Members of the Grand River Hospital community understand how organ and tissue donation can save lives, and are encouraging others to speak to loved ones about the importance of life-saving donations.
MRI team lead and technologist Diana Brodrecht has passionately advocated for organ and tissue donation after the death of her husband.
“Collin suffered a devastating heart attack in April 2017. He was removed from life support 11 days later due to an anoxic brain injury. He was able to be an organ and tissue donor,” Diana explained. “Knowing that he was able to help others has helped me and our children in our grieving and the healing process. The support I received from staff members at Grand River Hospital, St. Mary’s General Hospital and Trillium Gift of Life was exceptional.”
Susan McKenzie of Grand River Hospital Foundation is a recipient of a donated kidney due to a genetic kidney impairment, while her daughter has also benefited from a living donor transplant. Susan co-founded the Transplant Ambassador Program. It connects patients with kidney disease at GRH with transplant recipients to speak about organ donation from loved ones.
“When I was blindly moving through the stages of kidney disease, I was fortunate enough to find a person through a club I belonged to who had had a similar experience, and was willing to meet with me and share her knowledge and experience about whatever kidney related question or issue I was struggling with at the time. She became a life line for me and I didn’t have to burden my family with questions they couldn’t answer,” explained Susan.
“When my daughter was going through kidney failure two years ago, she had me to talk to. I know that made her experience less frightening, and helped lead her to the best possible outcome for a kidney patient which is a pre-emptive living donor transplant.”
Both Diana and Susan are grateful for Grand River Hospital receiving its third consecutive Provincial Conversion Rate Award from Trillium Gift of Life Network. The award recognizes hospitals that work closely with patients and families to support organ and tissue donation, and pays tribute to the work of front line care providers in helping make life-saving donations a reality.
“In 2017-2018, nine organ donors from Grand River Hospital supported 30 transplant recipients and another 55 people who required tissue donations,” said Judy Linton, vice president of clinical services and chief nursing executive at Grand River Hospital. “I’m grateful for the patients, families and care providers whose consent, understand and care during very difficult times helped to give life to others in need of transplants.”
“We are proud to acknowledge the important contributions of our hospital partners because the success of organ and tissue donation in Ontario relies on their hard work and dedication,” said Ronnie Gavsie, President and CEO, Trillium Gift of Life Network. “This award reflects the continued commitment of Grand River Hospital to implement donation best practices and offer families the opportunity to make a life-saving choice.”
In Ontario, more than 1,500 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. This is their only treatment option, and every three days someone will die because they did not get their transplant in time.
One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and enhance the lives of 75 others through tissue donation. Age does not disqualify someone from becoming a donor. Current or past medical history does not prevent anyone from registering to be a donor.