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Left to right: Dr. Mark Cattral, Dr. Mamatha Bhat, Dr. Gonzalo Sapisochin, Julie Cissell, Megan Thomas, Brittany Cole


A Monthly Newsletter from
the Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN

Late last month we announced Living Donation Week 2020 - a week-long online event designed to celebrate living organ donation as well as highlight the important work led by UHN to improve access and equity in living organ donation and transplantation.

Join us from September 14 to 18, as we host a series of educational, interactive webinars in the morning, over lunch and in the afternoon. Sessions will include practical information and new resources available to support patients along their journey. We will also host a Dragon’s Den competition to showcase innovative ideas and transformative projects from the next generation of transplant experts (early bird deadline for submission is September 1). A thought leadership panel on the Future of Transplantation and Living Donation, moderated by André Picard, and a celebration of living donors and their extraordinary gifts will round out the week.

This event will bring together liver and kidney transplant researchers and clinicians, referring centre partners, community leaders, students, living donors, caregivers, transplant recipients, and everyone who wants to be part of our future. Living Donation Week 2020 builds on our 2019 Living Donation Symposium and Donor Recognition Event. As per the requests of this year's living donors, medals commemorating their generosity (provided by Trillium Gift of Life Network) will not be distributed until we are able to do so in person. 

Looking forward to celebrating with you in September!
The Team
Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN
Clockwise starting top right: Dr. Atul Humar, Andre Picard, Lydia-Joi Marshall, Noor El-Dassouki, Dr. Blayne Sayed
Join us online in the mornings of Living Donation Week 2020 for panel discussions that showcase thought leadership, research and innovation, and collaborative projects under way to increase access and equity in living organ donation. 

In this series: 
Clockwise starting top right: Dr. Mamatha Bhat, Michael Ward, Cristina Howorun, Dr. Markus Selzner, Dr. Zita Galvin, Brittany Cole, Len Hodder
Grab your lunch and join us for these educational and thought provoking online sessions that will ask questions ranging from "what should I eat to remain healthy before and after surgery?" to "what does it mean to be a woman on the transplant wait list?" This series explores some of the less talked about subjects in living donation and transplantation, and is sure to provide some food for thought. 

In this series: 
Clockwise starting top right: Heather Lannon, Chantal Wiggins, Mridula 'Mo' Sury, Bee-Jay Realubit
The afternoons of Living Donation Week will be dedicated to our In Conversation series. Join us for an opportunity to ask our living donor transplant teams, front line staff and patient partners your most pressing questions. These online sessions are moderated by members of our Volunteer Advisory Council whose lived experience with living organ donation will help guide the conversation.

In this series: 

Call for Submissions 

Q: Are you interested in improving quality of care for under-served or marginalized groups? 

Q: Are you a Canadian student or emerging researcher in kidney or liver disease, medicine, health equity or other relevant topic? 

Q: Do you have an important research topic or brilliant idea to increase access, raise awareness or improve the experience of living organ donation and transplantation?  

If your answer is YES! to at least two of these questions, consider submitting your idea to the Dragon’s Den Competition & Pitch Showcase at Living Donation Week 2020. Submissions will consist of: 

  • A 2-4 minute video pitch recorded on your computer or mobile device, and 

  • A backgrounder explaining your study or project and why it merits attention and resources. The backgrounder can be an academic research poster or a PDF document (max 500 words) and optionally, a relevant graphic appropriate for sharing on social media

All accepted entries will be profiled during the Living Donation Week 2020 Program. The video pitches will be available on the Centre for Living Organ Donation’s Youtube Channel. While there, check out the presentations at last year’s Symposium on Access & Equity in Living Organ Donation

The top submissions will be invited to participate in an online Dragon’s Den Q & A Session and Awards Presentation to be held on September 18, 2020 starting at 12 noon Eastern.  

To increase your chances of being shortlisted for the Dragon's Den Competition, submit by the early bird deadline and encourage friends and colleagues to like your project on Youtube in the lead up to the competition. 

Why Participate? 

In addition to bragging rights for being part of the Living Donation Week 2020 Pitch Showcase, applicants shortlisted for the Dragon’s Den Competition will be invited to present their project or research before a distinguished panel and a live online audience.  

Winning Dragon’s Den entries will receive planning and implementation support from the Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN, including: 

  • up to $10,000 to cover costs associated with further research, pilot testing or scaling the proposed project; and/or 

  • mentorship and support from our distinguished faculty of educators, transplant researchers, and kidney and liver disease specialists.   

A total of $17,500 will be awarded by the Dragon’s Den Panel, with prizes for the top 3 entries and possibly more, depending on the number and quality of submissions received. Only those who participate in the Dragon’s Den will be eligible cash awards although the Panel may decide to recognize Pitch Showcase participants as well.  

Eligibility & Selection Criteria 

High school students, students currently enrolled in a Canadian college or university, research and clinical fellows at UHN and beyond, and volunteers and staff of community-based organizations with a presence in Ontario are eligible to participate.  

Dragon’s Den entries will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 

  • Importance  – is the topic timely? Does it address an unmet need or gap in knowledge or care? Is it relevant to the mission of the Centre for Living Organ Donation or the Ajmera Transplant Centre at UHN? 

  • Contribution  –  does the project or research advance our understanding of the topic? Is it new or innovative? Could the findings lead to significant improvements in awareness, access to services, patient care or living donor experience?  

  • Clarity – Is the research or proposed project presented in an engaging way? Is it described clearly and succinctly? Is there a logical link between research question/goals, methods/activities and findings/outcomes?  

  • Operationalization – Are limitations and implications well described? Is the workplan reasonable/doable? Are sustainability and replicability considered? 

  • Popular Support – Poster Showcase viewers may vote online for their favourite poster/project starting on Wednesday, September 9. Youtube likes will be taken into account in the selection and final scores of Dragon’s Den entries. The top voted video pitch will automatically receive a wildcard spot in the Dragon’s Den Competition. 

Winning projects must be conducted in partnership with the Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN. 

Application Process & Timelines 

Early bird submissions are due by Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Submissions will be accepted until September 8, 2020. The earlier you submit the more time you will have to prepare for the Dragon’s Den. 

To apply and submit background materials please visit  

Submissions that pass the initial screening will receive an email confirmation of acceptance to the Showcase, ideally within 24 hours of submission.  

Entries shortlisted for the Dragon’s Den will be notified within 8 days of submission. For example, those who submit on September 1 will be notified by September 9. Those who submit on September 8, or were selected by popular vote, will be notified by September 17, 12 noon at the latest.  

Questions? Contact us.

On Wednesday September 16 - one year from the date of our Donor Recognition Event - we will take a break from the educational activity of the week to celebrate our living organ donors, their recipients, and our transplant teams. Our Celebration Event will feature living donor and transplant recipient stories, an unplugged musical performance from the Marginal Donors (Drs. Mark Cattral and Heather Ross), and messages of gratitude thanking all those who make living donation possible. You won't want to miss it! 

If you're a live donor transplant recipient and you're interested in participating in a short video to say thank you to our living donors and our live donor transplant teams, let us know! Email for more details. 

If you're part of the living donation transplant community (living donor, live donor transplant recipient, caregiver, family member or friend) and would like to add to last year's Gratitude Wall let us know! For last year's Recognition Event, we asked two artists to create unique pieces of artwork to deliver messages of gratitude to our transplant teams. These two pieces are located in Toronto General Hospital and we'll continue to add to them. If you have a message of gratitude you would like to share with the living donor kidney or living donor liver transplant teams, send it to Our team will add your message to the wall and snap a photo of it for you. 

July Webinar Recap:
Liver Transplantation & Hepatitis 

Dr. Les Lilly presents on liver transplant and hepatitis, followed by patient partner stories from Steve Pollard, liver transplant recipient and hepatitis survivor, and Heather Badenoch, non-directed living liver donor. 
If you missed our July webinar, Liver Transplantation and Viral Hepatitis presented by Dr. Les Lilly, you can now find it on our Youtube Channel. Despite the rise of NAFLD/NASH in Canada, there remains a significant amount of patients with end-stage liver disease as a result of viral hepatitis. Dr. Lilly provides insight into why living liver donation is the preferred treatment for patients in need of a liver transplant as a result of viral hepatitis. 

Our patient partners, Steve Pollard, two time liver transplant recipient and hepatitis survivor, and Heather Badenoch, non-directed living liver donor, share their respective experiences with illness, transplantation and living donation, giving a glimpse into the world of transplant from a patient perspective.  

Upcoming Events

13 August 2020 - Living Liver Donation & Transplantation
Presented by Dr. Mark Cattral, Surgical Director, Living Donor Liver Program, & Chantal Wiggins, Living Liver Donor Coordinator

A liver transplant is the treatment of choice for individuals experiencing end-stage liver failure. Living liver donation offers a shorter pathway to better health, better long-term outcomes, and the benefits of a scheduled surgery. Since 2000, UHN has performed over 900 living liver donor transplants with excellent outcomes for recipients and living donors. Our program is Canada's largest living liver donor program. Find out about liver disease trends in Canada, how living liver donation compares to deceased liver donation, what to expect before and after transplant and donation, and hear from our patient partners, Melissa Sidhu and Liz Venderbos. 
Read more and register here.

17 September 2020 - Sex-Based Disparities in Liver Transplantation & Living Organ Donation
Presented by Dr. Mamatha Bhat, Transplant Hepatologist

In both the U.S. and Canada, women are more likely to die waiting for a liver transplant compared to men. The majority of deceased donor livers come from adult males, meaning most available deceased donor livers are allocated to men. Smaller livers, from petite women or children, are typical allocated to pediatric liver transplant candidates. These long standing sex-based disparities in liver allocation and living donor liver transplantation are the subjects of our September 17 webinar presented by Dr. Mamatha Bhat. Dr. Bhat is the winner of the 2019 Polanyi Prize for her work in this field and will present alongside a patient partner who will share their experience.
Read more and register here.

Ongoing Education Events
Presented by Heather Lannon, Outreach Coordinator, Centre for Living Organ Donation

Information for Potential Living Kidney Donors
Information for Potential Living Liver Donors
Program for Reimbursing Expenses of Living Organ Donors (PRELOD)
Donor Champion Education 
Stay up to date with the Centre's events, transplant research and news, and inspiring stories of living donation by following us on social media. 
Missed last month's newsletter? Find it in our archive!
Upcoming Events
Copyright © 2020 The Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN, All rights reserved.

Mailing Address
The Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN
Toronto General Hospital
585 University Avenue, 11 PMB 100, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2N2 Canada

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The Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN · 585 University Avenue · 11 PMB 100 · Toronto, Ontario M5G 2N2 · Canada

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