What i've been through


  • One donor can save up to 8 lives and benefit more than 75 people
  • Spain has the highest organ donation rate in the world with 36 donors per million people in
  • Canada’s rate is HALF that – 18 donors per million people – the US has 26 people per million
  • All major religions APPROVE of organ and tissue donation
  • Anyone can become a organ donor at any age
  • A 90% majority of Canadians support organ and tissue donation but less than 25% have made plans to donate
  • About 1578 people in Ontario are awaiting an organ or tissue transplant, 17,023 Ontarians have received a lifesaving organ transplant since 2003
  • There are 4,500 people waiting for organ donation in Canada. 260 of those people waiting for transplant will die every year, that’s about 5 deaths per week, or one death about every 30 hours that could be saved if they had a viable donor
  • There are 1600 people added to the organ transplant wait list every year
  • There has been a tissue donation by someone older than 100 and an organ donation by someone older than 90
  • In the week following the Humboldt tragedy the online registrations were up almost 1,000 per cent
  • Organs that can be transplanted are the liver, small bowel, kidney, pancreas, heart and lung


What is a Bone Marrow Transplant?

First, chemotherapy and/ or radiation both may be given. Then the recipient receives the required bone marrow transplant;

There are 3 different types of bone marrow transplant types: umbilical cord blood transplant , Autologous bone marrow transplant, and allogeneic bone marrow transplant. The one I underwent was the allogeneic.

The term allo means other. Stem cells are removed from another person, called a donor. Most times, the donor’s genes must at least partly match your genes. Special tests are done to see if a donor is a good match for you. A brother or sister is most likely to be a good match. Sometimes parents, children, and other relatives are good matches. Donors who are not related to you, yet still match, may be found through national bone marrow registries.

The stem cells are delivered into your bloodstream usually through a tube called a central venous catheter. The process is similar to getting a blood transfusion. The stem cells travel through the blood into the bone marrow. Most times, no surgery is needed.

Donor stem cells can be collected in two ways:

Bone marrow harvest. This minor surgery is done under general anesthesia. This means the donor will be asleep and pain-free during the procedure. The bone marrow is removed from the back of both hip bones. The amount of marrow removed depends on the weight of the person who is receiving it.

Leukapheresis. First, the donor is given several days of shots to help stem cells move from the bone marrow into the blood. During leukapheresis, blood is removed from the donor through an IV line. The part of white blood cells that contains stem cells is then separated in a machine and removed to be later given to the recipient. The red blood cells are returned to the donor.


Why a Bone Marrow Transplant is Performed:

A bone marrow transplant replaces bone marrow that is either not working properly or has been destroyed (ablated) by chemotherapy or radiation. Doctors believe that for many cancers, the donor’s white blood cells may attack any remaining cancer cells, similar to when white cells attack bacteria or viruses when fighting an infection.

What is Car T cell therapy?

CAR T-cell therapy. A type of treatment in which a patient’s T cells (a type of immune cell) are changed in the laboratory so they will bind to cancer cells and kill them. Blood from a vein in the patient’s arm flows through a tube to an apheresis machine (not shown), which removes the white blood cells, including the T cells, and sends the rest of the blood back to the patient. Then, the gene for a special receptor called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is inserted into the T cells in the laboratory. Millions of the CAR T cells are grown in the laboratory and then given to the patient by infusion. The CAR T cells are able to bind to an antigen on the cancer cells and kill them.

Source: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/car-t-cell-therapy


What is Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD)?

Graft versus host disease (GvHD) is a condition that might occur after an allogeneic transplant. In GvHD, the donated bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells view the recipient’s body as foreign, and the donated cells/bone marrow attack the body.

There are two forms of GvHD:

  • Acute graft versus host disease (aGvHD).
  • Chronic graft versus host disease (cGvHD).

As an allogeneic transplant recipient, you might experience either form of GvHD, both forms, or neither.

Source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10255-graft-vs-host-disease-an-overview-in-bone-marrow-transplant

GvHD of the Lung:

Chronic GVHD of the lungs happens when the donor’s cells attack the small airways (tubes) in your lungs. This can make your lungs inflamed (red and swollen) and cause scarring. • When this happens, your lungs do not work properly. You might feel short of breath, or less able to exercise. Chronic GVHD of the lungs can cause coughing, chest tightness or feeling like you cannot take a deep breath.

Resource: https://bethematch.org/uploadedfiles/bethematchcontent/patients_and_families/life_after_transplant/physical_health_and_recovery/graft-versus-host_disease_(gvhd)/gvhd_treatment/gvhd_lungs.pdf