Canadian Blood Services Celebrates National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week

We honour and commemorate the heroes who helped save or improve the lives of so many Canadians

April 23, 2012 (Toronto, ON) - Sue Thompson has no words to express the depth of her gratitude to two heart donors and their families. Her son Robbie is alive today thanks to those donors.


Image of organ recipient Robbie Thompson and his mom, Sue Thompson giving Robbie a kiss on his cheek

Robbie Thompson and his mom, Sue Thompson celebrating his 14th birthday.

This week, Canadian Blood Services celebrates National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. From Apr. 23-28, we honour and commemorate organ and tissue donors and their families who helped save or improve the lives of many more Canadians.

“Organ and tissue transplantation saves lives, gives hope to patients with end stage organ failure and provides others with renewed lives,” says Kim Young, Executive Director, Organs and Tissues. “By making your decision and registering or documenting your wishes to be and organ and/or tissue donor your family will never be required to make this decision on your behalf.”

In partnership with several organ and tissue donation and transplantation organizations and patient/advocacy groups across the country, Canadian Blood Services is highlighting this issue through the stories of a 2-time heart recipient and a tissue donor.

There are now about 4,300 Canadians waiting for a life-saving organ and more than 2,000 waiting for cornea transplants. These numbers don’t reflect those who never even make it to a waiting list. One organ donor can help save the lives of up to eight people. A single tissue donor can help improve or enhance the lives of as many as 100 patients.

Canadian Blood Services is encouraging Canadians to talk to their family and loved ones about their wishes and sign up or register as an organ and tissue donor. Visit for more information about living donation or to learn how to register your consent in your province. See and hear the stories of Robbie and Sue Thompson and Denice Klavano or visit Canadian Blood Services’ YouTube channel 18882DONATE.

video story with Denice Klavano, mother of tissue donor


Denice Klavano, mother of tissue donor “I think that the one gift out of this terrible tragedy is to know that in a way, his eyes still see the world, although through someone else’s lens.”

Sue Thompson, mother of heart recipient Robbie “When Robbie was on the transplant ward after his second transplant, and he was walking around, he’d meet up with other kids, and we realized there were several families, several children there that had received organs the same night that Robbie had. There was this incredible feeling that this one donor had saved all these children’s lives.”

Dr. Sam Shemie, pediatric intensive care physician in Montreal and medical director of donation at Canadian Blood Services

“Transplantation is fantastic. It is heroic, it is amazing, it is wonderful… People use the word miracle, they mean different things. Whether it’s a religious event, a spiritual event or it’s just the coinciding of lots of effort from a lot of people.”

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