The Torch of Life is coming to Kincardine May 11 2012
Press Conference: Torch arrives at
Facts about Kincardine
Torch of Life stops at KDSS
with message of the need
for organ and tissue donation
By Liz Dadson
Kristopher Knowles knows the importance of organ and tissue donation, and having donors officially register their intentions.
The Sarnia man, now 22, was born with a rare disease called Biliary Atrisha, which affects the liver. He was on the list to receive a new liver until the age of 13 when he was declared too healthy.
Now, he is walking across Canada, as part of the Torch of Life campaign, urging people to register as organ donors.
Joining him in the walk is Khaled Khatib, 20, of Palestine. In 2005, his younger brother was shot by Israeli soldiers. His family donated his brother's organs to five young people who are alive now because of that.
"We have a goal to register five million donors in Ontario," he said. "It's important to pass that message on to the youth who will move forward and do something for us."
In charge of the Torch of Life campaign is chief executive officer George Marcello. He said the purpose of the tour is to encourage everyone - young people and adults - to register for organ and tissue donation.
The campaign stopped at Kincardine District Secondary School Friday afternoon where it was greeted by a crowd of students, as well as principal Randall DeKraker, Kincardine mayor Larry Kraemer, and Lynne Di Cocco of Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson's office.
"The mayor of Kincardine has accepted the challenge to have more people in Kincardine register," said Marcello. "We want Kincardine to become number one. And we're hoping the Huron-Bruce MP and MPP will do the same with their districts."
The campaign began March 2 in Kenora and is travelling through 75 cities and towns, ending June 19 in Toronto, said Marcello.
"We're dedicating this campaign to Betty Albrecht, wife of Harold Albrecht, an MP in Kitchener," he said. "She died of an aneurysm and her organs were donated toward saving lives."
Marcello said the Torch of Life stopped at Kincardine because it is central to the area. It came to Kincardine from Collingwood and was headed to Sarnia and Chatham afterwards.
KDSS has its own organ-donor hero. Teacher Kathie Hackney donated a kidney to her mother six years ago.
"My mom lost use of her kidneys and I was able to give her one of mine," said Hackney, "and she's doing very well."
Marcello urges all residents of Ontario to have their health cards handy and register at www.torchoflife.com. They can also check that website to find out more information about the Torch of Life campaign.
The Torch of Life was blessed by Pope John Paul II Sept. 5, 2001. He said that organ and tissue donation is a genuine act of love and encouraged students to "carry the torch."
Khaled Khatib (R) and Kristopher Knowles carry the Torch of Life as they are encouraged by Kincardine District Secondary School students Friday afternoon at the school
Kristopher Knowles (L) and Khaled Khatib carry the Torch of Life surrounded by KDSS students Friday afternoon at the school
Kincardine mayor Larry Kraemer (L) speaks to a crowd of KDSS students while carrying the Torch of Life
Lynne Di Cocco (holding Torch of Life) of Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson's office, brings greetings from Thompson to the KDSS students at the school
KDSS teacher Kathie Hackney (C) joins Khaled Khatib (L) and Kristopher Knowles holding the Torch of Life high
Khaled Khatib (L) and Kristopher Knowles are welcomed by Kincardine mayor Larry Kraemer and Lynne Di Cocco (with the Torch of Life), representing Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson's office, at KDSS Friday afternoon
Supporting the Torch of Life campaign at KDSS are principal Randall DeKraker (L), Kincardine mayor Larry Kraemer, Torch of Life chief executive officer George Marcello, and Lynne Di Cocco, representing Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson
The Truck of Life