s all about having people stop by the table having some conversations, hoping that the people go back to their families, and have a conversation about organ and tissue donation, so that they register to be potential donors,” said Bernadine. “If that happens, that just gives hope to people who are waiting for transplants and we know how they can make a big difference to those people who are waiting. It’s not easy to be in a position or in a situation where you are waiting for transplant, because your life is just not yours. You’re very tied to medical stuff and we know what hope donation provides to people.”
Following this brief discussion the Boulets both talked about the purpose behind this event.
“It’s all about more awareness,” said Toby. “Every event brings awareness to Green Shirt Day and brings awareness to organ and tissue registration. We don’t ask people, we just want to have a conversation and they have to make up their mind.”
“If people would like to sign up and become a donor, we do have a QR code that will connect them to be able to sign up to become a registered donator, but we talk a lot about the fact that what’s really important is for people to have conversations with their family,” said Bernadine. “It just makes them aware, so if they are ever in a situation where they have to make a decision — as we were when Logan was in critical care. We want people to be able to make that decision to not be another stressor in their life.”
Following this, both parents also discussed the origin of this event, and why they came out to take part in it.
“Well Jan Clemis is from Taber, she grew up in the States, she taught school around Taber, and she is a kidney donor recipient,” said Toby. “She is a good friend of ours, and was the president of the Canadian Transplant Association Alberta chapter and she started this last year. We’re friends with Jan so we said ‘yeah we’re all in’.”
“It’s Jan who created posters, and got people to be aware,” said Bernadine. “She is connected with Taber Minor Hockey, the Golden Suns, and trying to get them to recognize us. They are very happy to be a part of it and it’s an honour for us to be able to come here. Logan played lots of hockey in Taber from the time he was a five year old Timbit till he was a 16-year-old midget, at that time AA player, and spent lots of time in this rink.”
The two of them were also kind enough to provide some direction to individuals who are interested in learning more information about Green Shirt Day.
“Just go to the Green Shirt Day website, greenshirtday.ca, it’s got everything about Logan, but tied into that is everything about organ donation, transplant video/stories, and it connects to every province in Canada through the register link,” said Toby. “You click the register link and go to every province in Canada so if you’re from Saskatchewan you want to register there but you happen to be visiting, a way you go.”
“Going to the Green Shirt Day website there’s lots of information on there,” said Bernadine. “If you happen to be a teacher and would like to do a Green Shirt Day event at your school go to the Green Shirt Day website it will give you information. Then you can also go to Canadian Blood Services education portal there’s lots of information more on there.”
Kathy Giroux, a living donator, was also present at the Green Shirt Day at the Rink, and briefly commented about her experience living after donating a kidney to her father.
“You still live, it’s fine,” said Giroux. “Life it still the same. You have a limitation to certain things but doesn’t stop you from living. You’re still the same person.”
Toby was able to provide a quick summary of that evening’s game, whereas Bernadine spoke about her experience at the information table.
“Well, the U13 game is a very fast game. I know quite a few of the parents coached a couple of them and it’s fast,” said Toby. “It’s always fun to go back and watch people’s kids play..it’s the same level of hockey but I think it’s a pretty good game. Taber is a couple goals behind but they’re going to push back hard.”
“I haven’t watched much hockey because I’ve been standing out at the table, making connections with people and answering questions,” said Bernadine. “That’s important as much as the hockey is important, it is also important for us to make those connections with people.”
Ending things off the Boulets took a moment to share their message with the people in Taber.
“Thanks to the people of Taber, the community here, we’ve done done a few events out in Taber and it’s always great support, great everything and great game,” said Toby.
“It’s really nice that people stop by,” said Bernadine. “People support Jan, other organ donors, and other recipients that have been here. Knowing how much of a difference it has made in their life to have an organ or to know that someone can become a donor.”