‘Acts of kindness to repair the world’: Canadian Blood Services remembers Dr. Elianna Saidenberg

Canadian Blood Services is mourning the loss of Dr. Elianna Saidenberg, an Ottawa Hospital hematologist who made a deep impact on Canadian Blood Services and the wider community.

“There is a term in Jewish tradition, ‘tikkun olam,’ that epitomizes everything Elianna represented: acts of kindness performed to repair the world,” said Dr. Graham Sher, CEO of Canadian Blood Services. “To say that she exemplified the essence of doing good and educating the world to make it a better place is a profound understatement.”

Elianna Saidenberg

Dr. Elianna Saidenberg addresses corporate supporters and partners at the annual corporate supporters’ luncheon in Ottawa in March 2019.

Dr. Saidenberg died Oct. 20, 2019 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She specialized in transfusion medicine and was also active in transfusion education and research. She was known as a tireless advocate for patients, particularly those in financial need, as well as an energetic and enthusiastic mentor and teacher.

Dr. Saidenberg’s work directly touched many at Canadian Blood Services. She trained in transfusion medicine as part of Canadian Blood Services’ Transfusion Medicine Residency Fellowship program. She also actively promoted blood donation, volunteering at blood donation events to thank donors, and sharing her own story whenever possible to inspire support from others.

In 2018, Dr. Saidenberg became a supporter of Hockey Gives Blood (HGB), an initiative founded in 2018 by former hockey players in the aftermath of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. Dr. Saidenberg and her daughter Joey — a hockey player in Ottawa — reached out to HGB founder Stu Middleton to organize its first donation event outside western Canada in Ottawa last January. She successfully promoted the week-long event with her daughter’s hockey league and through her network, inspiring many hockey parents to donate.

Saidenberg and Sher

Dr. Graham Sher with Dr. Elianna Saidenberg in March 2019.

Dr. Saidenberg was the wife of Dr. Doron Shmorgun and the mother of two daughters, Abby and Joey. Canadian Blood Services will name an award in her memory to honour her commitment to education and patient care.

“Her legacy will last for years to come,” said Dr. Sher. “Our deep condolences to her family, colleagues and friends.”