Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Live Kidney Donor Recognition & Education Night April 16

St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto is asking for your help…please see message below.

St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto will be hosting a Live Kidney Donor Recognition and Education Night on Monday, April 16/07. The event will provide an opportunity to publicly acknowledge and give thanks to donors. There have been over 500 living kidney donor transplants performed at St. Michael's since 1973. The planning committee needs your help to contact as many of the donors as possible. If you are a recipient, please forward the name and contact information of your donor to Sharon Lee (416) 864-6060 ext 4173. If you are a donor please contact us so we ensure your name is on the invitation list.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Life a Year - Be a Live Donor

A Life a Year™ is a charitable non-profit foundation presently being formed to help living liver donors with the financial burden that comes with being a living donor. Founder Pat Murray of Toronto started A Life A Year™ after she donated her liver to save another's life at great personal expense through the loss of a minimum of three months salary while recovering from the operation.

Pat hopes that knowing financial help is available will encourage more people to consider live liver donation. There is an urgent need for liver donors with almost 430 people on the waiting list for a liver transplant in Ontario alone.

Here's a bit of information about Pat: She is a mother, a drama teacher and a songstress (jazz vocalist). She heard about another mother, Ally Cassidy, who needed a liver in order to survive. Pat did not even know what a "live donor" was when she met the recipient's husband at a social event. Pat was so taken by Ally's story that she made a decision to donate her liver to Ally, a complete stranger, if she was compatibile. The transplant took place in September, 2006 and five months later both Pat's and Ally's lives have changed forever.

And that's when I came into the picture. Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation was approached by Pat for help and guidance in setting up her foundation and they recommended she talk to me. Now, after meeting both Pat and Ally, my life has been transformed once again. Being with people who are blessed with the spirit of giving to help fellow human beings is an uplifting experience and this is a picture of my first meeting with Pat and Ally. We met over coffee at Starbuck's in Toronto General Hospital last week.

Merv Sheppard, Pat Murray, Ally Cassidy (click for larger picture)
A Life a Year™ is presently applying for a charitable number to issue tax receipts, designing a web site and recording a CD with all proceeds going to the fund. Please watch for further announcements.

For more information e-mail Pat Murray.

You can read Pat's bio at her professional web site. Note: Pat will be the featured vocalist Saturday, February 3rd, 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm at The Rex Hotel Jazz & Blues Bar, 194 Queen St. W., Toronto. She will be performing with her recipient Ally's husband, Bruce Cassidy and his 9-piece band, the Hotfoot Orchestra.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Citizens Panel schedules new public meetings

Further to my previous announcement the Citizen’s Panel on organ donation is conducting a series of new meetings throughout Ontario as follows:

  • Kenora, January 22

  • Thunder Bay, January 23

  • Hearst, January 23

  • Timmins, January 24 (French)

  • Kingston, January 29

  • Toronto, January 30

  • Sudbury (English), January 30

  • Huntsville, January 30

  • Barrie, January 31

  • Hamilton (special meetings – see below), January 31

  • Toronto, (added Toronto meeting - see below) January 31

  • Sudbury (French) February 5

  • Timmins (English) February 6
  • Sturgeon Falls (French) February 6

  • Sault Ste. Marie February 7
  • North Bay, February 7
For meeting times and locations please see the schedule of meetings. You can also complete an on-line surevey at this site or get more information about the panel by calling toll-free 1-866-532-3162.

(3 separate meetings - times and venues are still being arranged)

The panel is very interested in hearing from organ donors and recipients and to that end there will be three separate meetings in Hamilton; one for organ donors, one for organ recipients and another for the general public.

These meetings are being conducted on behalf of the Citizens Panel by Gail Haarsma of Fleishman-Hillard Canada.

Please let Gail know of your intention to attend and she will make sure you are notified of the times and meeting locations.

Phone: 613-234-8960
Cell : 613-286-8623
Fax : 613-238-9380

7:00 .p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Metro-Central YMCA
20 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario
Room 2A/2B, 3rd Floor

Moderators: Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes and Marilyn Kuntz.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bone marrow donors needed

I’m pleased to post this request for bone marrow donors. A marrow or blood cell transplant is a potentially life-saving treatment for patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood diseases. A transplant replaces a patient's unhealthy blood cells with healthy blood-forming cells from a volunteer donor. The three sources of blood-forming cells are marrow, blood-forming cells collected from the blood (called a PBSC donation) and umbilical cord blood. Merv.

"I am currently running an organ donation awareness group here at the University of Ottawa. As a part of our efforts, we would also like to raise awareness about bone marrow donation. There are hundreds of Canadians that need Bone Marrow Transplants to treat life threatening illnesses. Below is a link to information of how you can register to become a donor. The process is easy, you just need to read some information about what is required of the donor, register and you will be contacted shortly to have some blood taken so that your information will be available.

Please take the time to visit the Canadian Blood Services web site to see if you would like to be a Bone Marrow Donor, or send this on to friends and family to get the word out!

Canadian Blood Services

It takes about 20 minutes to join the registry, and then you will be required to go in to get some blood work done. The procedure can be pretty intimidating, but just remember, if you're matched to someone, you'll be saving their life. Only 30% of people who need bone marrow are matched to their family, that leaves a lot of very sick people who need unrelated donors.

Even if you don't think it's something for you, please pass the link along to friends and family to spread the word. Thanks everyone for your support and for your patience!

Gill Bayley”

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Monday, January 22, 2007

Quit smoking - drive away in a car

This news release from Toronto Public Health should help to motivate smokers who want to quit. The new car and wide screen TV's are tempting rewards.

TORONTO, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - For anyone who has made a resolution to quit smoking, the provincial Driven to Quit Challenge, hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society, offers a powerful reason to quit for good - a chance to win a 2007 Acura CSX.

Contest registration starts today, Monday, January 22, during National Non Smoking Week and runs until Wednesday, February 28. Participants must be at least 19 years old, and must be smoke-free for the entire month of March.

The grand prize presentation takes place in April. In addition to the Acura CSX, there are seven regional prizes of Sony widescreen TVs. "Smokers have an opportunity to quit, with the support of thousands of other Driven to Quit Challenge participants," said Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health. "There are many effective quit-smoking resources available."

For more information, contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600, or the Smokers' Helpline at 1-877-513-3333. For contest details or to register, visit the Driven to Quit Challenge website at driventoquit.

For quit smoking tips, visit the Toronto Public Health website at
Toronto health.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Organ donation in New Zealand at an all time low

Howick and Pakuranga Times
Monday, January 22, 2007

Organ donations have hit a record low, according to figures released by the Australia and NZ Organ Donor Registry (ANZOD).

Just 25 organ donors were registered in New Zealand for 2006, down from the previous record low of 29 in 2005.

Prior to 2005, New Zealand averaged 40 organ donors a year, still considered low by international standards.

The figures places this country between Iceland and Mexico for the number of donors it has, at just six donors per million of population.

At the other end of the scale, Spain has 35 donors per million, the United States has 21 and the United Kingdom 10.7.

Up to 400 New Zealanders are on the ANZOD waiting list for organs and many more are waiting for transplantation of corneas, heart valves, bone or skin.

Some people will die while waiting for a heart, lung or liver.

Andy Tookey from GiveLife NZ has campaigned to reform the organ donation system for five years.

Presently family members of donors are asked for consent of organ donation at the time of death and the decision can be overturned.

Mr Tookey says low road tolls and improved medical care have improved critical care outcomes

January 21 to 27 is
National Non-Smoking Week

Smoking rates are dropping but lung cancer deaths are still the leading cause of cancer deaths. And every 11 minutes a Canadian dies from tobacco use; that's more than 37,000 people a year!

Hopefully the Cancer Society's campaign to help Canadians quit smoking will result in a continued drop in smoking rates. Young people just don't realize how devastating smoking can be to their future but the impact sure hits home when you talk to patients on the waiting list for a lung transplant, who are suffering from smoking-related diseases, such as COPD and emphysema.

TORONTO, Jan. 18 /CNW/ - Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. Approximately 23,000 Canadians were diagnosed with lung cancer last year and over 19,300 died from the disease.

"The good news is that the latest tobacco use statistics from Health Canada show a continuing downward trend in smoking among Canadians 15 and older," says Heather Logan, Director, Cancer Control Policy, Canadian Cancer Society. "The bad news is that lung cancer continues to take a huge toll on Canadians. Through our advocacy, education and quit-smoking programs we hope to see these rates continue to drop."

    The Canadian Cancer Society leads the fight against tobacco and our collective efforts across Canada are making a difference:

  • Advocacy: Our advocacy efforts have ensured the implementation of strong effective, tobacco control legislation and policies at all levels of government.

  • Helping Smokers Quit: Developed with input from smokers who have successfully quit, the Canadian Cancer Society offers an innovative step-by-step self-help quit program - called One Step at a Time - for smokers and those who care about them. Watch for the launch of our revised One Step at a Time material later this year.

  • Smokers' Helplines: Available across Canada, a free, confidential telephone support service for smokers trying to quit and the people who support them.

  • Research: Every year the Canadian Cancer Society encourages and funds research that will help to control tobacco use. The Society was a founding partner of the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative, which funds tobacco control research in Canada. The Society provides $500,000 annually to this initiative.

  • Information: We provide Canadians with up-to-date comprehensive information about tobacco, smoking, lung cancer prevention and treatment. We supply this information through print material, our website and our Cancer Information Service.
During National Non-Smoking Week Canadian Cancer Society volunteers and staff will be working coast to coast to promote awareness about important tobacco issues and to encourage Canadians to not smoke or to quit.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and to improve the quality of life of people living with cancer. To find out more about cancer, our quit-smoking programs and materials, visit our website, or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

(Note: You can visit the Smokers Helpline on the web and the toll-free phone helpline is 1 877 513-5333)

    Stats and research

    The facts

  • Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable disease, disability and death in Canada.

  • Cigarette smoking causes about 30 per cent of cancer deaths in Canada and more than 85 per cent of lung cancers.

  • Every 11 minutes, a Canadian dies from tobacco use.

  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.

  • Second-hand smoke is linked to the deaths of more than 1,000 Canadians every year.
Read the full press release

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

SickKids sets a new Canadian record for heart transplants in 2006

TORONTO, Jan. 16 /CNW/ - The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) performed 20 heart transplants on children from across the country in 2006, setting a record for the number of heart transplants performed in a year by a Canadian paediatric transplant centre.

Since the SickKids Cardiac Transplant Program began in 1990, 191 heart transplants have been performed at the hospital, establishing SickKids as one of the largest paediatric heart transplant centres in North America.

As there is no average length of time to receive a heart, the use of leading-edge technology, such as the Berlin Heart (a ventricular assist device system), has allowed SickKids to help children survive longer waits for a suitable donor heart. To date, four patients at SickKids have been assisted by the full press release

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Organ Donor Panel now paying for public input

An Ontario panel tasked with finding out what people think of becoming automatic organ donors is relying on paid focus groups after holding several public meetings across the province where no one showed up.

The panel has held 23 public meetings since it was appointed in November, but chairman Ted Boadway said the hearings were plagued by low turnout. The group is now gauging public opinion by paying for a dozen focus groups and conducting an online survey.

It's not that people don't care about organ donation, but rather the fact the meetings were scheduled to take place before Christmas and people simply didn't have time to attend, Boadway said.

"That's been a disappointment for us," he said. "People have a huge number of things pushed onto their plate each and every day. There's a huge clutter out there and it's very difficult to get through that clutter."

The panel, which has a $1-million budget, is paying a cross-section of people $50 each to discuss organ donation, including the concept of presumed consent, which would effectively make every eligible Ontario resident an automatic organ donor unless they opt out.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Windsor Organ Donor Awareness Events

Windsor, Ontario has a very active group of volunteers promoting Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness. Here's an event they have planned for the first half of the year. Their initiatives to promote organ and tissue donation awareness are to be commended and I encourage you to support their events if you are in the area.

The following announcement is from Tom Awad

To organ recipients and donor families

We run a slo pitch softball tournament here in Windsor each year to promote organ donor awareness. The weekend date is Saturday, June 16th, and Sunday, June 17th, 2007. Because slo pitch is being considered for the Canadian Games in Windsor for 2008 , I am trying to put a team together from all over Ontario to enter the tournament.

We will enter a team in the Men's E division which is more of a fun recreational division or the Co-ed division for men and women, depending on the response.

I would like to have 14-15 players minimum as we are guaranteed to play at least 3 games on the weekend. Hopefully we will get enough responses and have a warm up game for the 2008 Canadian transplant games here in Windsor

The following will be allowed to play:

  • Organ Recipients or members of their families

  • Donor family members

  • Members of hospital staff who work in the ICU units or the transplant floors or TGLN staff

  • Media personalities, as long as they promote our event, and or do cover stories. If we have enough media people we may form a media team, so we recipients will have someone who we can beat

  • Bone marrow recipients also

The cost per player is $ 20.00.

The games are at Mic Mac park here in Windsor and played both Saturday and the Championship will be on Sunday. If we are good team we could end up playing 4 or 5 games in the Tournament.

Americans are invited to bring their own team.

For out of town guests, any one playing will be able to stay at the dorms at St. Clair college for $10.00 the Saturday nite, any accompanying person can stay there also at $ 20.00 for the night.

If There is enough response we will have a fun party Saturday night...somewhere to be determined.

The St. Clair residence is new and the rooms are air conditioned

If an out of province person wants to play , they are most welcome

Any one wishing to participate, please e-mail me or call at 519-944-5760.

This will be a fun tournament.

Please pass this email to any donor or recipient families and media people you may know or ICU MEDICAL STAFF

If you are ENTERING please email your full name and address, include what organ you had transplanted and your age AND PLEASE REPLY by January 15th OR SOONER SO WE CAN MAKE ALL THE ARRANGEMENTS.

The past two years we have had a total of 27 and 29 teams, at our tournament , it would be perfect if we had a trahsplant team ,hopefully we can make up a couple of teams.

The proceeds will go to the CTA organizing committee for the 2008 games.
Do not hesitate to ask any questions-Tom

Thomas Awad, Chair, Sport-Fest Windsor 06
Promoting Organ Donor Awareness
Help turn "Tragedies into Miracles"
by signing your organ donor card.

5165 Colbourne Dr. Windsor, On.
N8T 1T6 Canada

Monday, January 08, 2007

More Ontario hospitals to report potential donors

21 hospitals in Ontario, Canada are now reporting as Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) works to increase donor rates in Ontario

January 8, 2007 - Toronto, ON -Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) announced an expansion of the number of hospitals participating in Routine Notification and Request (RNR) today, ensuring more identification and reporting of potential donors to TGLN's Provincial Resource Centre.

"This is an exciting day for TGLN," said Frank Markel, President and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network. "Expanding RNR to an additional 8 hospitals ensures an increase in accurate identification of potential donors. It also provides an opportunity for eligible families to donate and fulfill their loved one's wishes more often. We had a great deal of success with the first phase of RNR that was implemented last January, and have every reason to believe phase two will mean new hope for all of those people on the waiting list today."

On January 9, 2006, the McGuinty government enacted a section of the Trillium Gift of Life Network Act requiring RNR. In the 10 months following, referrals from hospitals have nearly tripled leading to increases in organ and tissue donation.

Today's announcement means the following hospitals will be participating in RNR: The Scarborough Hospital (Grace Campus & General Campus), St. Mary's General Hospital, Niagara Health System (Douglas Memorial Hospital, Greater Niagara General, Port Colborne General, St. Catharines General and Welland Hospital sites), Royal Victoria Hospital, York Central Hospital, Grand River Hospital, Lakeridge Health Corporation and William Osler Health Centre (Etobicoke General Hospital & Peel Memorial Hospital).

The original 13 hospitals participating in RNR include: Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hospital for Sick Children, Hotel-Dieu Grace (Windsor), Kingston General Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, The Ottawa Hospital, St. Michael's Hospital, Sudbury Regional Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Thunder Bay Regional Hospital, Trillium Health Centre and University Health Network.

Other initiatives TGLN is utilizing to increase organ and tissue donation rates in Ontario are:

  • Introduction and implementation of Donation after Cardiac Death

  • Effective requesting training for all TGLN in-hospital coordinators

  • Adoption of best practices from the United States' "Breakthrough Collaborative"

  • Increased education and awareness of the facts around organ and tissue donation aimed at the general public and healthcare providers

"We will continue working hard at these initiatives so that we can make a difference to the over 1700 people on the waiting list in Ontario today," said Markel.

Today in Ontario, 1737 patients are on the transplant waiting list. Of those, 1100 are men, 637 are women and 37 of those patients are children.

Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario and is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Portuguese speaking transplant patients needed

Shauna McLean of the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation asked me to announce the following request:

"I am involved in coordinating a Portuguese Radiothon raising funds for patient education at UHN (University Health Network, Toronto) and I wondered if you would be able to please put me in touch with any transplant patients who are Portuguese, living in the GTA whom I might interview next Mon, Jan 8 or Tues, Jan 9 here at Toronto Western Hospital. (With permission, we will air interviews during the Radiothon on CHIN Radio's regular Portuguese morning program from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Monday to Saturday, Jan 29 to Feb 3.) Thanks for your consideration, Shauna McLean."

If you are, or know of any Portuguese speaking transplant patients who would be candidates for the following request, please e-mail Shauna. Thanks, Merv.