Numbers are in: 39,034 organ transplants in U.S.; 1,415 in Ontario . . . COVID-19 vaccine info here for transplant/dialysis patients

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has released the numbers and they show that a total of 39,034 organ transplants were performed in the United States in 2020.

That total, which isn’t broken down, represents transplants from living and deceased donors, and it’s the second-highest on record, behind only the record 39,719 performed in 2019.

The decrease is due to a falling off in transplant surgery involving live donors that is directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is good news in that the pace of living donor transplantation has picked up since June.

From a UNOS news release: “Many transplant programs temporarily deferred living donor transplantation in areas particularly affected by outbreaks of the virus due to concerns of unnecessarily exposing potential living donors and living donor recipients to possible COVID-19 infection. A total of 5,725 living donor transplants were performed in 2020, a decrease of 22.6 percent over the record of 7,397 set in 2019. Living donor transplants since June of 2020 have occurred at rates more similar to pre-pandemic activity.”

In the U.S., organ donation from deceased donors rose for a 10th straight year, with 12,587 people providing one or more organs, up six per cent from 2019, according to UNOS.

From that UNOS news release: “A record 36,548 organs from deceased donors were transplanted, either individually or in multi-organ combinations. This resulted in 33,309 people receiving life-saving transplants from deceased donors in 2020 — setting another annual record for the eighth consecutive year. This occurred despite significant adverse effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, where deceased donor transplantation briefly fell by approximately 50 percent in early April before returning to a more consistent baseline in late May.”

That news release is right here.


The Trillium Gift of Life Network, which monitors organ donation and transplants in Ontario, shows that there were 1,415 transplants conducted there in what it refers to as the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Those transplants involved 529 kidneys from deceased donors, 227 kidneys from living donors, 228 livers from deceased donors, 70 livers from living donors, 97 hearts and 208 lungs.

Trillium also reports “more than 176,000” new donor registrations, meaning there now are 4,3 million registered donors in Ontario. That was an increase of 35 per cent for 2018-19. Interestingly, 51 per cent of the deceased donors were registered.

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.

What takes 2 minutes? Brushing your teeth. Picking a Netflix movie. Registering as an organ donor. #TakeTwoMinutes and register now. #Register2Give

Ready to go Kidney Walking in Kamloops. . . . Pearlman, Valdez talk about transplant. . . . Mother wants to make late son proud, donates kidney

Almost all is in readiness for Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk.

We will gather on Sunday at McDonald Park on the North Shore, with registration at 10 a.m., and the walk to begin at 11.

Edna Humphreys is the executive director of the Kamloops branch of the Kidney KWlogo2Foundation. I can tell you from experience that without her leadership and organizational skills, the Kidney Walk would experience some difficult times.

(It’s also worth noting that if it’s a renal-related activity in Kamloops, you can bet that Humphreys is in the forefront. Among other things, she is a co-founder of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group, and also is the lead organizer of a Christmas luncheon for dialysis patients and transplant recipients. With music by old friend Jesse Jones. Yessss!)

Anyway . . . Humphreys recently took time out from her busy schedule to talk with Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week about the 2019 Kidney Walk.

That story is right here.

One of my favourite renal-related stories involves a woman named Catherine Pearlman, who walked into a Los Angeles-area Starbucks on Dec. 30, saw a poster on a bulletin board, and decided that very moment to become a kidney donor. . . . The result was that Eli Valdez, a complete stranger, received one of her kidneys. . . . They told their story to, and it’s all right here.

If you missed it earlier, Pearlman wrote about her experience for the Los Angeles Times, and that piece is right here.

Catherine’s husband, Jeff Pearlman, is a writer and published author. He wrote on his blog about what all of this meant to him. Here’s how he started it:

“It’s 10:15 am, and as I write this my wife Catherine is in surgery here at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center — donating one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.

“You read that correctly, but I recommend reading it again. My wife Catherine is in surgery donating one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.”

The complete piece is right here.

BTW, if you are a sporting fan and haven’t read Jeff’s book, Football for a Buck, you’re cheating yourself. It’s all about the USFL — remember that league? — and is loaded with especially juicy anecdotes, including some involving, yes, Donald Trump.

Laura Gillum’s son, Dean, was 23 months old when he drowned in the family’s backyard pool in the Pittsburgh area in 2015. His heart, lover and kidneys were donated.

“My son was amazing,” she told Lisa Washington of KDKA-TV. “At 23 months old, he saved three people’s lives. Not many people can say that, and even though he’s gone, I try every day to do something to make him proud of me.”

On March 7, Lisa donated a kidney to Brian Cox, a complete stranger. They met early in April.

“I just can’t comprehend why someone wouldn’t want to donate their kidney, so hopefully getting the message out, more people will want to do it and that they’ll want to educate themselves to find out just what everything entails,” Gillum said.

Washington’s complete story is right here.

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