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BC’s Organ Donor Registry reaches 1 million

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BC Transplant celebrated a major milestone today that will help save lives in British Columbia: the 1 millionth registration in the province’s Organ Donor Registry.

​Burnaby resident Wendy Bertelsen, who signed up at a registration drive where she works, is the 1 millionth British Columbian to register a decision. She was joined by provincial representatives and transplant recipients at a celebration held at Vancouver General Hospital. Bertelsen was presented with a certificate of thanks by liver transplant recipient Joanne Arcardo along with Greg Kyllo, Parliamentary Secretary for the BC Jobs Plan to the Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training.

Public awareness of organ donation through community outreach, provincial partnerships and online initiatives has contributed to achieving this milestone.

BC Transplant recently partnered with Service BC, making it easy for people to register their decision at any of the 62 Service BC locations. BC Transplant received approximately 60,000 new registrations in 2015/2016. This partnership has led to an increase of more than 23,000 registrations for the year compared to the previous five-year average. Based on the success of this partnership, a similar pilot project is now underway at four ICBC locations and with Canadian Blood Services at blood donor clinics. BC Transplant staff and volunteer recipients also host registration drives at community events across B.C. – like the Canada Day celebrations at Canada Place where the registration team will be on July 1, 2016.

The Organ Donor Registry, established in 1997, was paper-based until 2008 when online registration using a personal computer became possible. A system upgrade in 2016 now makes it possible for people to register online using any computer or mobile device.

The one-millionth registration signals the start of B.C.’s shift to a culture that embraces organ donation as a normal part of end-of-life options. Currently 95% of British Columbians support organ donation and 21% have registered their decision. BC Transplant encourages everyone to
register and to talk to their family about their decision so that more lives can be saved through organ donation.

One organ donor can save eight lives – it’s never been easier to register at or in person at any Service BC office. 


Health Minister Terry Lake

“More organ donors means more people have the chance to recover from an illness and live happy, active lives. We’ve made it easier for British Columbians to register their decision about organ donation, whether it’s at a Service BC location or online. With more options and locations
available, we’re seeing an increase in the number of registered donors in B.C.”

Greg Kyllo, Parliamentary Secretary for the BC Jobs Plan to the Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training

“Reaching this milestone means hope for the hundreds of British Columbians waiting for a transplant. It’s never been easier to register your decision online or in person. I urge everyone to take two minutes now to register – you have the potential to change someone’s life forever.”

Ed Ferre, Provincial Operations Director, BC Transplant, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority

“B.C. has made significant strides in improving organ donation rates in B.C. through new hospital-based donation physicians and coordinators who support the donation process. When we are able to show a family that their loved one was registered, it makes such a difference, as
they know they are following through with their loved one’s wishes.”

Wendy Bertelsen, 1 millionth registered donor
“Organ donation is not something you like to think about, until it directly affects you—that’s what happened to me. When a family member became very ill it really hit home. Luckily, she recovered, but not everyone is so lucky. I’m glad I made the decision to register now, you just never know what impact you might have on someone’s life.”

Joanne Arcardo, liver transplant recipient
“My donor’s last act in this world was to pass on life to me. I am so very grateful that they decided to register their decision and in the midst of their tragedy, save my life. They are my heroes.”

Quick Facts 

  • BC was the first province in Canada to create an official registry to legally record a person’s wishes regarding organ donation. 
  • Established in 1997, the Organ Donor Registry allows people to record a yes or a no decision. Online registration using a personal computer was enabled in 2008 and a recent system upgrade now makes it possible for people to register on any computer or mobile device. 
  • There are currently 613 people in B.C. waiting for a transplant. 
  • In 2015, B.C. performed a record-breaking 422 transplants, thanks to the gifts of life from 95 deceased donors and 113 living donors. 
  • B.C.’s deceased donor rate for 2015 is 20.2 donors per million population – one of the highest rates in Canada. 
  • Less than one percent of British Columbians die in a way that would enable them to become organ donors. 
  • Anyone, regardless of their medical history, religion, age, or sexual preference can register their decision in the Organ Donor Registry.
  • Register your decision at or at any Service BC office 

BC Transplant provides provincial oversight for all aspects or organ donation and transplantation in BC, and is an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). BC’s three transplant centres are BC Children’s Hospital, St Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre. Transplant patients receive follow up care at the transplant centres or at one of eight regional clinics close to their home community. More information: or follow us on Twitter @BC_Transplant. 

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) plans, manages and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @PHSAofBC.


Media contact: 
Peggy John
Manager Communications & Community Relations BC Transplant
Cell: 604.789.0446
Provincial Health Services Authority Media pager: 604.871.5699 

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