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Logan’s Story

From a ripple to a swell to a tidal wave.
This one simple idea sent in a tweet from a stranger keeps Toby and Bernie Boulet going through the tough days. The days in which they miss their son so much, they can hardly breathe. 21-year-old Logan lost his life with 15 others in the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy on April 6, 2018. But he was able to become an organ donor, saving the lives of six people and sparking a national movement known as the Logan Boulet Effect. That movement inspired more than 100,000 Canadians to register as organ donors – so many registrations that it’s difficult to track how many lives have been saved.

“As the year went on, we realized we were becoming the voice of the angel donors. There are families where their child passes away, or their dad passes away, and they become an angel donor family. No one knows who they are. They have no voice,” says Toby. “The Humboldt tragedy pushed Logan’s donation into the spotlight, and we felt we had a duty to speak on behalf of other families. People have messaged us privately and said, ‘thank you for speaking for us’.”

The ripple actually began long before the devastating bus crash. On June 27, 2017, Logan’s mentor Ric Suggitt was driving his daughter to swim club in Lethbridge when he grabbed his head and suddenly pulled over, saying to his 12-year-old, “I’m so sorry, call your mom.” Ric had suffered a brain hemorrhage. His wife Jenn and their three children were given the news no one wants to hear – there was no activity in his brain. Jenn Suggitt turned to her children and said, “Dad isn’t going to make it. But we have an opportunity to save someone else’s life.” Ric’s donation saved the lives of five Canadians. As close family friends, the Boulets were devastated by Ric’s sudden passing.

Later that summer, Logan told his dad, “One day, I want to become a donor, just like Ric.” No one ever imagined Logan would fulfill that wish so soon.

“What will we miss? Him getting married, having kids, what he could have done as a coach…the things he never got to do that he wanted to do.” Through tears, Toby and Bernie reflect on what it means to lose Logan at such a young age. “He would have been an amazing coach, an amazing father.”

For Ric Suggitt’s ripple to become a wave, the Boulet family needed to step up into the spotlight at the worst time of their lives. And they did. Toby and Bernie made their first formal presentation on their experience at The Kidney Foundation’s Gala in Saskatoon in October. “What made it good was to share my stories about Logan. I got to talk about my son,” says Bernie. “People were so kind, thoughtful, understanding and grateful. People began to hear our story … Logan’s story … to hear the impact of his donation … to feel the ripple effect.”

Since then Toby, Bernie, and their daughter Mariko have travelled across Canada, presenting at Kidney Foundation Galas in Northern Alberta and B.C., as well as dropping the puck in Lethbridge for The Kidney Foundation’s special series RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.

Throughout they have unfailingly shared a simple message: “Have that kitchen table talk with your family. Make sure they know your wishes about organ donation,” says Toby. “We know firsthand how important that is.”

Bernie can’t believe how far word has spread. And how the impact of one small decision has sparked a national movement. “It started with Ric, then Logan, then the wave across Canada. But it goes so much farther than that. Getting a transplant has a huge impact on the recipient and their entire family!

So, the ripple effect goes forward for generations,” says Bernie with a quiet smile. “The Logan Boulet Effect has resonated with Canadians because they want something good to come out of this tragedy,” says Toby. “That’s the story people will remember. That’s the story going forward.”