The Living Proof
Canadian Transplant Association www.organ-donation-works.org
World Transplant Games
Göteborg, Sweden June 2011
The Homecoming Celebration
Remembering Tom Quinet
A Treasured Memory
A Tale from Down Under
Issue #34 Fall 2011
Inside This Issue ...
President’s Corner ...................................................................................... 3
Thanks ........................................................................................................... 4
The Homecoming Celebration .............................................................. 7
Remembering Tom Quinet ..................................................................... 8
World Transplant Games
Göteborg, Sweden June 2011 ................................................................ 9
My First World Games ........................................................................... 12
Canadian Transplant Association – Saskatchewan Region
Family Picnic June 5, 2011 .................................................................... 12
President – David Smith
Putting My New Kidney to Good Use .............................................. 13
Vice-President – Margaret Benson A Treasured Memory .............................................................................. 14
Second Kidney March Marks 20th Anniversary
Treasurer – Debbie Lanktree for Kidney Recipient ............................................................................... 15
An Australian Transplant Recipient’s Story ................................... 16
Secretary – Kathy Tachynski
firstname.lastname@example.org Heather Fisher – Nurse, Counselor, Team Manager
and Sports Woman ................................................................................. 17
Membership Director – Neil Folkins
email@example.com Back in the Game .................................................................................... 18
Team Manager – Heather Fisher My Second Family ................................................................................... 19
Canadian Transplant Games 2012 ..................................................... 19
WTGF Councillor – Heather Fisher
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Neil Folkins, Membership Director, c/o 11649 St Albert Trail NW, Edmonton, AB T5M 3L6
David Smith, Kidney Recipient, Edmonton, AB
As I glance at the calendar, it is hard to believe that summer is almost over and the 17th World Transplant Games
in Göteborg, Sweden are just a sweet memory for those of us that had the opportunity to attend. The games brought
together a wonderful group of transplant recipients, donor families and friends from around the world in the celebration
of health, hope and happiness, and the Gift of Life received from the act of a generous individual.
While we make hundreds of friends at the games, we no longer have to wait two years to see them again thanks to the
modern era we live in. Social media sites allow us to share our experiences with thousands of recipients and friends who
weren’t able to attend and give us the ability to feed up-to-the-minute content to newspapers and television networks
during the event. I only see this getting better each year, allowing us to share with the world how well we are doing as
Recipients continue to inspire one another by sharing with their social contacts all of the organ donor awareness events
they are a part of in their local communities or around the globe. Many recipients have a big ‘Bucket List’ which they
have started while waiting on the transplant list and during the post transplant recovery. We hear of great sailing
adventures, cross-country rides, expeditions and foreign travel to name just a few things.
Whether or not the intent is to raise awareness or inspire others, the end result is there.
As individuals, by living each day to the fullest and making the most of our health, we are paying tribute to our donors
and donor families and the healthcare professionals who have followed us over the pre- and post-transplant years. I always
look forward to hearing about your future endeavors while continuing to pursue my own goals and dreams.
With only ten months to go, the excitement is building as we prepare for the 6th Canadian Transplant Games in
Calgary, Alberta. With always so much to celebrate during the games, we will also be celebrating the Canadian
Transplant Association’s 25th anniversary year and the Calgary Stampede’s 100th anniversary. Stay tuned to our website
and your email as we’ll be getting more information out to you as it becomes available.
See you in Calgary!
ON THE COVER
World Transplant Games
Göteborg, Sweden June 2011
Dear Living Proof readers
Normally, the articles in our CTA newsletter are “short and sweet” ... tell a quick story, show some pictures. But every now and
then, I think we need to slow down and take a moment to reflect. Last issue we dedicated a section of the quarterly edition to
the “circle of life” – births and deaths, lives celebrated at their beginning and their ending.
This issue, I’m taking the liberty of sharing a different celebration with you; a celebration of 20 years of life made possible by
the selfless gift of an organ donor family. Kathy Tachynski shares her memories and her gratitude for those 20 years and I know
that her words will ring true for so many of you. I have had the privilege to hear many such stories and know the miraculous,
sometimes overwhelming, gift that is organ donation. Please enjoy Kathy’s “Thank You card”
Editor, Living Proof
Dear Mom, Dad, John, Patty, Michael doctors, unit clerks, dialysis techs, pastoral - for waiting for me and coming into my
and Dan, care, dieticians, social workers, housekeeping room to give me a hug and run your hand
staff and so many others at the University over my forehead after the stab catheter was
Over the last couple of years, and even more
of Alberta Hospital. I feel I had the best inserted in my abdomen that same night
so, over the last few weeks, as I’ve inched
care possible and I’m thankful to this day because I needed urgent dialysis.
closer to the 20-year anniversary of my
that they looked after me when I didn’t
kidney transplant, I’ve thought of all I’ve - for coming in after that procedure and so
even know what the kidneys did, or how
been able to do since my transplant, the many others (nasal tube insertions, surgeries,
important kidneys are to the human body.
places I’ve been able to travel since I was renal scans, kidney biopsies, tests) – seeing
freed from dialysis, and the appreciation I I’m thankful to my donor and donor family your faces made me feel so at ease. I know it
have for how fragile and precious life is. My because they made a decision to donate was harder for you than it was for me to go
life has been blessed and enriched not only their loved one’s organs to save a stranger – through those times because at least I was
over the last 20 years, but even more so in me. The gift of life is the most selfless gift having something done to help make me
the 6 ½ years prior to my transplant when a person can give to another and I’m still better – but the looks on your faces often
I learned to live with acute kidney failure, amazed at how my donor family could make spoke of the desire to help, yet being helpless
because I learned valuable lessons that have such a decision during a difficult time. I because there was nothing you could do.
given me courage to face the unknown, can’t even imagine what it would have been Please know that your presence, support
patience to wait for the right time, like to lose a loved one, especially knowing and encouraging words were exactly what I
understanding that things always happen for my donor was only 14, the same age as my needed during those times because it DID
a reason, and faith that I’m in good hands youngest brother, Michael, when I received make all the difference in making me feel
when I trust Him, wherever my life and my transplant. I hope that looking after this comforted and cared for.
health may take me. gift as best I can, can give them comfort in
- for holding my hair up and rubbing my
knowing they have given me a new life.
What’s stood out most as I’ve thought back back while I kneeled over the toilet throwing
though, is how blessed I am because of the How do I even begin to thank my family? up from the nausea, and for bringing me a
support and love of my family throughout There are so many memories I think back cold facecloth to put on my forehead.
my life, and especially during those 6 ½ to where they supported me, encouraged
- for visiting me every day (sometimes a few
years on dialysis – how they instilled in me, me, loved me and were there for/with me. I
times a day) either from home or school or
hopefulness, optimism, love and faith. I could probably write a book, but will only
in the evenings - the countless miles you
don’t know how to say thank you enough, include a few for today.
put on the vehicles, the money you spent on
so I hope that by sharing at least a few
examples of moments that have stood out Thank you: parking, and the many bus trips you made.
- for taking me and being with me in the Your visits always brought something new
for me over the last 26+ years, they will
Royal Alexandra Hospital when I was first for me to look forward to.
know and feel in their hearts how much I
appreciate and love them, and that those admitted – I felt scared, confused, nauseated
- for giving me a hug and/or a kiss before
feelings never change, no matter what and extremely tired, but you were there to
you left the hospital – it always made me feel
happens or may happen in life. talk to the doctors and hear and understand
better and helped me to sleep.
what they had to say, and make decisions
Before I do that, though, I want to for me because I was too sick to - for bringing me the poached egg on toast
acknowledge my healthcare team – nurses, comprehend things you prepared at home, wrapped up in tin foil
and dishcloths and brought on the bus with feet) and for letting me sleep in a few extra - for getting ice chips or chicken broth for
you. It had just the right amount of pepper minutes, because it was so hard to get up me on my dialysis session when my mouth
and smelled and tasted so good. I remember and get the energy to go to school. got dry or I was thirsty.
eating it so fast because nothing beats home-
- for heating up hot water for the hot water - for coming up to the dialysis unit so many
made food. I could also see how relieved you
bottles to warm my peritoneal solution bags times to pick me up – the staff got to know
were that I was able to eat something since
... four times a day over the course of a year you all quite well – it’s because of you that I
the hospital food was not very appetizing
and a half. got the special attention and treatment (they
after a while.
still ask about you when I bump into some
- for helping drain the used peritoneal
- for bringing me a fresh homemade bun and of the nurses who are still there).
solution bags into the toilet so many times
then nuking it in the microwave on the unit
for me. - for driving me to dialysis so many times,
(for 3 minutes) only to open the door and
even though you were sometimes going
find a rock-hard bun – I still laugh about - for reminding me to mask and scrub
through your own problems – I’ll never
that to this day. my hands before I did my exchanges –
forget how touched I felt and how proud
because you cared that I do things right
- for getting an extra blanket from the unit I was to drive in your car with you. That’s
to avoid infections.
supply cart when I was cold, or a clean pair when you also introduced me to Frozen
of pyjamas (the thicker blue ones that I - for making breakfasts and lunches in the Ghost’s, “Dream Come True” – I still love
liked) when I needed a change. early university years when I was too tired that song! “He ain’t heavy...he’s my brother”
to and just wanted to sleep in. still makes me teary and the day I heard it
- for bringing me pyjamas from home
driving in the car with you will always be a
(freshly-washed) so I could feel more - for having the courage to step forward to special memory for me.
comfortable and not worry about my butt be tested to be a kidney donor.
hanging out. - for helping me adjust to a renal diet by
- for going through the angiogram and other soaking potatoes and carrots in water to
- for preparing the big home-made feasts tests, which required you to lay as still as leach out the potassium, so it was one less
(chicken, meatballs and gravy, cabbage rolls, possible for 12+ hours post procedure. It thing I’d have to worry about.
salad, vegetables, mashed potatoes, dessert, hurt a lot to see you go through that pain
etc.) when I came home from hospital for a and testing for me. - for scheduling birthday celebrations,
day-pass. The food tasted soooo good and Christmas Eve dinner, or other events
being with everyone was better than any - for carrying my books to class when my around my dialysis schedule so I could also
medicine or treatment for my soul. blood pressure felt low – and not once did attend with everyone else.
Leaving to go back to the hospital was you complain.
- for taking other university courses
always so hard. - for running ahead from the Chemistry while I finished my degree so we could
- for getting me a glass or water or anything Building to the Tory Lecture Theatre to save graduate together.
else I asked for when I was home – you me a seat when I was too dizzy/dehydrated
to walk faster. - for being the first person I saw when I
were all there for me for every beck and call
woke up and turned my head after my
(I could see how it would be easy to take - for carrying the empty containers I needed transplant – we both shed a tear and
advantage of such great service....which at to take home with me over a weekend to do although no words were spoken in that
times I did, even though I was perfectly 24-hour urine and stool tests ... and more so, moment, I think we both knew what the
capable of getting up myself and getting for helping me carry these containers back other was thinking – how thankful we were
what I needed). on the bus on Monday morning in your that I was going to be okay again, yet sad for
- for being there to pick me up after a backpack to bring into the lab – no one the donor family who had just lost someone.
dialysis run when my blood pressure was ever knew!
- for coming to visit me after I had my
low, my legs crampy, or my vision a little - for helping me drink those awful Ensure transplant. I remember walking towards the
blurry after the run. Especially in the milkshakes that summer (when I couldn’t waiting room and seeing you there, fighting
wintertime, being able to get into a warm stand the look or taste of them, especially back tears and me fighting tears back too
vehicle and crank up the heat (because I was the strawberry flavoured one) – it helped – I was speechless. I wanted to hug you so
always so cold) while one of you drove the keep the dieticians away because they badly but because my immunity was so low
car so I could either close my eyes and rest, thought I was finishing them myself. right after the transplant due to the high
or we’d visit, or listen to a good talk-show or (We fooled them good!). dose anti-rejection drugs, we had to keep
nice music on the radio.
- for reminding me how important it is to a distance for the first few visits. I really
- for waking me up early in the morning keep my faith and to attend church on a missed those hugs and cherish each one I
(gently nudging my shoulder or tickling my regular basis to give thanks. can have today.
Thanks – cont’d
- for getting me those little containers of - for taking your own personal vacation time - for the hours and hours of tennis practice,
cranberry juice from the hospital pantry to go to Kamloops, Australia, Sherbrook, St. offering tips, sacrificing your own knees, to
after or making toast with honey for me It Johns, Windsor, London, Sydney, Quebec help me. I just wish I could have made you
always tasted better when one of you made it City and the games in Edmonton – your prouder and played better so I could really
and brought it for me. support taking photos all day, finding the show everyone how good I can play from the
perfect photos, cropping them, finding tips you’ve taught me.
- for filling out my menu in the hospital,
music that would fit just right, and putting
especially when I had it memorized and - for letting me watch you guys play so I can
together DVD’s for a number of games. I
didn’t want to look at it anymore. It made watch your technique. You make it look so
can’t express how much that meant to me;
me feel good that you guys actually enjoyed easy, but I really enjoyed watching those
it was such a beautiful gift for everyone who
filling it out for me. good, long rallies.
received one and will always be cherished
- for letting us have the navy car to drive to - for the make-shift high-jump pits at home
- for attending long meetings with me and
university (so I wouldn’t have to be exposed you’ve made for me and coaching me to
Helen and then laughing in the car ride back
to germs on the bus after my transplant) – ‘look above the bar’ and to ‘move my arms’,
with your jokes and imitations till we were
that excuse worked well for us to get the car!! so I could jump higher.
all in tears.
- for keeping me in your prayers – whether - for the hours you trained me at other track
- for helping gather donations, making great
it was for surgery or just my general health events like running with the resistance band,
contacts and bringing forward suggestions
– your spoken and silent prayers mean so running at the track in St. Albert, practicing
and other ideas that we could use to make
much – more than you know. long-jump at O-Leary, coaching me at shot-
the Edmonton Games something we can all
put and to give it all I can. Having you at
- for helping me to keep my kidney disease be proud of.
the events when I competed was so helpful
quiet, from friends and even at work for a
- for volunteering your time at so many to give me tips to do better for the next time
while, especially in the early years when I
events helping set up/tear down tents and I was up. I always felt so proud to have you
didn’t want anyone to know, so I could just
chairs, cleaning up after our yearly CTA present at those games and everyone else
be treated like everyone else and feel
family picnics, gathering silent auction items always loved you too.
as ‘normal’ as possible.
and helping with the dinner at the Faculty
- for making me laugh countless times
- for taking paska or fresh peas to my Club each year to support us.
sometimes even for no reason – we’d just
appointments for Dr. Ulan – your ways
- for carrying my bags to tennis/track at the break out in contagious laughter.
remind me so much of how Baba and Dido
games so I could save up my energy before
would do those thoughtful things. - for fi xing my garage door, or power outlets
or hot-water tank, or my car, etc. etc. – so
- for encouraging me and being excited
for me when I took my first plane ride on
my own to Vancouver for my first World
Transplant Games in 1991 and for driving
out all the way to Vancouver to cheer me on
in my events and make that first Games such
a memorable one.
- for sharing your experience from closing
ceremonies of looking out at the field where
all the transplant recipients joined hands
to form a big circle and you could hear the
music playing, but when you looked out
on the field, you didn’t see anyone. Your
interpretation of what happened to you that
day was that none of those people would be
on the field that day (including me) if others
had not made the decision to donate their
loved ones organs. I still use that in my
talks to this day and it still chokes me up
20 years later.
many things, and cutting all those tiles - for the times we’ve gone shopping and And to my family – Mom, Dad, John, Patty,
and everyone working together to get the found great deals – always fun. Michael and Dan - thank you for everything
job done. past, present and future and know I always
I know there are so many more things I
- for cutting the lawn and looking after could add to the list, but to save a few trees,
fertilizing and trimming to make it one of I’ll stop here for now. – By Kathy Tachynski
the nicest lawns in the neighbourhood.
As a transplant recipient, I think it’s
- for shovelling my driveway, without even important for us to thank our families
asking. Sometimes I’d open my garage door (often) in whatever way works – they’re with
to find it all done and I know it was one, us through our journey, so I just wanted
two or all three of you when you watched a to acknowledge all families of transplant
game next door. recipients and THANK YOU for all you
do for us.
The Homecoming Celebration
Can you imagine cycling 1200 km from Blair was excited to meet someone 12 years She encouraged everyone to register their
Banff, Alberta to Vancouver, British following a double lung transplant, a rarity wishes to be an organ donor and give the
Columbia? Not an easy endeavor to in the CF community. It was an emotional “Gift of Life.” It was very moving – let’s
be sure, but 16 riders completed the meeting for both. We couldn’t wait to just say there wasn’t a dry eye in
marathon “Gear-up4CF” trek in June to meet for the final day’s ride and catch up the crowd.
raise money for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and with Sandra at Children’s Hospital for the
to raise awareness for organ donation and homecoming celebration.
transplantation. What an amazing feat!!
Brian and I rode our 50-pound tandem
One of those riders was Blair Smith who bicycle while most of the marathon riders
was featured in the spring edition of had much lighter (17–22 pound) bikes,
“Living Proof”. Blair dedicated the ride although I’m sure they felt more like 100
to his wife Sandra who is living with CF pounds after their 1000+ km trek in the
and had a double lung transplant one year past 9 days. Needless to say, the tandem
ago. In fact, Sandra celebrated her one- was always one of the last bikes to arrive at
year transplant anniversary while Blair the rest stops, but Brian and I were never
was completing the ride. On the final day without smiles on our faces.
of the ride, 32 additional riders joined
At the Finish Line, over 250 people waited
the group of marathon cyclists including
in anticipation for the cyclists to come in. Photo: (L to R) Blair Smith, Sandra Smith, Margaret Benson
my husband, Brian Benson, and myself
Sandra Smith was among those waiting at
(CF survivor and 12-year double lung The hugely successful event raised over
Children’s Hospital. It was a very tearful
transplant recipient). I had never met Blair $160,000 for Cystic Fibrosis research while
reunion complete with hugs, kisses and
and Sandra but we corresponded by phone also raising awareness for organ donation
grateful thank-you’s. Afterwards, Sandra
and e-mail and were excited to meet each and transplantation. Blair and Sandra
gave the Welcome Home address. She
other to participate in such a big event for Smith and Brian and Margaret Benson are
spoke of the amazing feat that Blair and
the CF and transplant communities. now connected, not only through Cystic
all the marathon riders had accomplished
Fibrosis, but also through the “Gift of
Brian and I met Blair in Chiliwack the and thanked them for their hard work
Life.” Congratulations to all the cyclists
night before the final 140 km ride. We and dedication. Sandra also spoke about
for their amazing strength of spirit.
spoke of our journeys – through transplant Cystic Fibrosis, organ donation and
and through the ride. I was in awe and transplantation and how her life had – Submitted by Margaret Benson
deeply appreciative of what Blair and the changed because of the selfless decision a
other riders had accomplished. In turn, donor family made one year ago.
Remembering Tom Quinet
The fight for Tom’s life is over, but the But doctors told them Tom’s liver was
impact of his life is not. Thomas Quinet, not doing well preventing his blood
a 14-year-old Ottawa boy with Cystic from clotting and ruining his chances of
Fibrosis (CF), had been on the transplant surviving a surgery. Tom was taken off the
list for 14 months hoping for a new pair list.
of lungs. None were found on time and
“We had really no option,” said Marc
he died Sunday, September 4th at the
Quinet, Tom’s father. Later that day, Tom
Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
was removed from life support. “With the
The boy and his parents had moved to an transplant option being removed from
apartment near the hospital to be ready for the table there was no viable purpose to
surgery at short notice. It was the second continue his life because he would have
time the family had been through the suffered,” Quinet said. The family waited
process. Four years ago, Tom received his for more relatives to arrive from Ottawa
first double-lung transplant. The surgery and Montreal. “At five to eight,” Quinet who needed help. “He said, ‘Dad, make
allowed him to live a normal life, even said, “Tom passed away.” sure that we make a contribution to the
playing sports including participating Horn of Africa famine.’ And he went out
Now, Quinet, and his wife, Suzanne
in the Canadian Transplant Games in of his way, a couple times, and said, ‘Did
Camu, are turning their focus to the cause
Windsor, Ontario in 2008. But after two- you do it? Have you done it?’” Tom, whose
of organ donation. Quinet, 50, said Tom
and-a-half years, his body began rejecting life was extended by transplant once, was
was their only child and that, while their
the new lungs, something that happens able to help someone else, by donating his
lives have a gaping hole, he was at least
in 50% of transplant cases. Since early eyes.
grateful to have been able to give his full
August, he was hooked up to a ventilator.
attention to Tom. Tom’s friends in the Canadian Transplant
Still the family hoped. Until Sunday, they
Association will fondly remember him and
were still organizing their lives around the Quinet said Tom was a very generous-
keep Marc and Suzanne in our thoughts
chance of receiving that magic phone call spirited boy. Before he went into the
saying a new pair of lungs was available. hospital, he was thinking about others
– Adapted from a story by Zev Singer
The Ottawa Citizen, September 6, 2011
World Transplant Games
Göteborg, Sweden June 2011
Although Canada’s team was smaller this remember the times spent beside a hospital
year than at previous World Games, we bed and know that, if not for that altruistic
finished 21st of 54 countries. Ivo Babic and gift of life from another that they would
Mervin Chen, two of our veteran CTA not be at the Games competing and
members, joined the team again this year. enjoying life.
They made me chuckle when they sent in
Göteborg was a fairly easy city to navigate
their forms - both requested to play in the
and most of the events were less than a
age category below their own so they would
15–20 minute ride on the city bus/tram
be “challenged by playing in a younger
from the hotel. The conference centre where
age category”…..and both returned home
we enjoyed most of our meals was just 5
with gold and silver medals. Our youngest
minutes walk. Sweden chose to host the
athletes, Ronald Antoroy and John Frias,
Games during the week of June 17–25 in
didn’t let the older generation have all the John Frias
order to celebrate their “Midsummer Eve”, a
glory. Both these young men contributed to Bronze - 50 meter swim, Bronze - ball
traditional national holiday and the longest
Canada’s over all total of 19 medals. throw, Gold - 10 pin bowling
day of the year (the summer solstice). The
We had a number of new athletes join the opening ceremony took place at one of the Aaron Cleugh
team this year so, the evening before the city’s largest open squares and Prince Daniel Silver - 5 K time trial, Silver - 20 K cycle
games started, we had a small get-together of Sweden, a kidney recipient himself, gave Bob Rogerson
in our hotel. As a way of getting to know a few opening remarks. The skies opened Gold - golf singles
each other, everyone was asked to reveal up and it rained throughout the entire Marianne Thistle
five things about themselves. We learned ceremony, but nothing would dampen Bronze - golf singles
that one of our new members, David Cervi, the spirits of the athletes as they marched
was not only new to the World Transplant through the streets of Göteborg waving to Lloyd Mangahas
Games but brought his new bride along people in their windows and on the street. Bronze - discus throw
with him to celebrate. At the meeting, John Hols
The last day of the Games ends with Silver - shot put
I had the privilege of announcing Canada’s
familiar traditions. At the Athletics venue,
Flag Bearer. At each Games, the honour Ivo Babic
the World Transplant Games Federation
is bestowed upon an individual who Gold - table tennis (70) singles, Gold - table
flag was brought forth, folded and presented
consistently works to promote the values tennis (70) doubles, Silver - table tennis (60)
to Mr. Willie Uys, the representative
of the Canadian Transplant Association, doubles
of the host country for the 19th World
the success of transplantation and the
Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa. Mervin Chen
importance of organ donation awareness. Silver - table tennis (70) singles, Gold - table
The ‘Circle of Friendship’ then brings the
This year the honour went to tennis (70) doubles, Silver - table tennis (60)
world’s athletes to the centre of the field
Sandra Holdsworth. doubles
for a warm, hand-holding cheer to bid the
Most team members, including newcomers Games farewell. The closing event was Robert Sallows
Lloyd Mangahas, Scott Ouellette, Rob hosted at Tradgardsforeningen, the final Bronze - petanque doubles
Sallows and Jon Hols brought family evening beginning with a dance around David Cervi
members with them to Sweden. The World the Maypole, speeches and awards. We had Bronze - petanque doubles
Transplant Games are certainly about a chance to try some of Sweden’s national
**Medals: According to Sweden’s Results Website. If there are any
competition - recipient athletes from around specialties such as herring and potatoes and errors or omissions, please notify Heather Fisher so that I can have
the website corrected, which will be followed by a correction in the
the world competing against each other, a beautiful dessert of fresh strawberries and next newsletter.
showing themselves and the world what cream. The final tradition is a dance where
they’re really made of. But it’s not just about everyone, old and young, share their joy So until we meet again, “Thank You” Team
the training and competition. It’s also about of life by kicking up their heels and swaying Canada for being awesome and allowing me
the camaraderie; the bonds formed and to the music until the wee hours of to be part of your experience at the XVIII
life-long friendships made with others who the morning. World Transplant Games. Not everyone
have shared a common experience. And it’s brought home a medal but, in my eyes, you
about the joy of the supporters and family Congratulations to medal winners: are all winners at life. Keep up the good
members seeing their loved ones excelling at work! Hope to see you all in Durbin, South
a sport and giving it their all. They can all Africa in 2013.
Bronze - 10 pin bowling
– Submitted by Heather Fisher
2011 World Transplant Games
My First World Games
I received my kidney in 1997 and I never that organ donation works. I was a little Alberta is hosting in Calgary in 2012) we
once thought that I would ever be able to overwhelmed by the whole event and, must never forget to honour the donors
attend the World Transplant Games. This when I walked into the stadium behind and donor families. They have made it
past June, it was a privilege to represent my country’s flag, it was a very special possible for all of us to participate in these
Canada at these games in Göteborg, moment for me. Prince Daniel of Sweden events. I have attended other Canadian
Sweden. Well over a thousand athletes opened the games and he is also a kidney games and make a point of going to talk
were in attendance and everyone was transplant recipient. to the donor families to say a simple thank
there for a purpose - to show the world you for all they have done. Without them,
On the third day of the games, it was the
many more would not be with us today.
singles golf competition and, again, I felt
very proud as I won the bronze medal I always come away from the games with a
for Canada. That was a bonus! The real whole new outlook on life again. I am one
thrill was just being there. If people could of the luckiest people alive because I am
see the passion for life that transplant here. I have always had good support from
recipients have! It really is not about the my husband, children, family and friends.
medals - it could be just finishing a race, I have a wonderful medical team looking
or throwing a ball, or touching the end of after me, so what more could I want.
the pool. What really matters is just to say, Maybe just a reminder to all, that organ
“Yes, we can do it!” donation works and we are living proof.
Throughout these games, as well as the – Submitted by Marianne Thistle
Canadian Transplant Games, (which
Canadian Transplant Association
– Saskatchewan Region
Family Picnic June 5, 2011
The Saskatchewan Region of the CTA met
at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and
Zoo for a Family Picnic on June 5th. The
day started out rainy but, by the time the
picnic started, the weather had cooperated.
All members brought food and helped
in every way to make the picnic a BIG
success!! Hotdogs, burgers, salads and
desserts were enjoyed by the group.
Following lunch, everyone was invited to
join in games. We had a GREAT time
either playing or watching the live action.
There were a lot of laughs!! We all enjoyed
getting together with other transplant donation works. All of us are grateful to Photo left to right: Orest Saskiw – Heart Transplant (11
years), Larry Kreklewich – Kidney Transplant (36 years),
recipients and their families. Meeting new our donors and their families for giving us
Ron Zerr – Kidney Transplant (33 years), Carol Epp – Liver
families and reconnecting with old friends a total of 139 EXTRA YEARS OF LIFE!! Transplant (4 years), Sherry Duncan Paterson – Heart &
was the highlight of the event. Some of We are living life to the fullest ... because Double Lung (19 years), Sheryl Mamchur – Liver Transplant
our Saskatchewan members posed for a we got a second chance. (11 years), Phil Gleim – Heart Transplant (3 years), Ed Kutz
– Kidney Transplant (22 years)
group picture - living proof that organ
– Submitted by Carol Epp
Putting My New Kidney to Good Use
My name is Heather Hockley and I to receive a transplant. In British In May of this year I received a kidney
live in Cranbrook, British Columbia. Columbia, all residents must travel to transplant from a deceased donor
In 2008 I was diagnosed with renal Vancouver for a transplant at either St. and I am so grateful for my new
failure and quickly required regular Paul’s Hospital or Vancouver General kidney and my second chance at life.
dialysis. I chose to go on ‘Cycler’ Hospital and remain in Vancouver I didn’t think I would be well enough
which meant I could dialyze during for approximately 3 months after to host a golf tournament this year
the night while I slept leaving my transplant for close follow-up by the but, thanks to my donor and donor
days free to work and enjoy time with medical and surgical teams. This family, it is going to be a reality.
family and friends. But I knew my can get very costly for transplant With the help of some friends we will
best option would be a transplant. To patients and their families. The be holding the 2nd Annual Kidney
my surprise, a friend came forward Kidney Foundation helps patients Foundation Golf Tournament on
who wanted to be my donor. During during their stay including finding September 18, 2011. The tournament
all the testing to see if she was a affordable housing. is held at Mission Hills Golf Course
suitable donor, doctors discovered in Cranbrook. It is a family par-3
I wanted to help the Kidney
my friend had cancer. Naturally, she course perfect for all ages and levels of
Foundation and, at the same time,
was ruled out as a donor but it was a golf. In addition this year we have a
create awareness for organ donation in
blessing they found her cancer early. hole-in-one prize of $25,000.00 cash.
the Cranbrook area. So, in June 2010,
Today after her treatments she is Watch for our story and pictures in
my partner Keith Gray and I hosted
doing well. the next issue of Living Proof.
the First Annual Kidney Foundation
I learned that patients can wait Golf Tournament in Cranbrook, Today’s society recycles many things,
for a kidney transplant for as long B.C. It was a lovely day and the event newspaper, cardboard, glass……..why
as 10 years. Imagine 10 years….. brought over 40 golfers to share great not add organs to that list and please
waiting on dialysis…..in 10 years prizes, good food, tall stories and, register to be a donor – it really does
a toddler can go from learning to of course, some terrific golf. Not SAVE LIVES! I am Living Proof.
spell in Kindergarten to getting a only did we raise awareness for the
– Submitted by Heather Hockley
driver’s license. And the hard truth donor registry, we also raised nearly
is not everyone is even lucky enough $2,000.00 for the Foundation.
Left to Right:
Carol Hockley (Kidney Transplant - 2002)
Sidney the Kidney (aka Jen Rea)
Heather Hockley (Organizer & Kidney Transplant - 2011)
Emma Rea (Niece and Proud Supporter)
A Treasured Memory
While waiting for my appointment Transplant Games - the West Regional and wear my team uniform with pride
at the Transplant Clinic at Toronto Games in Kamloops, BC. There I met while competing in my events.
General Hospital in 1996, I picked Kathy Tachynski, Marvin Meissner,
On June 17th. 2011, when I walked
up a brochure on The Canadian Cricket Fox, Jamie Vermeulen
through the rainy streets of Göteborg
Transplant Games Association, now (Bourassa) and other transplant
with my teammates, I raised our
called the Canadian Transplant recipients and their families. In
Canadian flag high and thoroughly
Association. Inside, I found September of the same year I attended
enjoyed every moment of that walk to
information about transplant my first World Games in Budapest,
the Opening Ceremonies. Walking
recipients participating at Transplant Hungary with ten Canadian athletes,
along the parade route and seeing all
Games and other events after receiving five of whom were liver recipients from
the people in the streets and in the
new organs. I thought, “That would Ontario. I had a great time and won a
arena cheering us on, made me think
be something I would love to do one Bronze Medal in Skittles (bowling) -
of how far I had come since first being
day” and I noticed that the next games in Hungary with people from all over
diagnosed with PSC/IBD in 1992.
were being held in Sydney, Australia. I the world who, like me, had an organ
It made me think of my transplant,
took the brochure home with me. transplant! I was hooked.
my donor family, all the things I have
On February 26, 1997, I received Since then, I have attended every done to live life to the fullest, all of the
a life-saving liver transplant for World, Canadian and five US Games friends I have made and how lucky I
cirrhosis caused by Primary Sclerosing winning medals and meeting friends was to be alive and have the honour
Cholangitis. I recovered wonderfully, along the way. 12 years later I’m still of being Team Canada’s flag bearer.
was able to play baseball only three in contact with many of them - friends I walked proudly into the Opening
months after my transplant and from countries that I had only read Ceremonies with my fellow teammates
returned to work that September. about in books or seen on a map. This and just tried to capture the moment,
Prior to my transplant I had been June, I attended the XVIII World a moment I will remember for the rest
active in sports including track & Transplant Games in Goteberg, of my life.
field, volleyball, basketball and floor Sweden and had the honour of being
Thank you to Heather Fisher and all
hockey. After my transplant, I knew Team Canada’s flag bearer. When
my teammates and their supporters for
I had been given a second chance Team Manager, Heather Fisher, a 28-
cheering me on and for your support.
and wanted to start living life to the year liver recipient, told me I would
It was an incredible honour to carry
fullest. To that point, my only trip be the flag bearer, I was completely
our amazing country’s flag and share
outside Canada had been my Florida shocked. The moment was very
our joy at a second chance to live.
honeymoon in 1988. I had an urge to emotional and heart-warming and
travel and to continue being involved especially memorable being presented – Submitted by Sandra Holdsworth
with sports. The Transplant Games by someone I have long admired and Team Canada Flag Bearer, June 2011
seemed like a great opportunity to whose journey has inspired me.
I am a proud Canadian and truly
So, in April 1998, I contacted love my country. I grew up in
Linda Rowe, CTA Regional Aurora, Ontario and still extend
Director for Ontario, and told her Canada Day celebrations until
I wanted to become involved with my birthday, July 3rd. At each
the organization. As a member, I transplant games, I promote Team
attended social functions where I met Canada and our country to those
other CTA members and transplant I meet from all over the world. I
recipients. I immediately knew this always bring Canada Flags, pins and
was a group I wanted to belong to. souvenirs to hand out - people love
In May 1999 I attended my first getting them. I dress “Canadian”
Second Kidney March Marks 20th
Anniversary for Kidney Recipient
August 28, 2011 marks the 20th in the fall but, after repeated episodes am most thankful for the little things
anniversary of the day I received of painful peritonitis, I had to switch in life - a beautiful blue sky, the
the gift of life through a cadaveric to hemodialysis – 4 hours a day, crunch of autumn leaves under my
kidney transplant. On September 3 days a week for 5 years. My weight feet and all those things we so often
9-11, I walked the 3-day, 100 KM dropped dramatically, I was physically take for granted.
Kidney March to honour: exhausted and every blood transfusion
Now, I volunteer with the Kidney
increased my antibody levels making
• my kidney donor and his family Foundation and its Speakers’ Bureau
a donor kidney match even
who gave me the gift of life, and with the Canadian Transplant
Association. I have competed
• my family and friends who have
Then the day arrived – I walked into in several Canadian and World
been there through all the ups
the unit for my hemodialysis and Transplant Games since 1993 and I
learned there was a potential kidney am thrilled to have participated in my
• the healthcare providers at the for me. My emotions were mixed – 2nd Kidney March. Last year I met so
University of Alberta Hospital in excitement for my chance at a new many wonderful, inspirational people
Edmonton who continue to provide life, fear that the transplant might among the marchers and volunteers:
exceptional care and not work, gratitude that my turn had
• a dialysis patient who received a
finally come and immense sadness
• God, my ultimate source kidney from his daughter a few
for my donor’s family who had
of strength. months after the walk,
lost someone so very dear to them.
In my first year of university I What strength and courage it must • a lady inspired to walk to lose weight
suddenly developed extreme fatigue, have taken to make that decision to (55 pounds so far with a goal of 40
nausea, loss of appetite and night donate their loved one’s organs. I was more this year),
sweats. Doctors thought it was mono discharged from hospital within 10
• a young man afraid of facing a
or the flu, but my symptoms worsened days of my transplant and, a week
future with kidney disease,
and within days I began the first of 18 later, returned to university to finish
months of four-times-daily peritoneal my degree. I have enjoyed so many • the family of a young man who
exchanges. I returned to university experiences since my transplant, but I donated a kidney to his father and
• two sisters walking in memory of
their 39-year old brother who died
from complications of kidney failure.
These and so many more people
inspired me with their stories and
their friendship with every step until
I reached the finish line. The Kidney
March is an experience I will cherish
forever. Thank you for your support,
words of encouragement, positive
thoughts and prayers.
– Submitted by Kathy Tachynski
A Tale from Down Under
In July 1989 I was an ambitious detective in charge of the department’s personnel and I won five silver medals. I was thrilled
in Adelaide, South Australia when I was section had rung to offer encouragement with this success as I had never been a
suddenly struck down with end stage renal and discuss my need to transfer to an sporting competitor. I then began a more
failure. This was a great shock as I had appropriate non-operational area. He said rigorous regime and entered the 1995
always led a fit and healthy lifestyle. I was “You can go anywhere Liz. Where would World Transplant Games in Manchester,
in a new relationship and enjoying life. you like to go?” I chose Recruiting and England. I was again successful and won
The frightening diagnosis also presented was soon to begin an entirely new career 3 medals.
me with a number of dilemmas. What direction. Recruiting Section recruited
The most wonderful thing about the
would become of the career that I had one new course per month to start at
games though, was meeting so many
planned? I knew I could not continue the Police Academy. After eight months
organ recipients from around the world.
as an operational police officer. As a there it was an ideal time for me to move
I met some lovely Canadians! One gave
dialysis patient shift work would be out to the Academy as a trainer. As a former
me a t-shirt with the Canadian Maple
of the question so I faced income loss and detective, I had a solid background and
Leaf and “Organ Transplantation Works.
significant lifestyle change. was ideally suited to the role.
The Living Proof”. I loved that shirt
I was not physically prepared for dialysis Twelve months after my acute onset, and wore it until it fell apart! Recently,
as this prognosis was unexpected. I I received a kidney transplant. CTA President Dave Smith sent me a
underwent immediate venous surgery to Unfortunately the graft was unsuccessful beautiful Canadian jacket from the 2009
construct a fistula in my wrist. My initial and never began to function. The hospital World Transplant Games at the Gold
dialyses occurred in the Royal Adelaide recovery was a very sad time for me. It was Coast, Queensland. What a lovely
Hospital and were via a central line in my not until I was back home and back to my gesture to help me celebrate my
chest. I must have appeared to visitors as routine, did I again look forward to an transplant’s 20th anniversary.
the sickest patient in the dialysis suite. I offer of a transplanted organ. Only eight
Well, I am still a police officer after 32
was confined to a bed rather than a chair months went by before my transplant
years. My current role is Supervisor of
for the entire procedure and my vital signs beeper (yes, a beeper!) sounded. The
the Crime Prevention Section in the
were checked constantly. The Renal Unit next day was Sunday, 7 April 1991 and I
beautiful Barossa Valley Wine Region of
staff was fabulous though, and their skill received my wonderful gift of life. I am
South Australia. I married a policeman
and support ensured that I always felt always thinking of the generosity and
six years ago and we look forward to
confident of my recovery. selflessness of my donor family.
our retirement. I still enjoy normal renal
After a few weeks I was stable enough My health and vigour soon returned and I function and am considering getting
to leave the hospital suite to dialyse at a resumed the fitness program that had been involved in transplant games again. One
satellite centre close to my home. I chose so important in my life. I heard about the day we may just meet!
to dialyse on Monday, Wednesday and Transplant Games and began training for
– Submitted by Liz McGregor
Friday afternoons. This allowed me to the 1994 Australian Games. These were
work for the majority of the day, and left held in the town of Shepparton, Victoria,
evenings and weekends as time to feel
“normal”. The dialysis machines were the
style of the day but were tall grey beasts
compared to today’s models. The emphasis
at the centre was towards self-care and
new patients were encouraged to learn
how to independently needle and set up.
I was prepared to face my fears and be in
control as it would mean less time at the
centre. When I learned this skill it was
liberating and helped me feel a little more
in charge of my illness.
My police colleagues were very supportive
too. When I first became ill, the officer
Heather Fisher – Nurse, Counselor, Team
Manager and Sports Woman
Heather Fischer had a liver transplant event. She loves to watch (and watch these goals boosts your confidence
in 1983 – 28 years ago! In 1989 over) the new members of Team to overcome the obstacles that get in
she became aware of the World Canada. One of the greatest things your way at times. Heather is now
Transplant Games and was excited to is the chance to meet other recipients a “double survivor” having recently
find an event where she could enjoy regardless of the country of origin or completed treatment for breast cancer.
her new-found health, continue her language barriers. The first question Heather seems to have taken these
love of exercise and sport and help to is typically, “What are you – a liver, life-changing experiences in stride.
promote organ donor awareness. heart, kidney?” And then you want Her advice? “Set goals and be realistic
to know, “How long has it been since about your goals.”
This year she is the Team Manager
you had your transplant?” Every time
of the Canadian team and sits as a Thank you, Heather….from all
you meet someone who survived
counselor on the World Transplant the recipient athletes both veteran
longer than yourself, it gives you even
Games Federation counsel. and newcomer; from all the family
Specifically she: members and supporters; from
When she’s not working as Team your friends and colleagues in the
• makes sure that the team has all the
Manager, Heather enjoys the Canadian Transplant Association;
information they need - what sports
opportunity to compete in her own from all the transplant recipients you
they are in, how to get to the venues,
events as well, including: have motivated and inspired over
how to deal with overlapping events
the years….for all you have done
• 20 km cycling
• ensures family members have all the and continue to do on behalf of our
• 3 km run and 3 km race walk
information they need as well Association and for the thousands of
• Shot put
Canadians waiting on transplant lists
across the country.
– By Jennifer Holman
Every year, she likes to try a
(adapted from WTG 2011 Blog June 21,
new sport. 2011)
When not participating in the World
Transplant Games, Heather works as
a nurse with patients with acute pain.
Throughout her thirty-six years as a
nurse, Heather has seen every phase
of transplantation from working with
potential donors in ICU to assisting
in organ retrieval and transplantation
• communicates with the host country in the operation room. Heather’s
to make sure airport shuttles are empathy may be her best nursing
arranged and city travel is organized tool – she knows what it’s like to be a
so no one gets lost patient. Heather was very sick from an
early age but did not receive her liver
• makes sure that everyone has the
transplant until the age of 29. She
best time of their lives!
coped with the long wait and the post-
A veteran of many World and transplant recovery by setting small,
Canadian Games, Heather remembers attainable goals such as getting out
what it’s like to be a newcomer to the of bed, walking to a chair. Achieving
Back in the Game
Double-lung transplant gives after the surgery and three more in Trevor reports he was thrilled by how
goaltender chance to move from rehabilitation. By the six-month mark, he was treated by the Jackals off the
beer league to the big leagues. he was back in net. ice and by the fact that he was not
given any special treatment on the ice.
Eight seconds into his first game Today, Umlah’s lungs are stronger,
He did amazingly well in the high
in two years, a slap shot ricocheted his goalie pads brand new. The
intensity practice Friday night, the 2
off Trevor Umlah’s breastbone. The Dartmouth man hopes both will
inter-squad scrimmages on Saturday
goaltender sucked a breath into his serve him well when he tries out with
and the final game on Sunday. It all
new healthy pink lungs and touched the Elmira Jackals of the minor-pro
brought a lot of attention to organ
his sternum. Then he smiled and got ECHL. But Umlah doesn’t really
and tissue donation awareness and
ready to block the next shot. expect to make the Jackals. “There
to Cystic Fibrosis, Trevor adds. In
were no scouts looking for me,”
“My only worry (was) that my addition to the local coverage in the
he jokes. “I’m really doing this to
sternum would not hold up, but that Chronicle Herald and CBC Nova
promote organ and tissue donation.
was put to rest in about ten seconds,” Scotia, Trevor’s story was also featured
A lot of people may be hesitant to be
he laughed recalling the 2008 game. on ABC at http://weny.com/Sports_
an organ donor because they think the
“I was really surprised that I still had Jackals.asp?ARTICLE3362=9161418
quality of the (recipient’s) life may ...
the skills. I didn’t have the strength or and NBC at http://www.wetmtv.
not be up to their expectation. So I’m
the endurance at the time, but I still com/sports/story/Trevor-Umlah-
trying to show that this is the quality
had the reflexes. My mind was still A-Story-of-Hope-Perseverance/
of life that can be achieved.”
with the game.” zov39q8udkiOYQxe0p-xaQ.cspx
Since Umlah’s transplant in August
In March 2006, Trevor had to leave To see more about Trevor and his
2007, he has started biking again, and
his “beer league” hockey team when activities to raise awareness for organ
he runs and swims. He did all three
his cystic fibrosis (CF) became so and tissue donation, you can also go to
sports together in his first triathlon
advanced that he needed a portable www.lifepassiton.ca
last month. And he’s back in the “beer
oxygen tank. Less than a year later
league” hockey he’s been a part of for – Adapted from an article by
Umlah was told he needed a double
22 years. Laura Fraser
lung transplant to survive. He left
for Toronto that June – the surgery And while he doesn’t expect the New
isn’t performed in Nova Scotia. “It York state team to sign him, he hopes
felt like lugging a refrigerator on my to hold his own against men 20 years
back everywhere I went,” he says. his junior who have been groomed
“Towards the end, I was ... tethered to for the sport since they first laced up
an oxygen line so I didn’t have a lot of a pair of skates. “I play at the rink
freedom. When I had the opportunity on a weekly basis with a number of
for a lung transplant and an improved my buddies (and) most of them are
quality of life, I jumped at it. There in their 20s and 30s so they work me
was no decision for me.” pretty hard,” he says. “I get a lot of
difficult shots . . . so I think I’m as
Some people wait months for a donor
prepared as I’m going to be to face
to be found. Umlah got the call
these pro-level shooters.”
about three weeks after he arrived
in Ontario, as he was listening to a And if he does get an offer? “Then
doctor tell him he would have to be I’ve got a real big decision to make,”
put on a ventilator to breathe at night. he laughs.
He spent a month in the hospital
My Second Family
Going in to my first World Transplant Concerning my third goal, I admit that spirit and vigour of these people were quite
Games this past summer in Sweden, I did, in fact, win a medal (in the most infectious. I felt incredibly welcomed into
I had three objectives in mind: unusual way; but that’s another story). a whole new family of people who taught
But to say that I accomplished my first me to really soak up this second chance
1) To celebrate my journey with the
two goals is an understatement. More and the beauty of this thing we call Life.
worldwide transplant family as a newly
than winning a medal, the Games, for I would like to thank our team manager,
transplanted recipient since my life
me, are about the shared camaraderie of Heather Fisher, for all her dedication and
saving gift on November 19th, 2009.
being part of a worldwide network of such support and, as well, my fellow Canadian
2) To have fun. remarkable survivors - competing against team mates and supporters in Sweden
them in my events, exchanging pins with for helping to make these World Games
3) To do well in my events (tennis and
athletes from over 50 different countries memories to last a lifetime!
athletics) and hopefully bring home
or simply sharing my story across the
a medal. – Submitted by Lloyd Mangahas
dinner table at the Athletes’ Village. The
Canadian Transplant Games 2012
Once again, the Canadian Transplant The CTA Executive remains committed to wait to welcome transplant recipients
Association invites all organ transplant keeping personal expenses to a minimum to their city to compete in this exciting
recipients, their family and friends to meet to help ensure that finances don’t keep event – a chance to show the world that
in Calgary July 16-22, 2012 for the 6th anyone away. organ donation really does work; a chance
Canadian Transplant Games. to honour and recognize the donors
Don’t be disappointed! Save the dates.
and donor families; a chance to make
Did you know? Watch for registration to open and get
memories that will last a lifetime.
your name in early. Calgary is famous
• Canadian Transplant Association will
for its Western hospitality and they can’t SEE YOU IN 2012!!
celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2012
• The Games will immediately follow
Calgary’s very special Centennial
Stampede (July 6–15, 2012)
So, you can expect the 6th Canadian
Transplant Games to be among our most
exciting yet! We will be hosting athletic
competition in all age categories for track
& field athletics, swimming, tennis, table
tennis, badminton, speed walking, 5 & 10
pin bowling, lawn bowl, golf, cycling and
group events including volleyball and the
coveted east-versus-west Canada Cup.
Stay tuned to the CTA website at
organ-donation-works.org for up-to-the-
minute details as planning proceeds. We
expect to offer on-line registration for both
participants and volunteers this year.
for supporting the Canadian Transplant Association
Canadian Transplant Association
c/o N. Folkins
11649 St. Albert Trail NW
Edmonton, AB T5M 3L6