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Living Transplant podcast cover

Living Transplant, a new podcast from the Ajmera Transplant Centre and the Centre for Living Organ Donation.


Join hosts Brittany Cole (Bedside Nurse, Ajmera Transplant Centre) and Courtney Mahrt (Communications, Centre for Living Organ Donation) as they explore transplantation through the perspectives of frontline staff, researchers, innovators, and transplant pioneers, as well as organ donation recipients, living organ donors, families and caregivers.


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Season 1
Episode 1 – In the Same Breath: Cystic Fibrosis and Double Lung Transplant

Hosts Brittany Cole and Courtney Mahrt interview Kadeem Morgan, a 23-year-old double lung transplant recipient living with cystic fibrosis (CF). Kadeem talks about growing up with CF – a rare genetic disease that predominantly affects Caucasian patients – as well as feelings of euphoria and guilt after transplant, and the collective rebelliousness that permeates the CF community.

More about cystic fibrosis:

Release Date: November 2, 2020 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.

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Living Transplant podcast cover
Episode 2 – Chaos in the Best of Times: Your First Transplant Workup Call

Colleen Shelton, nurse manager for the multi-organ transplant coordinators in the Ajmera Transplant Centre, explains what's kept her with the transplant program at UHN for over 25 years, including the unpredictable nature of working in transplant and being the one to make "the call." Colleen walks Courtney and Brittany through the process of a patient's first transplant workup call and shares some of her most rewarding moments working in transplant.

Release Date: November 2, 2020 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.



Episode 3 – Stay Positive, Test Negative: COVID-19 and Transplant

Courtney and Brittany sit down with Dr. Deepali Kumar, transplant infectious diseases physician in the Ajmera Transplant Centre, to talk transplant and COVID-19.

This episode was recorded June 2020. For the most recent updates on COVID-19 in Canada, please check with Health Canada.

For specific transplant related questions or specific health concerns, please check with your transplant team or health care provider.

Release Date: November 2, 2020 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.

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Episode 4 – What's Mine is Yours

Courtney and Brittany talk transplant with living liver donor Sonia Munoz, and her father and transplant recipient, Jaime. This hilarious duo walk our hosts through their whirlwind transplant experience that began in 2017, when Jaime was told he had three months to live. From chaos and uncertainty to recovery and reflection, Sonia and Jaime share their story with honesty, authenticity and laughter.

In this Episode:

Hepatic Encephalopathy  is a syndrome found in patients with liver disease such as cirrhosis. It can be defined as a spectrum of neurological abnormalities in patients with liver dysfunction. It causes personality changes, intellectual impairment and a decreased level of consciousness. Subtle signs of encephalopathy are observed in approximately 70% of patients with liver disease.

Paracentesis  is a procedure to remove fluid from your belly. It is commonly called a "tap". You may need a tap to relieve pressure from a build-up of fluid in your belly or to take a small amount of fluid for testing.

Tachycardia is the medical term for a heart rate over 100 beats per minute. There are many heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias) that can cause tachycardia.

Tinzaparin is an anticoagulant. It works by blocking certain natural substances in the blood that cause clotting.

   

Release Date: November 16, 2020 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.

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Episode 5 – 'No' Was Not an Option: Our History of Transplant Innovation

Dr. Gary Levy and Charmaine Beal walk Courtney and Brittany through the history of the Ajmera Transplant Centre (previously the Multi-Organ Transplant Program) and its astounding number of world firsts. Dr. Levy talks candidly about his determination to find a treatment for end-stage liver disease, sleeping in the ICU, recruiting Dr. Heather Ross, and his dislike for the word ‘no,’ - while Charmaine discusses the early days of the program (no OTTR!) and how her career flourished from riding the rollercoaster that is working alongside Dr. Levy. From three beds in the Eaton wing to 700 transplants in 2019, discover the origins of the program that is leading the world in transplantation.

In this Episode:

MOT is the acronym for the Multi-Organ Transplant Program, now the Ajmera Transplant Centre.

OTTR is health care software designed specifically for transplant patient care.

Release Date: November 30, 2020 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.

Please note: this episode was recorded prior to March 2020.

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Episode 6 – A Perfect Match

Floral designer and living donor kidney transplant recipient Claudia Morgan shares her experience living with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), postponing the reality of kidney failure for a trip to Paris, and turning to her church for help with finding a living donor. Claudia speaks openly about life on dialysis – including the bond you form with your 'dialysis family' – as well as her reluctance to share her health condition with others, pushing out of her comfort zone to find a living donor through social media, and what it's like to go 'viral.'

In this Episode:

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder in which clusters of cysts develop primarily within your kidneys, causing your kidneys to enlarge and lose function over time.

In hemodialysis , a machine filters wastes, salts and fluid from your blood when your kidneys are no longer healthy enough to do this work adequately. Hemodialysis (he-moe-die-AL-uh-sis) is one way to treat advanced kidney failure and can help you carry on an active life despite failing kidneys.

Release Date: December 14, 2020 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.

Please note: this episode was recorded prior to March 2020. For the most up to date information on the Transplant Ambassador Program (TAP), please visit their website.

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Bonus Episode Living Transplant
Episode 7 – The Gift That Keeps on Giving

In this bonus episode, Living Transplant shares four stories of transplant, organ donation and the holiday season, all woven around an insightful interview with Stefan Pankiw, Spiritual Care, UHN. A heads up, this episode runs the gamut of emotions! From Hallmark movies and receiving the gift of life on Christmas Eve, to finding purpose through the loss of a loved one and eating latkes on the transplant unit, Courtney and Brittany provide listeners with a holistic view of the transplant holiday experience, and remind listeners that no matter where they are or what they're going through, they are not alone.

A huge thank you to Maariyah Rahman, Leslie Kaufman, Heather Talbot, and Len Hodder for graciously sharing their stories.

In this Episode:

The Rahman family "Tree of Hope"

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Episode 8 – Signed, Your Donor's Family

Courtney and Brittany are joined by Michael Ward, Provincial Lead of Donor Family Services, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Thanatology candidate (Association for Death Education and Counselling) and former Funeral Home Director. Michael guides our hosts through the process of letter exchanges between donor families and the recipients of their loved one's organs. In addition to reading a few letters, this episode includes advice on what and when to write, acknowledging grief and survivor's guilt after transplant, and discovering how gratitude can help you move forward. Warning: tissues may be required.

This episode was recorded during Living Donation Week 2020.

For more information about the Trillium Gift of Life Network, please visit their website.

Release Date: January 11, 2021 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.

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Episode 9 – It's Not Magic, It's Medicine

Courtney and Brittany sit down with the hilarious Trevor Hanagan to discuss his journey to becoming a non-directed living kidney donor and his 16-year career with UHN security. With humour and vulnerability, Trevor discusses working security in hemodialysis, convincing his mother and partner that donating was a good idea, and the 'high' of the non-directed donor process. Also in this episode: the pros and cons of growing up in a family of nurses, bonding during the nightshift, kidney paired donation, and something every man should know when recovering from a kidney transplant.

In this episode:

The national Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program is an interprovincial program that is operated collaboratively between Canadian Blood Services and Canada’s living kidney donation and kidney transplant programs. Learn more on the Canadian Blood Services website.

Scrotal swelling after laparoscopic donor nephrectomy

ED stands for emergency department.

Watch Trevor's partner, Francesco discuss his experience as a caregiver in a panel discussion from Living Donation Week 2020: In Conversation with Caregivers.

Release Date: January 25, 2021 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.

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Episode 10 – Good Nerdy Fun

Courtney and Brittany sit down with living liver donor, Melissa Sidhu to talk research ethics, biliary atresia, and the privilege of good health. With honesty and humour, Melissa talks about her brother’s reluctance to accept her as a donor, her fear of post-donation depression, and the challenges of having a mother who knows too much about surgery. Warning: This episode contains excessive laughter.

"This episode is dedicated to Dr. Gary Levy, whose tireless efforts have saved countless lives, Dr. Les Lily for being my brother's keeper, Dr. Mark Cattral for saving my brother's life, my transplant coordinator Julie Vicencio, who carried me through the entire donor process, and of course, in memory of Dr. Ronald Heslegrave, whose contribution to research and medical ethics will continue to serve humanity forever."

In this Episode:

Man donates part of his liver to stranger

Tinzaparin is an anticoagulant. It works by blocking certain natural substances in the blood that cause clotting.

Living Donor Circle of Excellence Program
The financial hardships associated with living organ donation still remain to be a major disincentive for many donors. Although there are initiatives and programs to compensate for some out-of-pocket expenses, most employers haven't established policies to provide coverage for lost wages. CST's Living Donor Circle of Excellence in collaboration with the American Society of Transplantation aims to eliminate the financial costs of living organ donation by recognizing companies who support living donation through providing lost wages. Read more »

Release Date: February 8, 2021 | Download the transcript .



The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.

Listen to this episode:


Living Transplant podcast cover
Episode 11 – The Glass is Half Full

Courtney and Brittany are joined by kidney transplant recipient and philanthropist, Salah Bachir, his husband, Jacob Yerex, and UHN’s Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Ed Cole. They discuss Salah's seven years on dialysis prior to transplant, the inspiration for the Bachir Yerex Family Dialysis Centre, and what Dr. Cole sees for the future of kidney transplantation and dialysis. Also in this episode, a brainstorming session about the concept of an anonymous donor line, Courtney and Brittany love astrology, and Salah reveals the secret to a nightshift nurse's heart (spoiler alert, it involves a lot of fried chicken).

In this Episode:

Salah Bachir CM, O.Ont
Salah Bachir is the president emeritus of Cineplex Media, Member of the Order of Ontario, and the Order of Canada. He is a founding member of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, a philanthropist whose fundraising leadership has been recognized with named buildings at St. Joseph's Hospital and The 519 Community Centre, as well as a tireless advocate for LGBTQ2S rights and two-time Pride Grand Marshall.

Jacob Yerex – Canadian Artist

Dr. Ed Cole – Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Charles H. Hollenberg Chair in Medicine

Release Date: February 22, 2021 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.


Episode 12 – "This is it … I actually need a transplant"

Diagnosed with lupus in her early twenties, Jennen Johnson's road to transplant was a windy one. With humour and authenticity, Jennen dives into the details of her story exploring her denial and eventual acceptance of kidney failure. From explaining transplant to her 12-year-old daughter, to searching for a living kidney donor, to intimacy pre- and post-transplant, Jennen's story is an excellent reminder that everything happens for a reason. Also in this episode: the joy of peeing with your new kidney, Jennen gives a sneak peek at her upcoming project with the Centre for Living Organ Donation, and astrology tangents.

In this Episode:

Lupus is a chronic disease with a variety of symptoms caused by inflammation in one or more parts of the body. It is estimated that it affects over 1:1000 Canadians. Read more on the Lupus Canada website.

Peritoneal dialysis (per-ih-toe-NEE-ul die-AL-uh-sis) is a way to remove waste products from your blood when your kidneys can't adequately do the job any longer. This procedure filters the blood in a different way than does the more common blood-filtering procedure called hemodialysis. Learn more about peritoneal dialysis.

Release Date: March 8, 2021 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.


The Boulets
Episode 13 – Let the Sunshine In: the legacy of Logan Boulet

In this episode, Courtney and Brittany are joined by Toby and Bernadine "Bernie" Boulet, the parents of Logan Boulet. In 2018 Logan became an organ donor after he was injured in the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Logan inspired hundreds of thousands of Canadians to register as organ donors, resulting in an unprecedented increase in donor registration, a movement that came to be known as the Logan Boulet Effect. Toby and Bernie share their story with our hosts, discussing how Logan arrived at the idea of organ donation, saying goodbye at the hospital, and how they keep memories of Logan alive today. Also in this episode: what the Boulets have learned about organ donation and the transplant community since becoming advocates three years ago, how and why you should have the conversation about organ donation, and Green Shirt Day 2021.

In this Episode:

Register to be an organ donor.

The Logan Boulet Effect & Green Shirt Day
On April 6, 2018, Canadians were heartbroken to hear the news of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Of the 29 passengers, sixteen lost their lives and thirteen will all bear physical and emotional scars for life.
On April 7, 2018, Humboldt Broncos defenceman Logan Boulet succumbed to his injuries. His parents, Bernadine and Toby Boulet offered to donate his organs so that six lives could live on. They did so because Logan told his parents he was registering as an organ donor and that he was inspired by his coach and mentor Ric Suggitt. Ric passed on June 27th, 2017 and was also an organ donor and saved 6 lives. Learn more about Green Shirt Day.

Logan Boulet
Logan Boulet

Release Date: March 22, 2021 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.


Living Transplant Podcast art
Episode 14 – Sex, Drugs, & Anti-Rejection: the Complex World of Transplant Pharmacy

Transplant pharmacist, Dipika Munyal guides Courtney and Brittany through the complex world of antirejection and immunosuppression. From libido to infection to how drugs interact with grapefruit, Dipika explains the reasoning behind medications for transplant recipients, common side effects, and why it’s not all bad. Also in this episode: the golden rule of anti-rejection meds, taxes and drug coverage, and the future of transplant medicine.

In this Episode:

Release Date: April 12, 2021 | Download the transcript .

The views and opinions expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toronto General Hospital or the University Health Network.