The province received thousands of requests for organ donation stickers for health cards after the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April. Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk was one of the many people touched by Broncos player Logan Boulet's organ donation. The local teen put the sticker on her card just months before her tragic death in August.
"Her kidneys and her liver were matched and they were harvested and donated. Her kidneys went to two different people and her liver to one," explained Sandra LaRose, Kailynn's mother. "I have received a letter from the transplant team stating that the one recipient that received her one kidney is completely off dialysis now and out of the hospital. The recipient, at the time I got the letter a few weeks ago, of her liver was making a slow recovery but was good."
LaRose said the other kidney was considered a one-in-a-million match, but unfortunately, it didn't take. Kailynn's heart and lungs were matched but due to transportation issues, the organs were not harvested. Her pancreas went to Edmonton for research.
"It was Kailynn's decision and I just had to follow through with it, and it wasn't hard."
Saskatchewan does not have an organ donation registry. The organ donation stickers are used to convey a will to be a donor, but consent from family or a next-of-kin is still needed, so wishes should be vocalized. Kailynn's mother said it wasn't a difficult decision.
"This was all Kailynn's decision," explained LaRose, who said her daughter shared her desire to donate her organs with her and other family members after the Broncos bus crash. "I've received messages about how hard of a decision it must have been to let her be an organ donor and offer her organs and it wasn't because it wasn't my decision. It was Kailynn's decision and I just had to follow through with it, and it wasn't hard. And I don't know if that gives me a little bit of peace. I'm not sure."
LaRose said Kailynn wanted to become a blood donor when she turned 17, which is the minimum age limit required for Canadian Blood Services. Unfortunately, Kailynn never reached that milestone. She was in a medically-induced coma in a Saskatoon hospital on her 17th birthday, after a train collided with her car on August 16 just south of Weyburn. Kailynn's life support was shut down the day after her birthday on August 21.
"She wasn't a perfect kid, but she was my perfect," stated LaRose. "She did a lot of good and I just have to push forward in my life, living like she would."
LaRose hopes Kailynn's decision to donate inspires others.