Lives changed by organ and tissue donation

Meet Ryley

Ryley was only two months old when she became quite ill. It was in the ER that her mother, Joanna, heard the words "enlarged heart." She remembers asking the doctor, "So you're telling me that my baby is going to die? And he said, 'No. But there's a good chance she's going to need a heart transplant.'"

Joanna and her husband were living in a hotel near the transplant centre when they received a call at 2:00 a.m. that a heart was available for Ryley. By 9:30 p.m. that night, they were able to see their daughter after her transplant surgery. "She was on a breathing tube...but she was pink. And she just looked so wonderful."

Ryley hasn't looked back since her transplant. She's an active, loving, and brave little girl. Having faced the fear of losing her own child, Joanna is so thankful to the donor family and would encourage all Ontarians to become registered organ donors.

"If you needed an organ, would you take one? If you would... why wouldn't you share yours to save somebody else's life? It makes you a hero."

Meet Mohan

In his second year of pre-med at the University of Manitoba, Mohan noticed that his vision was a bit blurred. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with keratoconus, an eye condition in which the cornea becomes thinner and cone-shaped, impairing vision. Unsure of how much of his vision he would lose, Mohan decided to switch career paths from medicine to business. Recalling how uncertain he felt about his future, he said: “Because there was no permanent solution at the time…when it’s happening, you’re in a state of emotional distress. You don’t know what the future is going to look like.”

Although his career change was heartbreaking at the time, Mohan’s corneal transplants would gift him the life he always hoped to live.

Meet Andrea

It started with strange symptoms. Trouble with her peripheral vision. Trouble opening small packages. A shooting pain down her left side. Andrea knew there was something wrong.

"When I was wheeled into the hospital, I had a resting heart rate of 130 beats per minute.” That was the day Andrea was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. And she soon realized that only a heart transplant would bring her "real life back."

Luckily, she received a match. After the transplant, she noticed a difference right away. "The first thing that I noticed was that I had a heartbeat, and it was so loud… I knew I had a strong heart in there."

Though it was a joyous time for her and her family, Andrea thinks often of her donor's family and their grief. "Every moment a thought goes out to them. I want to make them proud by living and taking care of what's been given to me."

Meet Justin

At 10 years old the hospital determined that the strep bacterial Justin contracted had triggered an autoimmune disease, which started to attack his kidneys. He clearly remembers the day his mother told him he would have to go on dialysis.

Life is not fun on dialysis. Without functioning kidneys, you can’t even drink water. It’s difficult when you don’t have control over your life.

In 1984, Justin received his first lifesaving kidney transplant. He has seen firsthand; the new life transplant brings for those in need.

Justin says, "To give an organ to save someone's life, to me, is the ultimate expression of caring and unconditional love. Words can't describe what this means to me, to my life and the lives of my daughters."

Take 2 minutes to register. It could save a life.

  1. Provide your basic information including date of birth and health card number. You must be at least 16 years old.

  2. Register your consent or check your registration status with the province of Ontario on the ServiceOntario site.