(Not) Dressed for Success

We’ve been advocating for Canadians to register to become organ donors for a long time now. Truly, we’ve been fairly pleased with our impact, though in the grand scheme of things, it’s hardly been a ripple. We’ve seen Canadians step up and sign up in times of great tragedy, and we’ve been impressed with the level of advocacy in this area. And yet thousands of Canadians remain on the wait-list for organ transplantation.

We’ve begun to open our eyes to the full picture in Canada. We’ve talked to people at the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP), and have broadened our reading list to include more than just the conundrum of those signing up, or not.

What we’ve learned has caused us to pause for a moment to consider how we can contribute to improving organ transplantation in Canada. While it is important to continue to advocate for organ donation among all Canadians, the biggest impact will likely come from improving the way health care in Canada is set up to actually succeed in this critical area. As of now, we are not dressed for success.

In order for someone to successfully become an organ donor, so many things need to go just right. From the type of hospital, to the appropriate staffing, to the unit in which you are being cared for, whether or not mechanical ventilation is part of the care, process and practice regulations/rules, (and so much more) – all these elements must occur in a specific way. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen often enough.

Through a Canadian Institute for Health Information study, we learned that only about 1 in 6 potential donors become actual donors. If this could be addressed/improved, Canada’s wait list would be mostly fulfilled.

While these rather startling realities hit home, the notion of improvement is not a simple one. We are going to take some time to figure out how we can contribute, understanding that there is a great deal happening in this space. In the meantime – sign up to be an organ donor and be part of the discussion.



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We were full of vim and vigor this summer. Yup, we were going to kick some proverbial butt and have some serious impact on the organ donation conundrum in Canada. But we didn’t. We’ll admit that we became a little discouraged at the numbers. The number of those waiting for a life-saving transplant; the number of Canadians still not signed up to be organ donors; and most devastatingly, the number of people – children, parents, friends, wives and husbands – who died waiting.

What has called us back to the table? Well, it’s not numbers. It’s people. People like sweet little Zaccari in New Brunswick waiting for a kidney. And people like Jim. Jim’s road was as rocky as you can imagine, but this summer he finally seemed to turn a corner towards health and happiness. A long, long road.

We bumped into Jim quite by chance not too long ago and we were absolutely struck by how fantastic he looks and sounds. It’s a miracle, and one worth reinvesting in.

We want more miracles. Sign up to be a donor today.

#beadonor #jimshearts

Jim Nashville

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Boomerang Kick in the Pants

We’ve been at this advocacy thing for a while now. Sure, we’ve moved the bar by an inch or so, but if we are to be honest, we thought that we’d be a lot farther by now. We thought that Jim’s story would have provided the proverbial kick in the pants that people seem to need in order to sign up to be organ donors. Looks like more is required, which is like our kick in the pants ricocheting off of others and kicking us back. What to do?

It would be easy to say that we’ve done as much as we can in this area, but we know that there are thousands on the waiting list today. We cannot and will not turn our backs on them and their families and friends. So, we’re gearing up for another kick at what has proved to be the most challenging and illogical conundrum. We’re looking at you – if you don’t know why you should sign up to be an organ donor, we’re going to tell you. If you need more than Jim’s story to motivate you, we’re going to tell more. If you need to be reminded that it could be you on the waiting list, we’ll let you know.

Get ready.

#beadonor #jimshearts


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Blessings on Your Silver Anniversary

Three years ago we shared a message from Marah that was filled with desperation. Jim was very, very sick and a new heart seemed almost impossible. The message, on their 22nd wedding anniversary, went on to circle the world with almost 15,000 people sharing Marah’s anguished words.

Today, Jim and Marah are celebrating their 25th. To “celebrate” seems like such a little word, considering the path they’ve been on from despair to hope to life. Since April 30, 2015, the day Jim received his miracle of life, every milestone has become so much more meaningful. Jim and Marah are gratefully aware that on April 30, 2015, another family lost someone precious to them, and shared life with another. Celebrations like today’s will always include the family who made it possible.

Many happy returns of the day Marah and Jim – Happy Silver Anniversary! And many blessings to the family who gave the ultimate gift: life.

Be inspired. Be a donor. #jimshearts

anniversary 25

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A Life Well Lived

We said good-bye to one of the loveliest men we’ve had the honour to know this week. Mr. Peter Karson passed away too soon at the age of 71, after a lengthy illness. His (very brave) daughter spoke at his funeral about his incredible determination, integrity and courage, but mostly she spoke of love. Love for his family, his sisters, his friends and his wife of 51 years, Dianna. It’s a wonderful tribute to a person that when looking back on a life well lived, we talk of love.

Mr. Karson’s legacy lives on in his children and his grand-children, but also in the two people who were given the gift of sight by his final act of generosity and love. Trillium Gift of Life confirmed with the family that Mr. Karson’s corneas were successfully transplanted to two individuals – an incredible gift from an incomparable man.

Our hearts go out to Dianna, Laurie, Chris and family.


You can be a donor. Live your life with love.

Laurie and Peter


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A Gift of Love

A few years ago (!) we posted about National Donor Day (US) being shared with Valentine’s Day. We thought it was pretty awesome then, and still think so! The gift of life that a donor gives to someone waiting for an organ transplant truly is a gift of love. We can’t think of anything more touching and amazing.

This Valentine’s Day, consider the ultimate gift by making your intentions known to those close to you, and by signing up to be a donor. (Outside Ontario: sign up here). Give the gift of love this Valentine’s Day.

#jimshearts #beadonor #nationaldonorday

kissing jim

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Not That Simple

A few people have shared with us France’s decision to make organ donation automatic. We’re impressed, for sure, but we also understand that this isn’t the fix to fix all problems.

It’s like our own Bill C-316, “An Act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency (organ donors)”, and give Canadians the opportunity on their annual tax return to indicate their desire to be added to their province or territory’s organ donor registry in a convenient, effective and efficient manner. (Yes, please do sign the petition). This Bill is super-awesome, but again, not the magic elixir.

Bottom line, these initiatives are fantastic in that they are moving the seemingly heavy yard stick of organ donation….but without EDUCATION, they both fall flat.

You see, without educating our population about organ donation, and the necessity to talk about your wishes with your family, things can still go awry. If your family is faced with the decision upon your death to donate your organs and they don’t know of your wishes (or at least understand the importance of organ donation and the gift of life) they can refuse to do so. Unfortunately this happens a lot.

Be the educator. Start at your kitchen table tonight – and we’ll go from there.

#beadonor #jimshearts


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