Remembering donors, celebrating milestones with transplant recipients

Monday, April 24, 2017 - National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (NOTDAW) is marking two decades of raising awareness about the gift of life. For one Manitoba woman, it truly is a time to celebrate.

“Just to be able to have the freedom to do what I want to is a gift,” said Kathy Urban, a recent retiree, a wife, active volunteer and a 15-year kidney recipient. “If I hadn’t received a kidney, my life would have been very different.”

NOTDAW was developed to focus attention on organ and tissue donation by encouraging Canadians to register their intent to donate and to have the donation conversation with loved ones. Currently more than 19,000 Manitobans have said yes to organ and tissue donation by declaring their intent to donate using Manitoba’s online organ and tissue donor registry In honour of NOTDAW and the registry’s fifth year, the province of Manitoba is officially proclaiming this week National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week.

“The gift of life is the ultimate act of generosity,” said Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living Kelvin Goertzen. “I encourage all Manitobans to discuss organ and tissue decisions with your family, then visit today to register and make your wishes known.”

To give Manitobans a visual reminder, the canopy at The Forks will be joining other landmarks across the country and be lit green for the week. Green is the designated colour of organ and tissue donation and symbol of hope.

“This is the perfect time to have the conversation about organ and tissue donation with your family,” said Lori Lamont, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. “Having the conversation when people are not in a crisis situation gives families the opportunity to talk about their choices and listen to what all family members would want to do.”

Knowing if a loved one wishes to be an organ and tissue donor is important. If a person is in a situation where donation is possible, family members will be asked about donation. If the person has registered on, those decisions would be provided to the family.

“Our team meets families during an incredibly difficult time in their lives,” said Dr. Faisal Siddiqui, a Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life physician. “Despite dealing with loss and grief, many families tell us the opportunity to consider organ and tissue donation offers a small window of hope. If organ and tissue donation is important to you, talk to your family and declare your intent at”