By Brigid McNutt
From Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, 21-year-old Quinn Thomas is biking across the country to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation. A second year medical student from Montreal, Thomas embarked on his 100 day and 8,730 km journey on June 23. On Tuesday he stopped in Moose Jaw before he spending the night in Regina.
“Sometimes I feel unfulfilled as a medical student because I am unable to provide the help that I supposed I would be able to provide as a health care professional,” said Thomas. “I figured that this is something I can do without a medical degree. It doesn’t take a medical degree to talk about organ and tissue donation and get people to talk about it with their families, which are the two main objectives of this ride.”
Though 85 per cent of Canadians believe organ donation is a good thing, only 14 per cent have actually signed their donor cards.
“We all have more chances of requiring a transplant than we have of becoming potential organ donors. We really need as many donors as we can. Just by signing the card (you) can save up to eight lives,” he explained.
While his idea developed over a few months, he only had one week after his semester ended to make his purchases and get everything in place—a large task considering Thomas had never gone camping before in his life.
As he did more research, Thomas said he was shocked he could cross the country in a shorter amount of time than the whole process of getting a transplant would normally take — even in ideal conditions. On average, it takes 1,300 days to get a transplant. “If someone is doing something heroic, I’d say it’s people awaiting transplants and on a waiting list, dealing with unpredictability and adversity, and keeping a smile when that happens,” said Thomas.
For more on this story read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.