By Ally Dunham
The Step by Step Torch of Life Relay will depart on its province-wide journey from Kenora on March 2, and will be arriving in Dryden on March 5.
The relay is to bring awareness and promote the need for organ and tissue donations in the province of Ontario.
“They are only stopping in 72 towns and cities across Ontario, and we are one of them, so that’s pretty neat,” said Dryden High School teacher, Carol Gardam. “The relay is a province-wide campaign to raise awareness and bring back the pride for organ donation.”
“For our ceremony here, it will start at City Hall at 9 a.m., with opening ceremonies and dignitaries, then go around town. It’s going to leave City Hall and go down King St. to Whyte Ave., to Duke St. and back up to Van Horne. It will then travel down Albert Street so it hits the student square doors at the High School,” said Gardam. “We’re trying to get as many kids as possible to carry the torch on our route downtown, and will be escorted by the police.”
The entire school, including guests, will be having a ceremony at the High School, to learn about the successes of organ donation, and to teach the kids at a young age of the importance of signing up to be a donor.
Local high school students will be involved in the celebration, and area residents are welcome to talk on their own experiences with organ donation if they choose.
The Dryden High School Leadership class will be spearheading the celebrations, including the research and planning.
“They (Leadership students) are going to MC and promote it, so it’s from kids to kids, instead of just listening to adults talk about it,” said Gardam.
Step by Step was created by George Marcello, a fitness promoter in 1995 having received a life saving liver transplant with two days left to live. He says it is a known fact that Canada had one of the lowest rates of organ and tissue donations in the entire world and Marcello wanted to change this. He created Step by Step Organ Transplant Association, a non-profit charitable organization, incorporated in 1998.
Individuals can sign up to be an organ donor, as well as watch the local relay and ceremony live on the DHS Eagles website, at www.dhseagles.kpdsb.on.ca.