NOTDAW 2020 maintains the message – You have the green light to save a life

April 20, 2020 - April heralds the coming of spring and with it a sense of renewal and purpose – a perfect time to highlight what organ and tissue donation is capable of.

Every April organ and tissue donation organizations across Canada recognize National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (NOTDAW) by shining a light on the power and beauty that is donation. In 2018, 762 Canadians offered a gift of life to others in need providing hope and a second chance at life.

In 2019, Manitoba simplified the donor registration process by moving it entirely online and eliminating paper donor cards. During a press conference with Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life and Tissue Bank Manitoba, the Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living Cameron Friesen encouraged Manitobans to have life-saving conversations with their families and to mark their intent to be donors using the province’s registry, which is now entirely online.

“For years, Manitobans have signed the donor card attached to their health card and then tucked it away without sharing their important decision with loved ones,” said Friesen.  “Online registration is so simple and this selfless decision has the ability to save lives.  We encourage Manitobans to have open discussions with their families and to record those decisions securely online at”

Dean, a two-time heart recipient and his wife Cathy were part of the announcement. “The generosity of others has given me a second – and a third – chance at life. Through the gift of donation, I have been able to enjoy watching my children grow over the last two decades,” said Dean. “I am a grandfather now because not just one, but two families, had a conversation and said yes to organ donation. I am so grateful for these gifts.”

This year NOTDAW runs from April 19 – 25. To continue sharing the message about having important conversations, the gift agencies will be using photos from past campaigns to highlight a simple fact – You have the green light to save a life – on Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life’s social media platforms. Using a green light bulb and team members, plus some incredible volunteers, these individuals are sharing why organ and tissue donation is important to them.

Since launched in 2012, online registration has steadily increased, with a record 11,400 Manitobans signing up on the secure site in 2018, followed by another in 11,800 in 2019. The registry is on track to reach 50,000 registered Manitobans in 2020 – which is very fitting. This year Manitoba recognizes 50 years of organ donation and kidney transplantation in the province after the first transplant in November 1969. Over the last 50 years, the Adult and Pediatric Kidney Transplant Programs performed more than 1,700 kidney transplants, including 607 living kidney donor transplants performed in the province since 1971.