Amanda Poch launched her Live Then Give Tour March 9.

Transplant awareness tour will come to North Island in June

Ten years ago, Amanda Poch was in a liver-induced coma. She was 26 and she needed a new liver but she was not on the transplant waiting list. She was dying.

After spending 11 days in a coma, she was saved by a liver transplant. She says when she had her transplant, she had only six hours to spare.

Today, Poch is 36 and she is celebrating her 10-year transplant anniversary by partnering with the Kidney Foundation of Canada for the Live Then Give Tour to raise awareness about the need for more registered organ donors.

Poch, who lives in Port Moody, is travelling across the province to engage British Columbians in a conversation about organ donation. In each community, she encourages people to register their wishes — either yes or no — to support people who need a transplant.

Poch was diagnosed with Autoimmune Chronic Active Hepatitis when she was 20 years old.

After six years of taking medications, Poch was rushed to the hospital with less than five per cent of her liver functioning.

A 72-year-old male donated his liver, and that saved Poch.

“It’s a life-changing event,” Poch said, phoning from a tour stop in  Nanaimo on Monday. “For the individual who saved my life, he took less than two minutes out of his life to register and he saved my life and probably seven others.”

Since receiving a new liver, Poch has devoted her time and energy to organ donation awareness and education.

Poch launched her Live Then Give Tour March 9 at the BC Legislature in Victoria.

She was originally going to be arriving in Campbell River this week, but after touring southern Vancouver Island in this first leg of the tour, she will now return in June to tour the North Island.

Poch’s goal is to raise 10,000 new organ donor registrations.

“I feel there’s a lot of communication that still needs to be done around organ donation and transplant,” she said. “Ninety-five per cent of British Columbians support organ donation, yet only 20 per cent are actually registered.”

Poch plans to tour B.C. until the end of this year. Her tour is a 100-per-cent volunteer effort and she says any donations can go a long way towards helping make the tour a success.

To donate and keep up to date on Poch’s touring, visit livethengive.ca or follow Poch on Facebook (facebook.com/livethengive.catour) or Twitter (@livethengivetour).

According to BC Transplant, B.C. has more than doubled its deceased donor rate in the last six years, and 2015 was a record year, with 422 life-saving transplants from living and deceased donors.

Those who wish to be organ donors can register their decision at transplant.bc.ca or at any Service BC office.