Organ / Tissue Donation and Transplantation

All too often you hear about someone in need of an organ transplant. Less often, you hear about someone who donated an organ to a family member or friend in need. What’s truly rare are people like Nathalie Randall who, at 19 years old, donated one of her kidneys to a stranger whose life depended on it.

Nathalie made the decision to donate a kidney when she was in Grade 10 after doing a research project on organ donation. As soon as she turned 18, she began the process of becoming a kidney donor, and at 19, she took a semester off from university to go through with the operation.

“When I learned how many people die on the waiting list, I knew what I had to do,” says Nathalie. “Donating an organ is an opportunity to have a real impact on someone’s life and make a difference today.”

One of the things she wasn’t expecting was the reaction from some of her friends and family.

“All of a sudden, everyone had an opinion. People were afraid for me; I think my young age concerned people,” says Nathalie.

“I wasn’t nervous at all; I did a lot of research beforehand.”

The operation was a success. Nathalie’s mother made the trip from Oakville to Ottawa, Ontario, to visit throughout her recovery in hospital. Nathalie hasn’t met the person who received her kidney, but was told she is a young woman around Nathalie’s age.

Altruistic kidney donors like Nathalie — living donors who donate a kidney to someone unrelated and unknown to them — have a big impact on reducing the number of patients on the organ donation wait list.

After her altruistic donation, Nathalie joined the Kidney Foundation of Canada as a summer student. There, she met many people who had received a kidney or were on a waiting list, as well as others like her who had donated a kidney anonymously.

Now back in school and finishing her degree, 21-year-old Nathalie continues working with the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Kidney Car program to raise funds for the Kidney Foundation.

“I want to raise awareness about the need for organ donation and for people to register as organ donors,” says Nathalie. “I want people to be more comfortable with the whole process. Hopefully by sharing my experience, people will also consider becoming a kidney donor themselves.”

Find out more about becoming a live kidney donor and and learn about the Kidney Paired Donation program