Gifts of Life: Honouring Living Donors During Living Donation Week


Canadian Transplant Association board members © Courtesy of Canadian Transplant Association

Living Donation Week is from September 10 to September 16, 2023. 

Living Donation Week is a public awareness event launched by the Centre for Living Organ Donation in 2020 with support from Canadian Transplant Association (CTA) and the transplant community across Canada that brings together transplant recipients, living donors, transplant teams, caregivers and the transplant community as a whole. The event celebrates and recognizes the living donors that contribute to our transplant stories. Those that contribute kidneys, partial livers, and bone marrow. Without whom, so many recipients may still be on dialysis or transplant lists across this country or may not be with us.

This year, the Canadian Transplant Association is celebrating the week by honouring and recognizing that many of our board volunteers are living donor recipients or living donors that we wanted to share with our communities. 

Our President, Brenda Brown, received her kidney through the kidney paired exchange program, thanks to her donor, her daughter Kielah, 10 years ago this past July. Without the exchange program, Brenda might still be on dialysis searching for that donor. But thanks to the chain and the donors involved, she has had 10+ additional years with her family, and Kielah is married with three children of her own.

CTA’s Vice President Nichole Elizabeth donated her kidney to her cousin Kevin 13 years ago this December; his partner is now expecting twins. Our Marketing and Communications Director, Lauren Herschel, donated her kidney anonymously over 12 years. Lauren tells us that donating an organ has always been on her bucket list, and she hopes her recipient is healthy and happy. Our Membership Director, Marco D’Arienzo, is our newest transplant recipient, having joined the transplant club last December, receiving his kidney from his father. Jonathan Hickman, the CTA Provincial Director of Newfoundland, received his kidney from his sister Kim Hickman 8.5 years ago.

Our newest board member, CTA Provincial Director from Quebec, Sylvie Charbonneau, donated her kidney to her son Benoit, both of whom competed in the World Transplant Games in Australia this past April and brought home their fair share of medals. Our Ontario Provincial Director, Kelly Kleinschmidt, received her liver from her uncle Ken in 2011, and both have been healthy ever since. Kelly has competed in our West Coast and several Canadian and World Transplant Games.

BC Provincial Director Kathleen Fleming donated her bone marrow to her sister, who suffered from myeloma over 20 years ago. All donors are our heroes as they provide additional years of life to the recipients and improve the quality of life. The impact is also improved for the caregivers and family members alike. 

living donation week
Photo © Courtesy of Canadian Transplant Association

For Living Donation Week, we want to acknowledge and recognize the selfless act of the living donors who took the time out of their schedules and their lives when it mattered most to someone else, for the recipients and to save lives and impact those of their loved ones. Eight of our board members can reflect and recognize the impact these gifts have made on each of their lives. Together, we have gained an additional 88 years of life and counting! Each one of our donors is a Hero to us. Each Living Donor is a Hero to someone!

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The Canadian Transplant Association (CTA), is a 100% volunteer led registered charitable organization founded in 1987. Our community shares a unique bond and includes transplant recipients, candidates on transplant wait lists, donor families, living donors, families, friends, and health care professionals.


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