Many people in North Grenville will no doubt be aware that we officially commemorate Green Shirt Day this week, on April 7. The event is meant to encourage people to register to be organ donors, and to raise awareness about the important of organ donation. Locally, youth Ethan Bos has been a strong driving force in getting governments of all levels to recognize Green Shirt Day. Ethan – who is just 17 years old – spoke to Council on March 21, and the Municipality agreed to declare April 7 as Green Shirt Day locally.
One might assume that a personal experience with organ donation is what inspired Ethan to become North Grenville’s “face of Green Shirt Day”, but in fact the story is much simpler than that. Attending a local school in which students must where uniforms, Ethan noted that every other colour of shirt was used to mark special occasions, but not green. “I didn’t realize how big of a topic it was at the time,” Ethan added. His parents explained to him why Green Shirt Day is important.
Ethan’s mother, Michelle, explained that his passion for Green Shirt Day started small and just kept blossoming from there. “It’s been quite the ride,” she joked. She said that many people are surprised that Ethan doesn’t have anyone close to him that have benefited from organ donation, except for a cornea a few years ago.
A couple of Ethan’s teachers suggested that he should take his passion about Green Shirt Day to Council, and he did on March 21. His presentation was well-received. It wasn’t only local Council that Ethan spoke with – he also talked to two Members of Parliament, including local MP Michael Barrett. Ethan’s efforts were also credited as being partially responsible for having Green Shirt Day recognized provincially in April of last year, when Bill-112, an Act to proclaim Green Shirt Day in Ontario, was passed.
While most youth Ethan’s age would be intimidating to speak in front of Council or have conversations with provincial and federal government officials, Ethan is a natural at it. “I’ve never had an issue with talking to people,” Ethan added.
Something that is important for Ethan is impressing upon people that youth need positive influences in their lives. When it comes to things like organ donation, an actual sit down conversation between adults and youth can make all the difference. It can let parents or caregivers know how their child feels when it comes to organ donation, and it can ensure that youth know what their options are. “You need to have these conversations,” said Ethan. “What their choices are, whether they want to be a donor or not, letting their parents know what their wishes are.”
Green Shirt Day was created to honour, remember, and recognize the victims and families of the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Hockey Team bus crash in rural Saskatchewan, where sixteen people were killed.
Green Shirt Day honours Defenseman Logan Boulet, one of the people who died. Logan was a registered organ donor, and as a result, his parents were able to donate his organs that went on to save six lives.
In a phenomenon that has come to be known as the Logan Boulet Effect, over 150,000 Canadians registered as organ donors in the weeks following the Humboldt crash in 2018. Thanks to the Logan Boulet Effect, over 325,000 people in Canada have since signed their organ card.