Why does a Kemptville teen want April 7 declared Green Shirt Day?

A letter has been circulating in council meetings all over eastern Ontario — from 14-year-old avid hockey player Ethan Bos — imploring township council members to declare April 7 “Green Shirt Day.”

“I heard what happened to the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. One of the players (Logan Boulet) who died (on April 7) donated his organs,” said Bos, a resident of Oxford Mills, near Kemptville.

Logan’s final act inspired almost 150,000 donor registrations across Canada shortly thereafter, which became known as the Logan Boulet Effect, according to the greenshirtday.ca website.

The Canada-wide Green Shirt Day was created to remember the victims and families of the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan in 2018, and to continue Logan Boulet’s legacy by inspiring Canadians to register as organ donors and to talk to their families about their wishes, the website further stated.

Bos said his appeal had been approved in the townships of North Grenville, Edwardsburgh-Cardinal, Athens, Rideau Lakes, Westport, Merrickville-Wolford and the City of Ottawa.

He’s waiting for a response from the townships of Front of Yonge, Augusta, Prescott, Smiths Falls, Gananoque and the City of Brockville.

“They’ve all been really good,” Bos said of the feedback he’s received. “They like the fact that a teenager’s doing this stuff,” he added.

Asked if anyone in his family had been a recipient of an organ donation, Bos said that “my Nana recently had a cornea transplant.”

Ethan’s mother Michele Bos said, “(Nana) reached out to him and thanked him.”

Michele said that the campaign was all Ethan’s idea. “He asked about (Green Shirt Day and) said, ‘my school should do this’,” she noted.

His school, St. Michael Catholic High School, supported the idea and teachers suggested he should also talk to North Grenville council as the municipality is a hockey community.

“(Ethan) went in and spoke to them (at a council meeting). We were shaking more than he was,” Michele said. “He’s definitely never been a shy kid,” she added.

After presenting to North Grenville council members, he took it a step further and spoke to Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark and MP Michael Barrett in 2020. He was subsequently invited to Ottawa’s Parliament Hill to discuss the campaign with Calgary MP Len Webber.

Webber has been trying to get a bill passed so that Canadians are automatically signed up for donor donation, with an opt-out option, according to Michele.

“My objective is (for people) to hopefully sign an organ donor card and try and tell their friends to do it as well. When you die, there’s no point in keeping your organs when somebody else can use those,” Ethan said.

By donating organs and tissue after a person’s death, up to eight lives can be saved and the quality of life of up to 75 people improved, according to the giftoflife.on.ca website.

Currently in Ontario, there are more than 1,500 people on the waiting list for an organ transplant. More than 90 per cent of Ontarians are in favour of organ donation; however, only one in three Ontarians have registered their consent to donate, the website further stated.

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Michele is proud of what her son has done so far and marvelled that “when anyone has suggested to him to take it further, he has done it.”

To purchase a green shirt to support the cause, visit greenshirtday.ca. To register your consent for organ and tissue donation, call 1-800-263-2833, or visit www.giftoflife.on.ca.

TORONTO STAR