Have a Heart – Become an Organ Donor

This Valentine’s Day, Darren and Michelle Reynes were again able to celebrate their love, thanks to life-saving organ donations.

On this special occasion, they had a message for Albertans – sign up to become an organ donor and talk to your family about it.

Donor rates in Alberta have increased substantially and more than 330,000 Albertans have registered with the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry since it was launched three years ago. But there are still 600 men, women and children in the province waiting for an organ transplant, and thousands more waiting for tissue transplants.

“Darren and Michelle have each other today thanks to organ donation. Throughout Alberta, there are families with loved ones waiting for a new heart, kidney or other organ. Becoming a donor and talking to your family about your choice only takes a few minutes and can mean a new lease on life for another person.”

Sarah Hoffman, Health Minister

Darren received a kidney from Michelle in a living donor transplant in 2004, and a pancreas from a deceased donor in 2008. Darren and Michelle have been together for 19 years and have two children.

“Michelle never had any doubts about donating whatever it took to get me healthy again. She’s said she’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

Darren Reynes, double-organ transplant recipient

Donors can save up to eight lives by joining the donor registry. Clearly explaining your wishes to your family is critical to making this possible.

“For many, the gift of life is only possible thanks to the generosity of deceased donor families. I encourage Albertans who support transplant to speak up; register your intent to donate and share that commitment with friends and family.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO, Alberta Health Services

Quick facts

  • Organ donors saved 380 lives in 2015, an 11 per cent increase over the 342 transplants done in 2014.
    • Alberta’s living donation rate remains among the top in Canada at 18.5 living donors per million, up from 16.4 in 2014
    • There were 53 living-donor kidney transplants for adult recipients in Alberta/Northwest Territories/Nunavut in 2015, compared with 46 in 2006
    • There were 31 heart transplants in Alberta in 2015, compared with 38 in 2006
  • About 2,500 Albertans register every week to become organ and tissue donors.
    • 58 per cent of registrants are female; 42 per cent are male
    • The largest age group to register are those from 55 to 59 years of age
    • The average age of a registrant is 47
  • Just one organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can make life better for up to 75 other people.
  • For questions about organ donation, call 1-844-815-3315.

To register your consent to donate or to learn more about organ and tissue donation, please visit ultimategiftalberta.ca.