This week is the National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week, April 21-27 and last year marked record highs for Manitobans who gave back to their community through organ donations.

The Adult Kidney Transplant Program at Health Sciences Centre facilitated 83 kidney transplants to Manitobans.  As well, 30 people donated their organs posthumously to their fellow Manitobans.

Dr. Own Mooney is Medical Director of Transplant Manitoba as well as an adult critical care physician working in the intensive care units in Winnipeg.

Canadian Blood Services heads up a national organ donation campaign through their Leave Well Campaign.  ""The hope is that this inspires all provincial organ organization to share a consistent Leave Well message across the country," shares Dr. Mooney. 

"The Leave Well campaign, it's intent is to speak positively about leaving a legacy. Really, it's about the individual choosing the right thing to do at the end of your life," he explains.

"Its focus is not so much as on the individual donor recipient as in previous campaigns.  In previous organ donor campaigns, it was predominantly focused on those who receive organs, and this is a great way to promote organ donation.  But this is a different focus, this is focusing on the individuals and their families, just regular do-good Canadians and highlighting the importance to register as organ and tissue donors, and to really speak to their families and share the intent of being an organ and tissue donor known to the families."

"It's really a campaign for all Canadians who want to become an organ donor and we'd really like to compel Canadians to learn more, to pay attention, to share and to ask questions, and ultimately register," he adds. "The more information, the more questions asked, I believe benefits all Canadians."

Dr. Mooney says there are currently 70,000 Canadians registered as organ donors.  There are almost 4,000 Canadians waiting for solid organ transplants, and most of these are kidneys.  Over 200 people living in Manitoba are waiting for a new kidney, and about 30 people are waiting for a heart, lung or liver transplants.

"The need far outstrips the supply," shares Dr. Mooney," and that's why these campaigns are so important. We know that over 90% of Canadians support organ donation, and that's kind of a staggering number, and yet only 1/3 of Canadians or 30% are registered as organ donors. So, there is a little bit of a disconnect as far as people's intent and the actual registration."

"You're much more likely to need an organ than to actually be an organ donor," he adds.

Please listen to more with Dr. Owen Mooney below!

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information the stats of 2022 show the need.  Please see the chart below, again from the collection of data from 2022.  The 2023 stats were not available.

  • A total of 2,936 organ transplants were performed in Canada in 2022; 80% of transplants used deceased donor organs and 20% used living donor organs.
    • Of the organs from living donors, 52% were from related donors while 48% were from unrelated donors. 
    • Of the total transplants, 59% were kidney, 20% liver, 12% lung, 5% heart, 2% pancreas and 2% combination transplants. 
  • As of December 31, 2022, a total of 3,777 Canadians were on wait-lists to receive a transplant; 59% were active on wait-lists and 41% were on hold for a short period of time. 
  • In 2022, a total of 701 Canadians were removed from the organ transplant wait-lists; of these, 39% had died while waiting. 

For more information on the Transplant Manitoba Gift of Life program visit their website HERE!