Wednesday, March 28, 2007

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in the U.S. has issued the following update on their initiatives to increase donors and transplants as well as protocols for donation after cardiac death.

Progress towards national transplant network performance goals
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established a set of annual and 10-year performance goals for the national transplant network. These include measurable objectives related to increasing the number of donors and transplants, increasing life years gained among kidney recipients and increasing operational efficiency of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Read the details.

OPTN/UNOS Board Addresses Protocols for Donation after Cardiac Death, Standards for Transplant Surgeons and Physicians

St. Louis, Mo. -- The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors, at its meeting Friday, adopted a set of "model elements" for consideration by member organizations who have protocols or are establishing protocols to recover organs from donors after cardiac death (DCD). Read the details

To contact UNOS:
Anne Paschke
Media Relations Specialist
United Network for Organ Sharing
UNOS web site.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Root Beer May Be "Safest" Soft Drink for Teeth

This news release from The Academy of General Dentistry caught my attention and I would like to share it with my readers because soda based soft drink consumption has become a routine part of life for so many of us. I'm one of them, having been hooked on Diet Coke for a long time because it was sugar free and calorie free. Now I find out that certain colas could be destroying my teeth with a ranking of 2.9 on the acid scale, compared to 1.0 for battery acid. I first read about this in the wonderful medical blog of The Examining Room of Dr. Charles.

CHICAGO (March 16, 2007) – Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion—and prolonged exposure can lead to significant enamel loss. Root beer products, however, are non-carbonated and do not contain the acids that harm teeth, according to a study in the March/April 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD’s clinical, peer-reviewed journal. That might be something to consider during the next visit to the grocery store.

Consumers often consider soft drinks to be harmless, believing that the only concern is sugar content. Most choose to consume “diet” drinks to alleviate this concern. However, diet drinks contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid and still cause dental erosion—though considerably less than their sugared counterparts.

“Drinking any type of soft drink poses risk to the health of your teeth,” says AGD spokesperson Kenton Ross, DMD, FAGD. Dr. Ross recommends that patients consume fewer soft drinks by limiting their intake to meals. He also advises patients to drink with a straw, which will reduce soda’s contact with teeth.

“My patients are shocked to hear that many of the soft drinks they consume contain nine to twelve teaspoons of sugar and have an acidity that approaches the level of battery acid,” Dr. Ross explains. For example, one type of cola ranked 2.39 on the acid scale, compared to battery acid which is 1.0.

Researchers concluded that non-colas cause a greater amount of erosion than colas. Citric acid is the predominant acid in non-cola drinks and is a major factor in why non-cola drinks are especially erosive. There is a significant difference between sugared and diet colas.

“The bottom line,” Dr. Ross stresses, “is that the acidity in all soft drinks is enough to damage your teeth and should be avoided.”

Read the full News Release.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Paying Big to Be A Donor

Living liver donor Pat Murray in Ontario, Canada experienced the same kind of personal financial loss described in this Washington Post article. Pat lost over three months wages and was so concerned that financial hardship might be a deterrent to living liver donors she started her own foundation to raise funds to help with donor's expenses.

Gifting an Organ Can Be Costly. Would a Tax Break Cross a Moral Line?

By Jason Feifer
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, March 20, 2007; Page HE01

Before Michael Friedberg donated a kidney to his wife last year, he underwent multiple tests and battled the usual jitters. Then he took one other step: He refinanced the family's home.

Friedberg, 60, works as an auto mechanic in Bladensburg, and he's paid on commission. Lifting heavy car parts soon after the surgery would be impossible, so he wanted to prepare for a drought of income by reducing his mortgage payments. The drought came: After the operation, he was out of work for two months and lost about $14,000 in wages.

I didn't have a choice," he said. "It was that or my wife was going to die. The waiting list was, at that time, like eight years to get a kidney."

There were 6,196 living-organ donors last year, and Friedberg wasn't alone in his financial losses. The recipient's health insurance typically pays for the donor's medical costs such as the surgery and various pre- and post-op tests, but donors are on their own for the rest: travel expenses for the numerous trips to the hospital, nearby hotel rooms before and after procedures and wages lost while they recuperate.

Transplant advocates fear those costs are a deterrent to donating, and so have been searching for ways to compensate living donors, who can give kidneys, bone marrow and a few other body parts. But by doing so, they're inching up on a loaded question: Is it morally wrong to pay people for their organs -- or at least for some of the costs incurred in gifting them? Read the full article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Monday, March 19, 2007

Reminder - info sessions this week in Kitchener, Windsor and London

If you would like more information about organ and tissue donation or how to become a volunteer for Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) these information sessions are for you. We all want to see the rate of organ and tissue donation increased and this is an opportunity for you to have an influence.

The organizers are hoping to see a good turnout and if you plan on attending please let Cailey Crawford know by e-mail or
Phone at 416-619-2305 / 1-800-263-2833. Thanks.

7:00PM to 9:00PM
LOCATION: Conestoga College, Doon Campus, 299 Doon Valley Drive, Kitchener, Ontario. Main Building E-Wing, room 2E31 (park in lot 13. The Doon Campus is just north of highway 401 at the Homer Watson Blvd exit. It's very convenient to many communities in South-Western Ontario, such as Guelph, Cambridge, Woodstock, Stratford, Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding areas.

WINDSOR, Thursday, March 22, 7:00PM to 9:00PM
LOCATION: CAW 200/444 Local Office, 1855 Turner Road, Windsor, Ontario

LONDON, Saturday, March 24, 11:00AM to 1:00PM
LOCATION: London Public Library, Stevenson and Hunt, Room A.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Graft Failure May Occur If Recipients Can't Afford Maintenance Drugs

This article in MedScape Pulmonary Medicine highlights the expensive lifetime costs associated with an organ transplant in the United States.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 07 - Immediately after undergoing an organ transplant, the 1-year graft survival rate among children and adolescents has risen to more than 90% in recent years. Unfortunately, these exemplary outcomes are followed by increasing rates of graft loss, investigators report in the March issue of Pediatric Transplantation.

Dr. Mark A. Schnitzler, from the St. Louis University School of Medicine, and his associates believe that non-compliance is an important cause of organ rejection, and non-compliance is often related to patients' inability to pay for immunosuppressive agents, which are required for the remainder of the patient's life.

"Immunosuppressive drugs that prevent organ rejection are incredibly expensive, sometimes more than $13,000 a year," Dr. Schnitzler comments in a university press release.

He and his associates have reviewed the financial aspects of continuing graft survival.

Medicare pays for most organ transplants in the U.S. However, coverage of immunosuppressant drugs ends 36 to 44 months after surgery or when the patient reaches adulthood. Many patients, especially young adults, can not afford to pay for these drugs. Moreover, only about 30% of young adults have health insurance.

The situation is also difficult for dependent children. "Even for families with insurance, the co-payments can be a huge financial burden," Dr. Schnitzler adds.

For individuals who have employer-sponsored and private health insurance, coverage ends once a patient reaches a lifetime maximum amount stipulated by their policies.

As a result of these circumstances, many transplanted organs are rejected and patients' lives are shortened.

One study of 1001 kidney recipients found that graft loss more than doubled when Medicare coverage ended. Once the transplanted kidney no longer works, the risk of death increases 9-fold.

The cost to society of failed organ transplants is also high. Dr. Schnitzler's group refers to a study by E. F. Yen et al. that found, "functioning transplants are 10 times less expensive than allowing them to fail during the year following failure. The maintenance cost for a transplant recipient has been estimated to be $13,749 per year while the first-year cost of returning to dialysis after graft failure is $137,930."

Dr. Schnitzler and his colleagues conclude that new public policies requiring lifetime health care coverage for organ transplant recipients would be cost-effective, and would prolong patients' longevity and their productivity.

Read the article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Video Assisted Lung Surgery Gets Patients Back on their Feet Faster and with Less Pain

Many potential lung transplant patients have lung biopsies to confirm the diagnosis of their disease, such as I did six years ago when I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. I had the VATS procedure described here and it sure went quickly, requiring only one night's stay in the hospital.

March 15, 2007
(Chicago) – Just a few days after lung cancer surgery, Louise Dellert was thrilled and surprised to be up doing dishes and setting the table. The 79-year-old from Downers Grove benefited from a minimally invasive approach performed at Rush University Medical Center that is not widely available. Dr. Michael Liptay, chief of thoracic surgery, removed a third of Dellert’s lung through a tiny 2-inch incision.

In traditional, or open, surgeries to remove tumors in the lung, surgeons must spread the ribs apart, and in some instances remove a rib completely. This isn’t the case with video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). By making two small incisions adding up to about the length of a golf tee, Liptay accomplishes the same objective as open surgery without causing significant damage to surrounding muscles, organs and tissues.

“The quality of the surgery is the same, but with much smaller incisions,” said Liptay. “Patients have a shorter hospital stay, a quicker recovery, and less post-operative pain.”

During the surgery, a tiny camera with a light source is inserted through a small incision in the chest wall. A second small incision is used to insert special instruments between the ribs and into the chest cavity. Working inside the chest cavity, surgeons remove the diseased portion of the lung and place it inside a bag.

“Most of the lung compresses like a sponge. Once inside the bag, we squeeze the air out of the lung,” said Liptay. “The compressed tissue is extracted out through a 2-inch incision.”

Three days after her surgery, Louise Dellert was out of the hospital and quickly getting back to her active routine. The next week she was well enough to return to her fitness club for a workout in the pool and a stroll on the treadmill.

“I feel great. My friends are shocked to see me back in action so quickly,” said Dellert. “I left the hospital with no bandages and hardly any restrictions.”

According to Liptay, the outlook for Dellert is very good. Her cancer was caught early. The five year survival rate for stage 1 cancer is 90 percent. A former smoker herself, Dellert encourages those at risk for lung cancer to be diligent when it comes to their health.

“Don’t fool around,” said Dellert. “I didn’t want to go in for an x-ray, but thank goodness my children insisted. If you catch it in time, you have a fighting chance.”

Although not appropriate for everyone, the VATS procedure offers an important advantage for patients with early stages of lung cancer. They spend less time recovering and can focus more time and energy on enjoying their lives and maintaining their health.

“It is very exciting to transform what used to be a major and debilitating surgery into one that allows patients to get back to health and normal activity more rapidly,” said Liptay.

VATS can be used to diagnose and stage lung cancer, remove cancerous and benign tumors, diagnose and treat fluid around the lung or heart, remove portions of a diseased lung and diagnose and treat certain conditions of the esophagus including cancers. New uses for VATS are continually being developed. Read the news release.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Save this little girl

By Clare Masters
The Sydney Daily Telegraph
March 13, 2007

The tiny Sydney baby is not expected to make her second birthday unless a liver donor is found soon.

Born with a rare gastrointestinal disorder called Biliary Atresia, the Hurlstone Park infant's bile ducts do not function – causing bile to pile up in her liver, gradually poisoning her body.

The condition, which makes Jemma's skin yellow and gives her a distended belly, occurs in one in 14,000 infants. But liver transplants have a high success rate in combating it.

With statistics showing that NSW has a shameful record on organ donation, Jemma's father Jeff, 33, is calling on Australians to register on the national donors' list and to tell their families about their wishes.

"It's amazing when you are at the ward and you see some of the kids waiting for a donor – they are not well," he said. "Some end up living at Westmead Children's Hospital and are there until a liver becomes available.

"But then you come back a few months later and suddenly they are putting on weight and moving around. It is the most amazing thing."

Read the full article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A walk in the woods

With temperatures at 59F/15C it was a beautiful day in Southwestern Ontario for a walk in the woods and experience nature coming to life. I walked along the Mill Race Trail in St. Jacobs and in a short hike of about three or four miles saw chickadees, cardinals, cedar wax wings, downey woodpeckers, Canada Geese, mallard ducks, juncos and a variety of sparrows. And sadly, one very dead rabbit.

Along the way I rested on a bench and let the warm sun stream onto my face, enjoying the day and thanking the powers that be for giving me that second chance at life with a single-lung transplant. This "gift of life" allowed me to be where I was at that moment and since my life has been saved days like this give me a deeper sense and appreciation of nature. It's great to be alive!

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Monday, March 12, 2007

Less than 2% of Canadian COPD Patients Can Access Rehab Programs

Marked shortfall in Canada between capacity and need for respiratory services

TORONTO, March 12 /CNW/ - While the number of respiratory rehabilitation programs in Canada has doubled in the last five years, a new study by researchers at West Park Healthcare Centre shows that less than two per cent of people with a debilitating lung disease could access programs proven to significantly improve their lives.

The study, published today in the Canadian Respiratory Journal, examined the national capacity for rehabilitation of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - the fourth leading cause of death in Canada. There is no cure and the disease gets progressively worse, but patients can significantly improve their quality of life with rehabilitation programs.

"Our patients are breathless, but not helpless," says Dr. Roger Goldstein, a Respirologist at West Park Healthcare Centre, expert in COPD and co-author of the study. "Through rehabilitation programs, COPD patients can learn simple techniques that help them regain their mobility and independence."

"Recommended services include supervised exercise training, education self-management, as well as psychological and social support," said Dr.Dina Brooks, Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto, a West Park Research Associate and co-author of the study. "These types of services are inexpensive compared to the economic burden on the Canadian health care system from patients without access to rehabilitation services."

Read the full Press Release.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Beware of dubious fund raisisng solicitations

It's that time of year again to remind everyone to beware of dubious fund raising solicitations for organ donation awareness.

The last couple of years I received many reports of telephone solicitation for donations in support of organ donation activities. It usually happens around the time of National Organ and Tissue Donation Week in April.

As Ontario's Public Guardian and Trustee states on their web site, donations are a critical source of funding for many worthwhile causes.

Unfortunately, there are con artists who pretend to be raising money for charity, but keep donations for their personal gain. They may contact you by mail, e-mail, telephone, web site solicitations or in person. Once a donation has been made, there is usually nothing you can do to get it back. Before making any donation, be careful!

In Ontario, Trillium Gift of Life Network is the government agency responsible for educating the public on organ and tissue donation awareness. Through their vast volunteer network and other initiatives they provide speakers and materials promoting organ and tissue donation.

As their web site states, Trillium Gift of Life Network does not undertake or participate in fundraising activities relating to organ and tissue donation. They are not affiliated with, nor do they endorse, any organization that may solicit funds from you for these purposes.

In addition to soliciting donations for organ donation awareness, some of the scam artists claim to be raising money for medical research and even go so far as to ask for donations of planned gifts (Includes life insurance policies, bequests, annuities, charitable remainder trusts and real estate properties) and major Gifts (Includes large financial donations that are recognized as significant support) all in the name of medical research.

Donations to these dubious charities divert money that could be going to hospital foundations and organizations such as The Kidney Foundation, The Lung Association, The Heart & Stroke Foundation, etc.

All major hospitals have foundations that raise money for their institutions. Because I had my life-saving lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital, my charity of choice is the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation which does wonderful work in raising funds not only for medical research but for the general needs of the hospital as well.

If you are concerned about the legitimacy of an organization that solicits you for money, Ontario's Public Guardian and Trustee offers advice about questions to ask. You can see a list of these questions on their web site at: Attorney General. Or you can call them at (416) 326-1963 or 1-800-366-0335, extension 6-1963.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Jewish Law and Organ Donation Explained

This is an excellent overview of current thoughts on Jewish Law as it applies to organ donation. Rabbi Dr. Goldie Milgram of Reclaiming is the author.

"Living a mitzvah-centered life is the spiritual essence of being a Jew. Organ transplantation and donation were once strongly limited by Jewish law because they were experimental and endangered life, today these are essential, successful medical life-saving methods. Accordingly, organ donation has become a mitzvah chiyuvit, an obligatory mitzvah, fulfilling Judaism’s great mitzvah of pikuakh nefesh, that of saving a life. So long as it will not significantly risk your own life, surgical removal and donation of organs such as a lung or a kidney by a living donor is a mitzvah kiyumit, a praise-worthy but not obligatory mitzvah, since with all surgery there is some danger and distress to the donor."

The article goes on to say "Our tradition treats a cadaver as sacred space not to be viewed or invaded once the soul has moved on and can no longer animate that body in its own personal way. So can a Jewish person’s body really be used after death for medical reasons? Yes, to save a life – as in proving the facts in a murder investigation or to determine a devastating genetic disease pattern, or restore mental health to an extremely distraught family member, then autopsy is allowed. So, now that one can fulfill the mitzvah of saving a life via organ donation, Jewish legal experts reasoned, the primacy of the integrity of a body is most definitely trumped by the mitzvah of saving a life."

Read the full article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Friday, March 09, 2007

Organ Donation in Jewish Law
Toronto, March 11th

Shaarei Shomayim Congregation, 470 Glencairn Ave., Toronto, Sunday, March 11, 2007 9:15am ? 4:30pm

Shaarei Shomayim Congregation Adult Education Medical Ethics Committee in coordination with Trillium Gift of Life Network and The Halachic Organ Donor Society present: Organ Donation in Jewish Law: A Conversation About Life Medical and Halachic Aspects of Organ Donation. This educational event is open to the general public and speakers will address such issues as: the need for greater community awareness; the organ donation crisis in Ontario; medical aspects of brain death and organ donation; Rabbinic sources on end of life - two Halachic positions; and a panel discussion: Personal Reflections - Recipients and Donor Families. Trillium Gift of Life Network Board Member Rabbi Reuven Bulka will present the keynote address: "Organ Donation: The Unspoken Issues". Ticket prices are: $36 non-members; $30 members; and $18 students. Lunch is included.

To register or for more information email or call the Synagogue office, 416-789-3213.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Hockey Night for Life
Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 4:00PM

The Toronto Marlies, in partnership with Trillium Gift of Life Network, will hold an Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Night on Sunday, April 15, 2007 at Ricoh Coliseum at 4:00 p.m. Come out and show your support, wear your green ribbon and make this a night to remember. The Toronto Marlies will be playing the Grand Rapids Griffins. To order tickets - save $10 on Awareness Night - contact Stephen Pickett at 416-263-3520 or email Stephen and be sure to have your order in by April 6, 2006. For more information, please see the Marlies Website.

Click on the poster for a larger picture

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Organ retrieval after cardiac death a first for Grand River Hospital in Kitchener

This article in today's Kitchener Record is another success story in Trillium Gift of Life Network's initiatives to increase organ donation in Ontario.

Request from family of St. Catharines man paved way for donated kidneys, valve and eyes

KITCHENER (Mar 9, 2007)
by Anne Kelly

Grand River Hospital is the first community hospital in Canada where organs have been retrieved from someone after cardiac death, rather than traditional brain death.

A year-old initiative of the Trillium Gift of Life Network, and a request by the family of the patient, Michael Irving of St. Catharines, paved the way for his kidneys, heart valve and eyes to be donated Jan. 25, Irving's mother Laura said in a phone interview.

To protect the confidentiality of the donor and recipient, Grand River and Trillium have not previously spoken about the retrieval.

Laura Irving said her 30-year-old son, a diabetic, fell ill and collapsed unexpectedly at home on Jan. 22. He was rushed to St. Catharines General Hospital, where he placed on life support.

He was transferred to Grand River because it was the nearest hospital with a critical-care unit capable of handling complex cases like his.

Tests at Grand River determined he had suffered an arterial stroke, which damaged his brain stem and cortex, Laura said. "There was absolutely no hope for recovery. I'm a firm believer if there's no hope, that's it. Why prolong the suffering?"

In December 2005, the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation supported proceeding with organ donation after cardiac death.

For the past 20 years, people dying from cardiac death were eligible to be tissue donors only.

Organ donation after cardiac death was launched in the United States, about four years ago. Trillium adopted the new initiative in March 2006, as part of plan to increase organ donations.

Since last June there have been 10 such donations in Ontario, the first eight at teaching hospitals.

The head of Trillium praised Grand River for breaking new ground.

"I think it's a tremendous accomplishment and something that the hospital and community should be very proud of," said Frank Markel, president of Trillium.

Read the full article.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Celebration of Life
St. Michael's Cathedral, Toronto
Friday, June 8, 2007

Trillium Gift of Life Network will hold the annual Celebration of Life to honour organ and tissue donors and their families at St. Michael's Cathedral, 65 Bond Street (corner of Shuter Street & Bond Street), Toronto on Friday, June 8 2007, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Click Here to Obtain a Donor Card

Sudbury, Ontario Walk for a Second Chance

Bell Park Amphitheatre parking lot on Paris Street, Sudbury, 11:00 a.m. with sign-ins at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 28, 2007.

This is our 8th Annual Walk to promote organ and tissue donation awareness in Sudbury and area. After the walk, at approximately 12:30 p.m., we will hold the Living Green Ribbon event which will be a first for Sudbury. For more information, contact Mel O'Reilly at (705) 566-1328 or email.

Thunder Bay, Ontario 9th Annual Run For Life, 5km Run/Walk
10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 21, 2007

The 9th Annual Run for Life will take place in Thunder Bay on Saturday, April 21, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. T-Shirt pick-up and registration will take place on Friday, April 20, 2007, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. at Confederation College, Ryan Hall, or on Saturday, April 21, 2007, 9:00 - 9:30 a.m. Refreshments and prizes will be available in the Cafeteria at Ryan Hall following the Run. Entry fee is $20:00, which includes T-shirt; free for those 13 years of age and under; a gift is also included (max. 2 per adult). NO BIKES OR ROLLER BLADES PLEASE. Pets are welcome on the route only. The event will proceed regardless of the weather. For more information, please call Sandra Petzel (807) 684-6033 or Sean Albanese (807) 684-6172.

5th Annual Windsor, Ontario Bowlathon April 22, 2007

Windsor Organ Transplant, 5th Annual Bowlathon
Sunday, April 22, 2007

Windsor Organ Transplant is holding its 5th Annual Bowlathon on Sunday, April 22, 2007 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm at Rose Bowl Lane, 2482 Dougall Ave. Windsor, Ontario. For pledge sheets contact George McLeod at 1-877-845-7062 or 519-735-7619.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

InterMune Discontinues Phase 3 INSPIRE Trial of Actimmune in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

This news release caught my attention because when I was first diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) my physicians tried to get me enrolled in a trial of Actimmune (interferon gamma-1b) but enrollment was already closed. At the time it offered a glimmer of hope for slowing the progression of IPF and extending survival time. But now, sadly, it seems that Actimmune did no better than a placebo in the trials.

BRISBANE, Calif., March 5, 2007 InterMune, Inc. today announced that it has discontinued the Phase 3 INSPIRE clinical trial evaluating Actimmune® (interferon gamma-1b) in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) based upon the recommendation of the study's independent data monitoring committee (DMC). In a planned interim analysis that included a total of 115 deaths, the DMC found the overall survival result crossed a predefined stopping boundary for lack of benefit of Actimmune® relative to placebo. Among the 826 randomized patients, there was not a statistically significant difference between treatment groups in overall mortality (14.5% in the Actimmune group as compared to 12.7% in the placebo group). Based on a preliminary review of the interim safety data, the adverse events associated with Actimmune® therapy appear generally consistent with prior clinical experience, including constitutional symptoms, neutropenia and possibly pneumonia.

INSPIRE was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Actimmune® in IPF patients with mild to moderate impairment in lung function. The primary endpoint was survival time. The lack of benefit stopping boundary was developed to allow for early study termination in the event interim data were statistically inconsistent with a clinically meaningful treatment effect of Actimmune®. InterMune plans to submit the data from the Phase 3 INSPIRE trial for presentation at an appropriate medical meeting and for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Read the full Press Release.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Heart recipient scales world's highest peaks!

A blog posting by Doctor Anonymous caught my eye and what I was about to read blew me away. He tells of an AP article that describes the story of Kelly Perkins, a 45 year-old heart transplant recipient who, along with her husband Craig, is making a positive impact on organ, blood, and tissue donation and participation. How are they doing this? By climbing some of the world's most challenging mountains!

Read Kelly's full story at their web site where you will also find an amazing photo gallery of their climbing accomplishments.

In September 1992 Kelly was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy after an EKG captured her resting heart rate at 190 beats per minute. She apparently caught a virus that infected her heart. On November 20, 1995, Kelly received a heart transplant at UCLA.

Renewed with life, Kelly went on to shock the medical world by becoming the first ever heart transplant recipient to reach the peak of some of the world’s most famous mountains, including one of the “Seven Summits,” Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. In 2003, Craig and Kelly returned to the Swiss Alps to cast their own shadow on the trails below, this time while standing on the top of the Matterhorn. Their remarkable comeback story is a testament to courage, commitment and the relentless desire to live.

Kelly is an inspiration to us all.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Donate to Transplant Research

How to Donate to Transplant Research at Toronto General Hospital

I receive numerous inquries about how to donate to the transplant program at Toronto General Hospital. It's really very easy to do and it's also very easy to mark your donation for a specific purpose; just indicate what area you would like your donation to go to. For example, it could be for "transplant research", or more specifically for research in a certain area, such as "lung transplant research" etc. That's all there is to it.

There are a number of ways to give as listed on the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation web site:

For One-time, In Tribute and In Memoriam donations or Circle of Life memberships click here.

For monthly giving click here.

Thank your healthcare professional. Honour a loved one. Celebrate a friend or colleague. A commemorative gift is a thoughtful way to pay tribute to someone who matters in your life. To make a commemorative gift click here.

A matching gift is a donation made by an employer that matches the amount of an employee’s gift. Depending on the matching strategy that a company has in place, it may match an employee’s gift dollar for dollar – or in multiples – resulting in a much larger, more effective gift.

To make a matching gift or for more information click here.

Bequests, gifts of life insurance, charitable annuities, charitable remainder trusts, residual interest agreements, Gifts of Appreciated Property and Gifts of Securities are just a few more ways you can make a gift to the foundation. For more information on planned giving click here.

If you would rather mail or fax a donation, please go to the Foundation web site above for an offline, printer-friendly form.

Your donation will be gratefully accepted by cheque. Please mail to:

Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation
R. Fraser Elliott Building, 5th Floor
190 Elizabeth Street
Toronto, ON M5G 2C4

Credit card donations can also be made by calling the Foundation at 416-340-3935 or toll free 1-877-846-4483 (UHN-GIVE).

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Windsor, Ontario to host
2008 Canadian Transplant Games

The Canadian Transplant Association (CTA) has awarded the City of Windsor the privilege of hosting the 2008 Canadian Transplant Games. Over 300 transplant recipients from across the country, ranging in age from 5 to 76 will gather in Windsor to compete, volunteer and support one another. Sports included in the Canada Transplant Games are track and field, swimming, tennis, table tennis, squash, badminton, golf, volleyball, lawn bowling and bowling. The dates are August 5-10, 2008. It is the first time this event is being held in Ontario. The Games were recently held in Edmonton and the flag has been passed to the City of Windsor for 2008.

“The Canadian Transplant Games are an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation in this country,” said Janet Brady, a liver transplant recipient from London, Ontario, and Past President of the CTA”. “Transplantation has enormous potential to positively change people's lives - a potential limited only by the number of donors and we are thrilled to have the City of Windsor help us share that vision.”

Augie Ravija, Executive Director of the Windsor-Essex Sport Tourism Alliance expressed his enthusiasm by stating, “These Games provide a perfect venue for transplant athletes and their families to celebrate an incredibly precious gift - the gift of life. And we are very excited and honoured to host these Games in Windsor and look forward to helping the CTA promote organ and tissue donation.”

The CTA is a charitable organization that includes transplant-recipients, donors, donor families, and supporters who are committed to identifying and removing barriers to organ donation. As a volunteer organization, the CTA encourages and motivates transplant recipients to maintain a healthy lifestyle by supporting athletic and other awareness events.

WESTA seeks to stimulate the growth of the sport and tourism community within our region by attracting more events and promoting Windsor & Essex County as the preferred region for sporting events and activities. WESTA maintains a strategic partnership with the Convention & Visitors Bureau, the City of Windsor, and the Municipalities of Essex County.

For more information, please contact:
Augie Ravija - Executive Director, WESTA
(519) 253-3616 Ext. 233
Niva Segatto - Games Chairperson, 2008 Bid Committee
(519) 251-0705
Janet Brady - Past President, Canadian Transplant Association
(519) 633-1280 Ext. 228