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Organ donations nearing pre-pandemic levels as awareness surges in Alberta


Organ donations are back on the rise across Canada, but provincially, Alberta has seen a significant increase.

A report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows that organ donations have rebounded from a decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2022 2,886 organ transplants were performed in Canada, just shy of the 3,016 performed in 2019.

Katrina Sullivan, the program lead for the Canadian organ replacement register at the CIHI, feels very optimistic about the result of the report.

“One really exciting finding coming out of the report is that deceased donations in Canada have increased substantially compared to last year. They've increased about 12 per cent compared to last year,” she said.

While the whole country saw an increase in donations, Alberta saw a much more significant rise.

Between 2021 and 2022 there was a 41 per cent increase in deceased donations in Alberta. But the positive growth in Alberta didn’t stop there, according to Sullivan.

“In addition to that the number of transplants in Alberta increased about 23 per cent Alberta from 2021 to 2022. So definitely a good news story for Alberta,” she said.

The news is a big win for organ donation activist Toby Boulet who is the father of Logan Boulet.

Logan was one of 16 people killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in 2018. He had just signed his donor card weeks before the accident.

His donated organs helped save the lives of six people and inspired 150,000 Canadians to become organ donors in the following weeks.

“We've been told by many, many people. And I say many it means a lot, that Logan’s story inspired us to tell their own individual family stories which they never would have told,” Toby said.

“It's a quiet thing. You didn't really read in an obituary that someone's become an organ donor, but you are now.”

In 2022, there were the most deceased donors in a decade with 827.

The Boulets know talking about organ donation after death can be a difficult conversation to have, but they hope it's a conversation families continue to have.

“It's more so the conversation. The fact that people are telling their family now that I registered, or I did register four years ago or I registered six years ago when it became online in Alberta. And now they're telling their family member about that. And each conversation is massive because it creates four more conversations,” Toby said.

While donations are on the rise, many still waiting for organs.

At the end of 2022, almost 3,800 Canadians were on the waiting list. Top Stories

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