We set a record in B.C. for giving the gift of life

A whopping 502 British Columbians received a transplant in 2018, setting a new record for the total number of transplants in a calendar year.

With 122 deceased donors in 2018, B.C. exceeded by one the record pace of 2017, translating into a donor rate of 24.9 per million people, an increase of 71 per cent compared to five years ago.

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“I’m proud to celebrate the selfless act of donation from so many British Columbians,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix, in a news release. “This record number of transplants is a testament to the spirit of our residents, who gave the greatest gift of all last year — the chance at a new life for others.”

A new kidney transplant milestone was also reached last year with 339 transplants, thanks to renewed efforts on kidney donors, according to a news release.

Corey Nislow was one of those living kidney donors. The UBC professor donated to a complete stranger in 2018. Four months later, he ran a marathon.

“Donating a kidney has had a very positive impact on my quality of life, from an emotional point of view,” Nislow said. “It’s frankly something I am very proud to have done, it makes me feel good.”

There were also 28 heart transplants in 2018 (tying the record set in 2016), 50 lung transplants and 77 liver transplants.

“I am so grateful for the generosity of not one, but two families who have had the strength to say yes to organ donation in the midst of tragedy,” says Katie Welsh, Canada’s first pediatric heart-transplant recipient in 1987. She underwent her second heart transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital last year. “I am a mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend because of them.”

There were 512 hospital referrals to the 24/7 BC Transplant clinical referral line in 2018, nearly triple the numbers from five years ago.

There are currently more than 1.35 million British Columbians who have registered their wishes to be an organ donor. As of Jan. 1, 669 people are still waiting for an organ transplant in B.C.

For more information, visit transplant.bc.ca.


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