Why walk when you can trot?

By Geoff Lee

January 12, 2017 12:00 AM

TROTTERS Approximately 250 people took off at the start of the 2016 Lloydminster Transplant Trot at the Lloydminster Servus Sports Centre. The 2017 5km walk/run will take place on Jan. 28 with organ and tissue donors wearing red bandanas. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. FILE LLS PHOTO

Lloydminster Transplant Trot returns to raise cash for organ and tissue donations

Greg Hnatuk has a new lease on life thanks to a kidney transplant five years ago.
Hnatuk is the race director of the 2017 Lloydminster Transplant Trot who hopes his own story will help to raise funds and generate awareness of the need for organ and tissue donations.
A 5km walk/run in support of organ donations and transplants will take place at the Servus Sports Centre track on Jan. 28 with an 8: 30 a.m. check in.
“Our track can accommodate up to 250 or more, so it would be nice to fill the track,” said Hnatuk.
He said more importantly, it’s about getting families out to celebrate together and to see the impact that a transplant has.
“When you are part of a trot and you see people like myself —I couldn’t have dreamed of doing that five years ago,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be able to walk probably two laps five years ago.”
Hnatuk who works in finance for Kings Energy Group, the wholesale Husky cardlock, was on dialysis waiting for a transplant for two years.
“I was fortunate,” said Hnatuk who noted his transplant changed his lifestyle for the better and restored his ability to travel.
“Because I was on a transplant list—I was on home dialysis and you have a lot of equipment and stuff to organize if you wanted to travel”
Being on dialysis restricted his travel to a two hour radius of Edmonton.
Hnatuk will be one of many people who will take part in a special recognition walk for organ recipients, living donors and donor families at 9: 45 a.m. prior to the mass walk/run at 10 a.m.
“It’s pretty special as a transplant recipient to walk with people who have made living donations and to walk with families who have been involved in making a non living donation,” said Hnatuk.
He said it’s “way more powerful” for him to be walking side by side with other people who have been involved in the act of donating an organ.
“It’s a very emotional event,” he said.
Last year’s race director, Donna Lorenz, chair of the Lloydminster region CTA hopes there will be a good turnout so people can share their success stories.
“I think that’s a key thing with our recognition walk,” said Lorenz.
“It’s quite astounding to see how many people in our community have been affected by organ donation and transplantation.”
She said the purpose of the trot is to generate awareness of the need and awareness of the success of organ donation and transplantation and how many people it affects.
Albertans can sign up to be an organ and/or tissue donor on the Myhealth.alberta.ca website.
There is no online registry in Saskatchewan, but residents there can sign a permission slip with their health card and affix a red donor dot to it.
“It’s always key to talk with your family first,” said Lorenz.
“It will be a family member who will make the final decision whether they will honor your wishes at your time of death or not.’”
Canadians can also sign a petition by March 2 urging the federal government to pass Bill C-316 to allow Canadians to use tax forms to register as organ donors.
According to the petition at www.lenwebber.ca/billc316, more than 90 per cent of Canadians support organ and tissue donation, but less than 25 per cent have signed provincial registry programs.
The transplant trot will include a wide range of donor recipients to promote more awareness of the need for donors.
“We have a person who has received both a kidney and a pancreas at the same time which helps them with the diabetes that attacks the kidneys,” said Hnatuk.
“We’ve got people who have made donations within the family where one family member has donated a portion of their liver to other family.”
That applies to the Winterhalt family from Lloydminster who will be this year’s host family.
Charlotte Winterhalt received a portion of her brother’s liver and went on to have another child.
“She was one of the early people in Alberta who had a liver transplant and then became pregnant—she now has an eight year-old son,” said Hnatuk.
Online registration is limited to 250 people and is available via The Running Room website up until Jan. 26.
Lorenz is hoping the $30 adult entry plus $3 for processing doesn’t defer people from signing up.
“I think with the economy people are watching where they are putting their money,” she said, adding she hopes that won’t be an issue for people.
There’s a $15 fee plus $3 for processing for youths six to 15 and kids five and under are free.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the CTA and there will be a special board for transplant recipients and living donors to sign at the track.
“We will have that board at all of our events in 2017 in the hope of presenting it to CTA nationally so they get a feel for our group and our community and how many people have been affected by it,” said Lorenz.

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