Manitoba

1% of Manitobans signed up for organ donation registry

Manitobans are being urged to sign up for the province's organ and tissue donation registry, which has not attracted as many donors as officials had hoped.
Kristin Millar of Winnipeg says she's thankful for her new heart, which she received in a transplant one year ago. 2:07

Manitobans are being urged to sign up for the province's organ and tissue donation registry, which has not attracted as many donors as officials had hoped.

A total of 7,216 people — about one per cent of Manitoba's population — have registered for SignUpForLife.ca since the online registry launched in April.

"Unfortunately, we still need more organ donation going on … so that we can help some of these people who are dying on the wait list," Dr. Brendan McCarthy of Transplant Manitoba told CBC News.

Any adult resident of Manitoba can register with SignUpForLife.ca to become a donor, using their nine-digit provincial health card number to sign up.

The information is stored in a secure government database, which can be accessed quickly by doctors.

Among those encouraging more donors to join the provincial registry is Kristin Millar of Winnipeg, who received a new heart in a transplant last year.

"Wow! My whole body, my whole life has changed," she said Friday.

"I'm now planning for a future that I didn't know if I would have or not."

Always grateful

Organ donation figures

According to Transplant Manitoba, in 2012 there were:

  • 12 deceased organ and tissue donors.
  • 27 living kidney donors.
  • Six living kidney donor-paired exchange surgeries.
  • Four heart recipients in Manitoba.

Currently, there are:

  • 7,216 Manitobans registered with SignUpForLife.ca.
  • 199 Manitobans waiting for a kidney transplant.
  • Seven Manitobans waiting for a heart transplant.

(Source: Transplant Manitoba)

Diagnosed with a serious heart condition, Millar spent several years connected to a heart machine and waiting for any news about a transplant.

After receiving a call that a donor heart was available, she underwent the transplant procedure in Ottawa on Jan. 6, 2012.

Millar said she is eternally grateful to the heart donor and that person's family, even though she doesn't know who they are.

"Holidays are such a bittersweet time for me because [with] every beat of my heart, I'm thinking of them," she said.

These days, Millar is working out at the gym and doing what she can to take care of her new heart.

"I believe it's my job to give this heart the best home I possibly can," she said.