Hospital Encourages Community to Register as Organ and Tissue Donors

National Organ and Tissue Donation Week 2019
Bailey Collins lost her father, Nick Girardin, in November 2018. Nick was an organ and tissue donor who's generousity saved five lives. Bailey and her family joined Hospital staff on April 23, 2019 to help celebrate National Organ and Tissue Donation Week and honour Nick Girardin's legacy.

This week, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (the Hospital) is joining others to raise awareness about the critical need for more organ and tissue donors in our community and across the country.

National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week – along with the rest of Canada – takes place from April 21-27, and is an opportunity to not only celebrate donors and transplantation but to also raise awareness about organ and tissue donation, and to encourage people to register as donors if they haven’t already.

Today, more than 1,600 people in Ontario are on the waitlist for a lifesaving organ transplant, and every three days someone will die without one. Some patients have been on dialysis for years; others are waiting for lungs to breathe on their own again; while others have burns so severe that they require skin grafts. The Hospital is committed to helping increase the number of registered donors.

“Organ and tissue donations are life-saving and life-enhancing,” said Jean Bartkowiak, President and CEO of the Hospital and CEO of the Health Research Institute. “The dedication of our staff, physicians and volunteers to ensuring that organ and tissue donations are a vital tool to help us provide exceptional patient care for Northwestern Ontario.”

In 2018, a total of 26 lives were saved at the Hospital because of the generosity of six organ donors. Those donors allowed for eleven kidney transplants, three lung transplants, six liver transplants, five prancreas transplants and one heart transplant.

By registering to become a donor, you can have the power to save or change someone’s life. One organ donor can save up to eight lives and enhance as many as 75 more through the gift of tissue.

“By registering your consent, you are making the caring and selfless decision to try and help save other lives after your death through organ and tissue donation”, said Kiley Perrier, Trillium Gift of Life Network’s Organ and Tissue Donation Coordinator at the Hospital. “By recording your wishes now and talking with your family, you are relieving them of the burden of making this decision on your behalf.”

Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario. TGLN plans, promotes, coordinates and supports organ and tissue donation and transplantation across Ontario. TGLN provides Ontarians with tools and supports to help them make informed decisions around organ and tissue donation for transplantation. They also work closely with the health care professionals at the Hospital to support families grieving the loss of a loved one and guide them through the donation process.

National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week provides an ideal opportunity to consider becoming an organ and tissue donor. Have the conversation with your loved ones and make a difference in the lives of others. Find out more and register at It only takes two minutes to potentially save or enhance many lives.