Health

Live organ donors a rarity in Canada

Most Canadians support the idea of organ donation in theory, but few make actual plans. One Canadian woman has gone the extra mile, donating a kidney to a complete stranger last Christmas Eve.

Think you're a good Secret Santa? This kidney donor has you beat

Annemieke Vanneste donated a kidney to a complete stranger, an act of kindness that's both special and rare. 6:33

It's easy to talk about the kindness of strangers. But how far would you really go to show kindness to a stranger?

Annemieke Vanneste has gone further than most Canadians would. She donated a kidney to a complete stranger, after seeing how a transplant changed the life of her sister's friend. Vanneste underwent the operation last year on Christmas Eve.

"I said, 'Can you ever get a better Secret Santa gig than to give somebody a kidney?'" she told the CBC's Reg Sherren.

Annemieke Vanneste donated a kidney on Christmas Eve. She says, 'Can you ever get a better Secret Santa gig than to give somebody a kidney?' (CBC)
Organ donation is an idea most Canadians support. But according to the Canadian Transplant Society, fewer than 20 per cent make actual plans to give an organ after death, much less a live donation similar to what Vanneste did.

Just don't call her special.

"I don't see any of that," she said. "I only know that I changed somebody's life." 

To see more of Vanneste's acts of kindness and the new, urgent medical case that's affected her own family, click on the video above.