How the coalition got its start

Serendipity … that word probably best explains how the many individuals

impacted by transplantation, personally and professionally, came together.

Unbeknownst to one another, both Barbara Esdale and Sharon Marcus began asking medical professionals how they might use their skills and experience to help raise awareness of the urgent need for organ and tissue donation in our province.

Their passion was very personal. Barb had been touched by the gift of life when her husband received a double-lung transplant, and Sharon had just experienced the miracle of transplantation when her son received a kidney.

Various conversations led them to the office of Dr. Atul Humar, the Director of the newly minted Alberta Transplant Institute in the summer of 2012. A piece of Dr. Humar’s work had already led him to collaborating with Nancy McDonald, a policy expert who was providing guidance to ATI on how to advocate with Government. Dr. Atul, along with Dr. Lori West, brought these concerned individuals together to share ideas and strategies for moving forward with a campaign to raise organ and tissue donation awareness.

In early September 2012, this small group invited a few other interested individuals and organizations to join in the discussion and gathered in a room at the University. The enthusiasm and agreement of participants at this meeting gave birth to the Alberta Donates LIFE Coalition.

Common concerns of medical staff, transplant recipients and advocates, and organizations that deal with kidney, lung, liver, heart and tissue donation in Alberta is the basis for this collaboration across the province. Connections will continue to be made with individuals, transplant recipients and advocates, and organizations across Alberta.

Atul Humar is currently a Professor in the

Department of Medicine, University of Toronto.

Barbara Esdale is an experienced educator for more than 40 years.

Sharon Marcus has worked in the non-profit sector for over 25 years.

Nancy McDonald is a community advocate and policy expert.