Four transplant patients tell their story: new organs are life-changing

UHN set a record number of transplants in the last year: 581.

This new record includes the first hand transplant in Canada performed at Toronto Western Hospital in January.

National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week 2016

April 17 – April 23, 2016

Across Ontario, the numbers are equally dramatic:

  • 1,600 people in Ontario are on the waiting list for a transplant
  • Every three days someone in Ontario dies waiting for a transplant
  • 295 is the record number of organ donors in Ontario, reached in 2015
  • One organ donor can save eight lives
  • 29 per cent of Ontarians have registered to be an organ donor
  • To register to be an organ and tissue donor, visit

To mark National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week, the following is happening at UHN:

Toronto Western Hospital

  • Monday April 18, – 12 p.m., 2nd floor auditorium – a pizza lunch and a presentation by tissue recipient Ralph Walker. Walker will speak about his experience of becoming a tissue recipient after surviving third degree burns on over 75 per cent of his body in an accident.
  • Wednesday April 20 and Friday April 22, – 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Booths will be set up in front of Shoppers Drug Mart providing information, “beadonor” items and a raffle for items from local businesses.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

  • Wednesday April 20, – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.: an information booth where one can also register to be an organ donor.

Toronto General Hospital

  • Monday April 18 – Friday April 22, – 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Information booths will be set up in the in Eaton lobby where one can also register to be an organ donor.
  • Thursday, April 21, – Meet members of the Dragon Boat Team at the booth. They are are all organ recipients and compete in the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival.

Staff and visitors carrying their health cards can register to be an organ and tissue donor at the booths listed above.

Every life saved through a transplant starts with just one click.

Register to be an organ and tissue donor online at

Written by UHN News


Image of winning team holding Dragons’ Den plaque along with Dr. Atul Humar and Segun Famure

Image of winning team holding Dragons’ Den plaque along with Dr. Atul Humar and Segun Famure

A web-based app to help patients see in seconds where they are in their evaluation process for a kidney transplant has won this year’s Dragons’ Den competition in the Multi-Organ Transplant Program Student Research Training Program (MOTSRTP).

The team expects their app, which can also be used on a Smart phone, to be pilot-tested by staff and patients within the next few months.

The nine-member student team was chosen by the transplant program audience after battling it out with another team who presented an interactive web information hub for those interested in learning more about kidney transplants.

The winners received a plaque and year-long championship “bragging rights.”

“It’s refreshing to hear the innovative ideas of students who go beyond conventional approaches,” says Dr. Joe Kim, Co-Director of the Kidney Transplant Program.

Dragons’ Den: innovation amongst students

“Creating an online patient portal will empower our patients to manage their own heath, and help them become our ‘Partners in Care’ – one of the major goals at UHN.”

My Kidney Path, the winning project, aims to improve the kidney transplant evaluation process by decreasing the time for patients from referral to listing for transplant. Typically, patients can spend from six to 12 months in this pre-transplant phase, with this project aiming to cut this time by half.


This in turn would allow the program to do more kidney transplants each year. At present, the program does approximately 160 transplant annually.

The team mapped out a new and cost-effective way of standardizing the process in which patient information is entered into and displayed in the transplant data system. This would help both staff and patients get at-a-glance reports and pinpoint exactly what still needs to be done to complete an assessment. Automatic updates can also be generated, along with explanations of tests and medical terms.

“Patients can be more involved and motivated in their own care if they have the information they need at their fingertips,” says team lead Franz Marie Gumabay, a research assistant in the Student Research Training Program. “We want to make it easy for patients.”

Begun in 2011, the annual Dragons’ Den competition in Healthcare Innovation gives students at various levels – from high school to graduate students – opportunities to work as a team to develop research projects with staff and patients and other organizations that significantly improve the experience of patients in the Multi-Organ Transplant Program. Students must apply to the Research Training Program.

Supervised by Segun Famure, Co-Director of the MOTSRTP, both projects this year were so well received by staff they will continue after the competition. Both developed innovative ways in which to engage and educate patients about the benefits of receiving a kidney transplant from the Multi Organ Transplant Program at TGH.

The Kidney Path project was developed as part of a Master’s Research Project by Sonia Seto, a student in the Biomedical Communications Program at the University of Toronto. ​


Written by UHN News