Each year for the past four, Green Shirt Day takes place on April 7, a testament to the life of former Humboldt Bronco Logan Boulet and his decision to become an organ donor prior to the bus crash that claimed his life.
No one could have predicted the phenomenon that would follow in the wake of his decision and his parents' commitment to the cause. Now, on the fourth anniversary of the crash and the fateful day after that saw Logan succumb to his injuries, countless lives are owed to the movement started by the Boulet’s to see Canadians become aware of the power of organ donation.
Since that time, much has been written about the Logan Boulet Effect which saw organ donations rise exponentially as a country-wide, even worldwide movement took hold. While Green Shirt Day carried on through 2020, the impact of the pandemic, and the inability for most transplant procedures to proceed, spelled a challenge. Logan’s father, Toby Boulet, along with his wife Bernadine and their daughter Mariko, championed the cause throughout the pandemic.
“Most transplant recipients are immunocompromised,” explains Boulet, “So they couldn’t do things like you and I do, like go outside and meet people. So it really slowed down a lot of what was going on.”
In response, the Canadian Transplant Association initiated a committee, including membership from six provinces, to set up events across the country so as many as possible could participate.
Individuals across the country registered to become organ donors, but the challenges presented by COVID meant that many transplant surgeries were simply not possible. Emerging from the pandemic, pressures are being brought to bear that will see surgeries resume in increased numbers.
Boulet explains that coming out of the pandemic presented a bit of an opportunity for a refresh, and that meant some adjustments to the logo.
“With Green Shirt Day, my wife and I are adamant that the Humboldt Broncos are always in the logo. So this year’s logo, on the yellow, there’s two ribbons similar to the logo the Saskatchewan Roughriders put out with the Humboldt hockey stick. We want to make sure that people know we honour and respect the community of Humboldt, the Broncos, and anybody connected.”
The Boulets acknowledge the interruption that COVID presented to the process of organ gathering and transplants. The inability for transplants to happen means that registry is even more critical to rebuild the momentum that preceded COVID. For that reason, Toby encourages people to register in an effort to ensure a needed supply of transplant organs as procedures resume.
“The online registration process in Saskatchewan is really working well, and that makes it so much easier for people in Saskatchewan to become a registered organ donor.”
Of course, part of the Logan Boulet Effect has come through the iconic Green Shirts, green the symbolic colour of organ donation. While dedicated green wear is available through the Green Shirt Day website, Toby says it doesn’t matter where the shirt originated, just wear green.
“If you don’t have an official Green Shirt Day shirt, it doesn’t matter - just wear green. Use your left over St. Patty’s day shirt, but make sure you wash it,” laughs Boulet.
Tomorrow, we’ll conclude our visit with Toby Boulet on Green Shirt Day as he explains his continued Saskatchewan connections, the Logan Boulet Golf Tournament, and of course, the importance of registering as an organ donor and becoming part of the Logan Boulet Effect.