Hope Air partners with the Centre for Living Organ Donation and UHN Foundation to reduce barriers to lifesaving living organ transplant

(TORONTO – September 12, 2022) Hope Air – Canada’s only national charity providing flights and accommodations to those in financial need who must travel for medical care far from home – is proud to announce our partnership with the Centre for Living Organ Donation at University Health Network (UHN) and UHN Foundation to ensure full support for individuals who travel to donate a kidney or a portion of their liver at UHN’s Ajmera Transplant Centre in Toronto. Priority will be given to donors traveling from Northern and remote areas, or from outside of Ontario, regardless of income.

“Living organ donors save lives and their act of generosity should be financially neutral. Despite expense reimbursement programs, many donors still pay out of pocket for travel and accommodation for themselves or their essential care partner. Our goal is to eliminate barriers to living donation for those who want to give a transformative gift of life and provide those in need of a kidney or liver transplant with a shorter pathway to better health ”said Dr. Paula Neves, Lead, Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN, who also serves on Hope Air’s Board of Directors.

“I want the nurses and the doctors to do what they are trained to do and to focus on that. I want to focus on my health and how I’m going to recover, and UHN Foundation’s partnership allows Hope Air to do their part which is to book accommodation, get the patients to where they need to. Everyone has their piece in this puzzle, and this allows everyone to focus on what’s important for them,” says Trina, living organ donor and Hope Air flight recipient.

The decision to donate an organ is not one taken lightly, and it is often made more complex when considerations around transportation and accommodations present a financial barrier. Hope Air and UHN Foundation aim to provide support with flights and accommodation for living organ donors who have their procedure at UHN, so they can complete the living donation process and focus on the life-saving gift they are providing to children and adults in need. One in five transplants in Canada is made possible by living donors.

“Donating an organ is one of the most selfless gifts a person can give, however, some living donors face financial challenges making it difficult for them to follow through with their donation. At Hope Air, our focus is on removing the barriers of cost and distance for Canadians who need to access medical care, including living organ donors,” said Mark Rubinstein, CEO of Hope Air. “Through this partnership, living donors in across Canada can access flights and accommodations for their appointments, procedures and recovery.”

Through this partnership, Hope Air and UHN aim to serve 20 or more organ donors in 2022.


For more information contact:
Hope Air: Jon Collins, Chief Development Officer, 416.800.9032

Centre for Living Organ Donation: Paula Neves, Lead, Centre for Living Organ Donation paula.neves@uhn.ca

UHN Foundation: Lisa Arai, Director, Brand Marketing, 416.278.6737

About Hope Air
Hope Air is Canada’s only national charity providing free travel and accommodations for Canadians in financial need who must access medical care far from home. Since its inception in 1986, Hope Air has provided more than 155,000 travel arrangements for patients regardless of age or medical need.

For people living on a low income in small and rural communities, distance and cost are very real barriers to them accessing vital medical care. Hope Air is a unique and essential part of our Canadian healthcare system. Without the access Hope Air provides, our national system of universal healthcare coverage would fall short of its promise. Hope Air has been chosen as one of Canada’s best 100 charities by Maclean’s magazine, MoneySense magazine and Charity Intelligence based on efficiency, transparency and need. For more information, visit hopeair.ca.

About Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN
The Centre for Living Organ Donation is associated with the Ajmera Transplant Centre at Toronto General Hospital, part of University Heath Network (UHN), and is funded by generous donors to the UHN Foundation. Its’ mission is to improve access to living organ donation for people who need a life-saving kidney or liver transplant and for those who want to give a transformative gift of life. The Ajmera Transplant Centre is one of the largest organ transplant programs in North America and partners with SickKids on the largest paediatric living donor transplant program in Canada.

About UHN Foundation
Part of University Health Network (UHN), UHN Foundation raises funds for research, education and the enhancement of patient care at Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals, Toronto Rehab and The Michener Institute of Education at UHN. Together with our donors, we’re helping UHN pursue the knowledge that makes all our lives better.

We acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded, traditional territories of many Indigenous peoples. We are grateful for the privilege of being on lands that these peoples have nurtured since time immemorial.