Mar 30, 2013 – 11:26 AM EDT
Last Updated: Mar 30, 2013 – 1:54 PM EDT
A liver transplant saved Kaidyn Blair’s life nearly 10 years ago and now the 10-year-old boy is on a mission to save others.
Kaidyn is celebrating his 10-year liver anniversary this year by trying to get one person to be a registered donor for each day since his April 27, 2003 transplant.
It’s been 3,653 days. So far Kaidyn has encouraged 243 people to register.
“I want people to sign up because every three days someone dies waiting for a transplant,” Kaidyn said Friday at the Essex Royal Canadian Legion, where he and his family held a registration drive to promote organ and tissue donation. “I have some friends who are still waiting.”
One of those friends is two-year-old Emily Ledoux. At five weeks old, Ledoux was diagnosed with biliary atresia, the same liver disease Kaidyn suffered from, which affects about one in every 10,000 to 20,000 infants shortly after birth, according to the Canadian Liver Foundation.
Emily has been on the waiting list for a liver since June 2011.
Kaidyn Blair, 10, left, and Emily Ledoux, 2, share a laugh at the Royal Canadian Legion in Essex, Friday, March 29, 2013. Kaidyn organized a registration drive to promote organ and tissue donation to mark the 10th anniversary of his liver transplant, April 27th. (DAX MELMER/The Windsor Star)
“I think the scariest part of it is an organ not being available and her being that statistic,” said Heather Ledoux, 33, who became emotional as she talked about Emily, her youngest of three and only daughter.
Every three days in Ontario someone dies while waiting for an organ transplant, yet less than 25 per cent of Ontarians are registered to be a donor, according to the Trillium Gift of Life Network.
The network also says around 1,500 people in Ontario are waiting for organ transplants and thousands more for tissue transplants.
Heather contacted Kaidyn’s father, Jeremy, 37, who she went to Essex District high school, to ask for advice after learning about her daughter’s diagnosis.
Heather said the Blairs have been really supportive and Emily and Kaidyn even go to medical appointments together.
“He gives us strength, he really does,” Heather said about Kaidyn. “If she does get the gift, which is the hardest part, then she’ll be just like him. She’ll be OK. We know.”
Kaidyn plays baseball, soccer, basketball and has attended three Canadian Transplant Games, where he holds a record in long jump.
He plans to attend the World Transplant Games July 28 in Durban, South Africa.
Kaidyn’s mom, Tammy Blair, 38, said the hardest part of her son’s disease was watching him “disintegrate” to “skin and bones.”
Before his transplant, Kaidyn’s skin and eyes turned bright yellow. At four months old he went from 16 pounds to 13 pounds in an eight-month span.
“If we could help so nobody has to wait for a transplant, so they could get it when they’re healthy still, it would be amazing,” Tammy said.
Essex MPP Taras Natyshak became a registered donor at the event, which was also attended by Essex Mayor Ron McDermott.
“Fortunately, somebody made the choice to donate their loved one’s organs so that my son could have a chance at life and today we’re here to pay back,” Jeremy said.
For more information or to become a registered donor and help Kaidyn reach his goal go to Beadonor.ca\kaidyns-dream