It was a former employee and a donated kidney that brought Jason Silverthorne into the fold of Green Shirt Day.
The national event commemorated the first anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, the traffic accident in Saskatchewan that resulted in the deaths of 16 passengers connected to the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. Thirteen others were injured.
Green Shirt Day’s aim was to “inspire more Canadians to register as organ and tissue donors,” according to a release. Broncos player Logan Boulet registered before dying and six people received those donations. As the news about the donations spread, more than 100,000 Canadians registered as donors.
That act inspired Vancouver-based marketer David Peckham to launch the initiative, recruiting five other individuals to help him organize. Silverthorne, owner of the Roberts Creek graphics shop Vital Signs, was one of those five. He assisted with the initiative’s logo, graphics, banners, sourcing T-shirts and other materials. “[He] found me through an old employee,” said Silverthorne. One of his current employees, Brian Hubenig, created the T-shirt logo.
“I’ve been now schooled on one person can’t make a difference. One person and five other people can make a crazy-ass difference,” said Silverthorne of the experience.
Money raised from the T-shirt sales will be donated to the Canadian Transplant Association. So far $250,000 has been raised, according to Silverthorne. Businesses and organizations on the Sunshine Coast also participated, including TD Bank, which raised more than $2,800 and had 30 people register as donors.
Silverthorne was also inspired to act because of his own experience. Two years ago he was in need of a transplant and his brother-in-law donated the kidney. “Once you have a transplant, you’re embodied with gratitude. I never volunteered a day in my life and that’s all I’m for now, helping people get registered.”
Members of the Boulet family were among the first to wear the T-shirts.