MORE lung and heart transplants took place in British Columbia last year than ever before, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. A record 55 people received a lung transplant in 2020, and 33 people – including three children – received a new heart.
The BC liver transplant program also matched their 2017 record with 80 livers transplanted in one year (78 single-liver transplants, plus two in combination with a kidney transplant). The kidney transplant program also had very productive year with a total of 280 transplants.
“The success of organ transplant is a transformative feat of expertise, coordination and caring through the province, in every health authority,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “A total of 451 people in BC received a life-saving transplant in 2020. Today, there are 5,491 British Columbians alive thanks to the incredible generosity of organ donors.”
In 2020, 110 people donated organs after death, with their families making a selfless decision in a moment of grief to gift life to others. 81 living donors donated a kidney in 2020.
Jason Gray-Stanford, a Vancouver actor who received a heart transplant late last year after going unexpectedly into heart failure, is grateful for the future he now has before him: “Because of my transplant, I now have the freedom to do everything that I used to do and then some. This heart is a gift for which I am forever grateful, and one that I shall never squander.”
Beth Miller, who received one of the record-breaking lung transplants of 2020, is grateful to her donor and family, and for the high-quality care she received through her transplant journey: “After years of struggling for breath, one generous donor and their family made a selfless decision on their absolute worst day, and now I have the gift of healthy lungs. I am eternally grateful to them, and to the incredibly caring transplant team.”
“The story of each successful transplant is also the story of multidisciplinary health professional teams who work in a coordinated way across the province,” says Eric Lun, BC Transplant’s Executive Director. “The level of dedication and expertise on both sides of the organ donation and transplant journey is remarkable – whether providing compassionate care to organ donors and their families or caring for recipients before and after transplant.”
More than 1.5 million people have registered their organ donation decision in BC’s Organ Donor Registry. As of January 1, 2020, 737 people are still waiting for an organ transplant in BC, and the need for donors remains high.
British Columbians are encouraged to take action and register their own decision about organ donation and share their wishes with family: www.taketwominutes.ca
As many as 150 people can be involved in the successful journey from organ donation to transplant. See just a few of the many dedicated people in BC who are part of this journey:
For more information on becoming a donor and helping save lives, visit: