In 2011, Errin Tollefson needed a kidney transplant. She found the perfect match in her fiancé, Chris Willenborg.
“When the actual day of surgery came and we were both in the hospital, it was pretty overwhelming and emotional knowing that this was really truly going to happen,” said the kidney transplant recipient.
“When you love someone and you see that they need your help, I think anyone would do what I did,” said Chris, who donated one of his kidneys to Errin.
In 2016, they were married.
This year, April 22 to 28 is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (NOTDAW). The week presents an opportunity to raise awareness about the critical need for more donors across the country and encourages individuals to talk to their families about their decision to donate.
While some organ donations occur because of living donors like Chris, deceased donation is also a possibility.
Terry Schrader is a heart transplant recipient who has had more time with his family because of the gift of organ donation.
“It felt great to wake up and know that you have a new heart and that your life can go on, that you can walk your daughter down the aisle and hold your grandkids, and that there’s more life ahead to live,” said Terry.
From left to right: Chris and Errin Willenborg, and Selena and Terry Schrader, holding their campaign posters.
Both Terry and Errin are part of a provincial organ and tissue donation awareness campaign, developed by the Ministry of Health with support from the Saskatchewan Health Authority and with the co-operation of three remarkable families, including Terry, Errin and Donovan, a lung transplant recipient.
Watch their videos.
Watch the NOTDAW campaign launch event at St. Paul's Hospital on April 23, 2018.
This week, people in Saskatchewan and Canada are reminded to wear a green ribbon in honour of the donors and donor families who give the gift of life and to acknowledge the thousands of patients in need of a transplant, as well as those who have died waiting.
For more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit the
Saskatchewan Transplant Program.