Three children were among the 33 people who got a new heart in B.C. in 2020, and 55 more had a lung transplant operation completed, both records set despite surgical restrictions put in place as preparation for COVID-19 pressure on hospitals.
B.C. Transplant, the health ministry agency that manages the B.C. Organ Donor Registry and the resulting surgeries, says its liver transplant program also tied its 2017 record with 80 procedures in 2020, two of which were combined with kidney transplants. The kidney transplant program “also had a very productive year with a total of 280 transplants,” the agency said Feb. 17.
One of the heart recipients is Jason Gray-Stanford, 50, a Vancouver actor who had a transplant late in the year after an unexpected heart failure. He said the procedure allowed him to resume a normal life.
“Because of my transplant, I now have the freedom to do everything I used to do and then some,” Gray-Standford said. “This heart is a gift for which I am forever grateful, and one that I shall never squander.”
More than 1.5 million people have signed up by putting their personal health number on B.C.’s Organ Donor Registry at www.taketwominutes.ca, but the need for donors remains high. As of Jan. 1, 2021, there were 737 people waiting for a suitable organ for transplant in B.C.
Registration is open to people at least 19 years old, and requires your health number, name, birth date and address. Those who have trouble registering their decision online can call 1-800-663-6189 for assistance.