Thursday, September 28, 2006

$20,000 raised for lung transplant research at Toronto General Hospital

click for larger picture The golf committee presenting funds raised: L-R Merv Sheppard, Peter Laurence, Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Director Lung Transplant Program, Toronto General Hospital, Kim Cassar, Tracey Jack and Dr. Lianne Singer, Medical Director, Lung Transplant Program. Missing is committee member Carol Devlin

View all the photos

The June 7, 2006 golf tournament to raise funds for lung transplant research at Toronto General Hospital was a huge success and our committee was pleased to present the check at an open lung transplant support group meeting September 27th.

Hospital staff and other guests joined the capacity audience of lung transplant patients to celebrate the event. Special thanks go to Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation for their help and support in making the tournament a success.

Mark your calendars for next year. Thursday, June 7th, Granite Ridge Golf Club, Milton, Ontario.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Special event this Wednesday at Toronto General Hospital

Date: Wednesday, September 27th, 2006 - 11 A.M. Open Lung Transplant Support Group meeting in Toronto.

Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Director, Toronto Lung Transplant Program, will attend and be presented a check by organizers of the Lung Transplant Golf Tournament fundraiser for lung transplant research. The June 7th event was very successful and a substantial amount was raised.

We are hoping for a good turnout to show support for Dr. Keshavjee and the lung transplant team.

All support group meetings are at 11am in the Fujisawa Conference Room, 11th floor west, Room 1135 NCSB.
(NCSB - New Clinical Services Building, Toronto General Hospital - take elevators from University Avenue lobby)

This is an open meeting and all transplant patients, their supports and staff are invited. Refreshments will be served.
NB This will be a non-cepacia meeting due to the needs of the presenters.

I look forward to seeing you there. Merv.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Brief intermission

I'll be away for a few days. Regular posts will resume when I return. Meanwhile, please browse the previous posts, photo gallery and other links. Thanks, Merv.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Trillium Gift of Life Network launches Celebrity Awareness Campaign

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Trillium Gift of life Network President and CEO, Frank Markel (from left); Volunteer and organ (liver) recipient, Gary Cooper; Kidney Patient, Rick Prestige; Ontario Medical Association President, Dr. David Bach; and Organ and Tissue Donation Coordinator, Sandra Petzel, in Thunder Bay, Friday, September 15, 2006, help launch the newest Celebrity Awareness Campaign poster featuring Paul Shaffer. (CCNMATTHEWS PHOTO/Trillium Gift of Life Network)

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 18, 2006) - Paul Shaffer along with celebrities from across the country are showing their support for organ donation by lending their names and faces to a Celebrity Awareness Campaign launched in Thunder Bay today by Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) with the assistance of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).

"Today in Thunder Bay we are launching the Paul Shaffer poster. It's part of a campaign to get Ontarians talking to their loved ones about their organ donation wishes," said Frank Markel, President and CEO of TGLN. "According to a recent Ipsos-Reid survey, 93 percent of Ontarians support organ donation. But we also know that the consent rate in this province is only 48 percent. The reason we hear time and again that eligible families don't consent to donation is because they don't know what their loved one would have wanted. This campaign is designed to change that. We want to get people talking about their organ donation wishes today. And we want to thank all of the celebrities who have joined us to make this such a great success, we are truly honoured to have them with us on this important mission."...full press release

Friday, September 15, 2006

Five Points of Life Ride

Click for larger picture

Pictured are team members and guest speakers.
View all the photos

Yesterday was a moving experience for me as I had an opportunity to be part of a media event for the Five Points of Life Ride to promote organ, tissue and blood donation. Trillium Gift of Life Network and Canadian Blood Services both were present to support this wonderful initiative.

The Five Points of Life ride is a cycling event raising awareness of the neeed for five areas of lifesaving donations: Whole Blood, apheresis, bone marrow, cord blood, organs & tissues.

I met with members of the cycling team during their stopover at Toronto General Hospital and was overwhelmed by their dedication and ability to cycle all the way from Ottawa to Miami Beach, some 1500 miles. All were either recipients or donors in one way or another. Perry McGriff, co-founder of the Five Points of Life Ride, really impressed me. He is cycling with the team at age 69. It's got me wondering if there might be an opportunity for me in the future. I'm now motivated to get my bikes out and start training!

Team members will spend six weeks on bicycles, traveling from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Miami's South Beach in Florida. Each team member, selected through an application process, has a personal story about how donation has impacted his or her life.

The Five Points of Life Ride consists of a small team of 8 cyclists and support crew. Each member is selected for their personal connection to one or more of the five points. The route crosses the country, with stops in communities along the way at activities and events hosted by local donor organizations. Team members meet with donors, patients, community leaders and media. School assemblies, donor drives, formal presentations, hospital visits, proclamations, and media interviews are key components of the ride.

Three support vehicles accompany the team serving as baggage carriers, repair shops, snack bars, and when storms occur, transportation. Visit the Five Points of Life web site for more information and a Map of the cycle

One in two Canadians will need blood for themselves or for close family members in their lifetime. One blood donation has the potential to save or improve up to three lives. Canadian Blood Services must recruit 80,000 new blood donors this year to meet the increasing hospital demand for blood.

Apheresis is a process that removes plasma and platelets — the blood component that controls bleeding- to treat heart surgery patients, and other patients with leukemia, cancer, aplastic anemia and in heart surgery. Platelets have a short shelf life of five days.

bone marrow
Each year, hundreds of Canadians need bone marrow transplants to treat potentially lifethreatening illnesses. Canadian Blood Services manages the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry (UBMDR) in Canada with the exception of Quebec. Fewer than 30 per cent of these patients will be able to find a family member who has compatible bone marrow. In most cases, an unrelated donor is the only available source of bone marrow. Canada and the U.S. have a long history of cooperation.

cord blood
Umbilical cord blood contains a high concentration of stem cells at birth. Saving them offers another transplant option for people, especially children who have been diagnosed with leukemia, anemias and other disorders.

organs & tissues
4,000 Canadians are waiting for an organ transplant, including 1,755 men, women and children who live here in Ontario. Every three days, someone dies waiting for an organ transplant. While public opinion polling indicates four out of five Canadians support organ and tissue donation, consent rates are below 50 per cent.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Current events

Now that we're back at our desks after the summer break it's time to mark our calendars for the important organ donation and fund raising events scheduled for the remainder of the year. Please note the following and check the links for more information:

  • Labor Day Classic. Labor day has passed but we want to acknowledge the Hamilton Tiger Cat football team's support by providing a huge opportunity to promote organ donation awareness during the opening ceremonies of the game between Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton. See the photos

  • Five Points of Life Ride Cyclists will be traveling from Ottawa to Miami to raise donation awareness. Stops in Ottawa, Sept. 8/06, Toronto, Sept. 14/06 and London, Sept. 16/06. Please read the announcement and come out to support the riders if you can make it. Thanks.

  • Special presentation Wed., Sept. 27/06 at an open lung transplant support group meeting, Toronto General Hospital. Organizers of the Transplant Open golf fundraiser for lung transplant research will be presenting a substantial check to Dr. Shaf Keshavjee. Let's have a good turnout in support of Dr. Keshavjee and the lung transplant team at Toronto General Hospital.

  • Annual Bake & Craft Sale This annual fundraiser for the lung transplant program is Thursday, October 19, 2006 at Toronto General Hospital, Robert R. McEwen Atrium entrance (585 University Ave) 9:00AM – 5:00PM.

  • Annual Lung Transplant Xmas Party Wednesday, December 6, 2006 - 10AM to 2PM.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Five Points of Life Ride

Trillium Gift of Life Network, (TGLN) Ontario, Canada has announced they are pleased to support an exciting event being organized by Canadian Blood Services and a US organization called LifeSouth - The Five Points of Life Ride. Cyclists will be riding from Ottawa to Miami.

Special events will take place as riders pass through the Canadian cities of Ottawa Ottawa (Sept. 8th), Toronto (Sept. 14th) and London (Sept. 16th) as described below. TGLN has asked for a good turnout to cheer the riders on to show support for donation and the cycling team. I'll be at the Toronto event.

The Five Points of Life Ride is an annual bike ride which is being launched from Canada for the first time this year and ends in Miami's South Beach where the team will be part of the keynote address at the 2006 American Association of Blood Banks meeting.

The ride's focus is to raise awareness for the five ways we can share life with others through donation of blood, apheresis, marrow, organ/tissue and cord blood. The cycling team consists of amateur cyclists who each have a personal connection to one or more of the Five Points as donors, recipients or in some cases, both.

The team acts as messengers for the program sharing their experiences and the reason why it is so important to donate. As they travel along the route, they stop at events arranged by local donor organizations to share their stories and, hopefully, inspire more people to become donors. Riders come as far away as South Africa and events range in terms of size, location and spirit.

You can read more about the event at: Five Points of Life

Here is a list of events taking place during the Ontario leg of the ride.

Ottawa has been selected by LifeSouth as the official kick-off site for the ride!
Date: Friday, September 8th

Time: 10am - 11am

Location: Parliament Hill - by the main steps

Event Details: Speakers from LifeSouth, Canadian Blood Services, Trillium Gift of Life and local politicians and VIPs will be on hand to cheer on the cyclists as they embark on their journey across Ontario and the US. Volunteers are asked to come out to help send off the cycling team in true Canadian style! You are encouraged to bring along your bikes so you can ride a portion of the ride through Ottawa - for as long or as short as you like. As this will be a media event, we hope that all of our volunteers in the Ottawa area can come with their bikes and bring along friends and family members who are also champions of donation and transplantation.


Date: Thursday, September 14th
Time: 10am - 11am

Location: Toronto General Hospital - Peter Munk Cardiac Centre Entrance (main entrance off of University Ave.)

Event Details: The cycling team will be dropping by TGH to speak about their experiences with donation and the Ride for Life. Frank Markel, TGLN President and CEO along with other speakers will emphasize the connection between organ and tissue and blood donation. TGLN would appreciate as many volunteers, friends and family as possible to come out to the event to show their support for donation and the cycling team.

Date: Saturday, September 16th
Time: 10am - 11am
Location: Canadian Blood Services Clinic - 840 Commissioners Road East

Event Details: The cycling team will be biking to the clinic to thank the blood donors for their generous donations. They will also be speaking about the connection between organ and tissue and blood donation. Dr. William Wall, Director of the Multi-Organ Transplant Program will be among the speakers talking about the critical need for organ, tissue and blood donation and Recipient and Donor quilts will be displayed. TGLN would appreciate as many volunteers, friends and families as possible to come out to the event to show their support for donation and the cycling team.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Organ Donation Awareness gets a big boost at the football game on Labor Day

The Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League hosted this annual classic matchup with the Toronto Argonauts. Tiger Cat management graciously provided Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) this venue to promote organ donation awareness.

Volunteers from TGLN, who were transplant recipients, donors or donor families, were issued special T-shirts and paraded onto the field to be recognized before the game started. See Photos. Other volunteers and their guests were also invited however only transplant recipients, donors and donor families took part in the on-field activities. Although the final score of the game was Toronto 40, Hamilton 6, the Tiger Cats deserve a big round of applause for their support of organ donation awareness.

Dr. Frank Markel, President and CEO, Trillium Gift of Life Network, was interviewed on the field before the start of the game and he very eloquently stressed the need for organ donation while the Jumbotron screen featured our group on the field and the sign your donor card message.

This event is another in the continuing recent initiatives by TGLN to boost organ and tissue donation awareness in Ontario. What really impressed me was how the TGLN staff showed their dedication by taking time from their Labor Day holiday to attend the event. In addition to Dr. Markel I spoke with TGLN management people Jennifer Tracey, Cailey Crawford and Brian Kellow.

The need for organ donation in Ontario is very clear from these statistics taken from Trillium Gift of Life's website. To date, 597 transplants have been performed in the Province and 1751 patients are still waiting for their "Gift of Life".

Year to date transplants performed by organ with the waiting list in brackets.

  • Liver - From Deceased Donors 101 (443)

  • Liver - From Living Donors 36 (incl. above)

  • Heart 51 (33)

  • Kidney- From Deceased Donors 181 (1138)

  • Kidney- From Living Donors 149 (incl. above)

  • Lung 56 (48)

  • Heart - Lung 1 (5)

  • Pancreas 2 (27)

  • Small Bowel 2 (5)

  • Kidney - Pancreas 18 (52)


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Have a nice Labor Day weekend!

I'm away from the computer for a few days to enjoy the last weekend of summer, doing such things as attending a family BBQ today and enjoying a football game on Monday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too, in spite of the weather. Merv.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Health Canada Endorsed Important Safety Information on Rapamune (sirolimus)


Subject: New clinical study information has shown that the anti-rejection drug combination of Rapamune® (sirolimus), mycophenolate mofetil* and corticosteroids, in combination with interleukin-2 receptor antibody induction, is associated with an increased risk of acute rejection in new kidney transplant patients if used from the time of transplant.

Markham, ON, August 22, 2006 -
Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Division of Wyeth Canada, in consultation with Health Canada, wishes to provide Canadian kidney transplant patients with new safety information regarding an increased risk of rejection in new kidney transplant recipients receiving a combination of anti-rejection drugs. Specifically this involves Rapamune®, mycophenolate mofetil, and corticosteroids, used in combination with interleukin-2 receptor antibody induction. This information was discovered in the course of two clinical studies conducted to determine if this combination therapy would provide better kidney function after transplantation.

The results of these two clinical studies have shown a higher rate of acute rejection in kidney transplant patients who received the investigational combination of drugs compared to patients receiving the usual standard therapy, which includes cyclosporine or tacrolimus, following kidney transplantation.

It is important to note that these results apply only to the specific combination of drugs studied in these clinical trials. In Canada, Rapamune® is authorized for the prevention of rejection only in patients who have received kidney transplants, and must be used in combination with other anti-rejection drugs (such as cyclosporine or tacrolimus) in the period immediately following transplantation. Such patients should continue to use Rapamune® as prescribed.

Patients taking Rapamune® should not discontinue or change their medication without discussion with their transplant physician.

Wyeth has sent a letter to transplant physicians informing them of this new safety information. A copy of the Healthcare professional letter and this communication are available on the Health Canada website.