The CTA National Executive has representatives from across Canada, and Provincial Directors are selected from each province or greater region. Board positions are two-year terms and are selected through an application and interview process.
I am a kidney transplant warrior since 2013. But I’ve been advocating for organ donation awareness for over 15 years when my cousin received her double-lung transplant at 11. My uncle received his double-lung transplant the same year I received my kidney and I have an aunt who received bone marrow from her sister, the donor. My own kidney was made possible from my daughter through the kidney exchange program. Organ donation, therefore, is a family affair. And what better place to share important information that impacts lifestyle and health post-transplant and create awareness of what organ donation can do for an individual and families than a family-oriented organization such as the Canadian Transplant Association.
I hold a BGS Degree from Simon Fraser University, a PMP from Project Management Institute, and multiple Leadership and Contribution awards from IBM. I have over 30 years business experience, mostly computers and software industry with almost 20 of that in project management and leadership, leading large and diverse teams spread around the world, to deliver highly impactful and successful projects and solutions. I believe I have the passion and skills necessary to help our talented and unique team on the CTA Board work cohesively and cooperatively to deliver meaningful programs to our membership community.
I am also a mother of 3 wonderful children, one son with special needs and a grandmother to 3. I hope to finish my 200 Yoga Teacher Training in January and then bring that skill to the transplant community, as yoga helped me in many aspects of my healing post-transplant, to gain the courage and confidence to begin living a healthy and active life and to eventually compete in the Games. I look forward to getting to know many of our members throughout the course of my tenure and to many more adventures with this kidney that has afforded me better health and opportunity.
After receiving a very special gift of a kidney from my older brother Barry in 1997, I began looking for ways to celebrate and enjoy the world of freedom that a transplant has provided me, and give back to the community by increasing organ and tissue donor awareness across the country and beyond.
In 2002 I joined the Canadian Transplant Association as a provincial director to aide in continuing the goals and objectives of the organization. I have been on the board in various capacities with the majority of that time spent as President. Throughout those years I’ve seen many changes in the medical treatment and the growth of many organizations involved in improving the outcomes of organ and tissue transplantation, while creating a positive outlook for many on the waiting list.
The CTA provided the path I was looking for post-transplant, which would lead me to participating in the first Canadian Transplant games in 2000 at Sherbrooke, QC, which was followed by traveling to Kobe, Japan in 2001 to compete in my first World Transplant Games; both truly amazing experiences. I became hooked on the camaraderie and spirit of the games and continued competing in multiple National and World games. Post transplant life has given me quality time spent with family and friends over the years and opportunities to explore the world and various mountain tops on some very memorable expeditions.
Lauren is a senior marketing and communications professional with experience in a variety of industries from banking to real estate development and not-for profit organizations.
In 2011, Lauren became Calgary's first non-directed living kidney donor - meaning she donated her left kidney to a stranger. She also kicked off a local paired exchange - the first of its kind to be performed at Calgary's Foothills Medical Centre. She has been a supporter of organ donation from a very young age, after hearing a story of a child who saved others through his parents' choice to donate his organs. She is an advocate for for living donation awreness and living donors - making sure they receive the proper support and follow up post donation. Lauren was also previously treasurer for CTA Alberta, and volunteered at the 2012 Transplant Games in Calgary.
In addition to her work with the CTA, Lauren spends her spare time volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters or hanging out with her rescue dogs. Lauren also enjoys writing, coffee and politics.
St. John, NB
My life was changed when I was diagnosed with a rare Liver Disease Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis in 2007 at 23 years of age. While waiting for my life saving liver transplant I discovered my love for fundraising, volunteering and working with nonprofit organizations. So, in 2011 at only 27 years of age when I received the gift of life with a liver transplant, I decided to change my career and work for a charitable organization both professionally and volunteer wise and to share my story openly to help promote organ and tissue donation across NB.
I joined the CTA in 2014 as part of the local organizing committee for the Canadian Transplant Games held in Moncton NB. After participating as an athlete and experiencing the comradery of the organization and games I decided to join the CTA as the provincial director for New Brunswick.
In 2018 I accepted the role of Vice President of the CTA and look forward to moving the CTA forward across Canada.
St. John's, NL / Toronto, ON
Heather has a Bachelor's of Social Work from Memorial University, a Masters of Social Work (Leadership) from the University of Calgary and is currently completing a Doctorate of Social Sciences at Royal Roads. Heather's dissertation focuses on transplant patients who relocate to access medical care not available in their home province. Heather will draw on her personal experience with this topic and will highlight the role of home and place in the transplant journey.
Heather became involved in the transplant community in 2012, when her husband (Jamie) experienced heart failure and they traveled to Toronto for treatment that was not available in Newfoundland. In 2014, Heather and Jamie relocated to Toronto for a transplant assessment. In 2016 Jamie was placed on the transplant list and received his gift of life in 2017. Sadly, the transplant was not successful and Jamie passed away.
Heather volunteers with many health related charities such as Hope Air, Ronald McDonald House Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and UHN. Heather is Secretary of the National Board of the Canadian Transplant Association and has participated in the World Transplant Games in Switzerland in 2018 and the Canadian Transplant Games in 2016 and 2018.
Heather is passionate about sharing her experience as a patient, caregiver, advocate, researcher and donor family - as she was able to give the gift of sight, through Jamie's passing.
White Rock, BC
Earl received a liver transplant in late 1997 in Vancouver, as a result of a lengthy battle with primary sclerosing cholangitis. Earl continues to enjoy a very healthy post transplant life, and stays in shape by walking, running, and light exercise.
Earl has always volunteered in his community, and shortly after his transplant he joined B.C. Transplant as part of their volunteer team, where he continues to be involved. It was through this early connection and the formation of the Gift of Life Dragon Boat team that he met Margaret Benson, then BC Director for CTA, who recruited him to be the Treasurer for B.C. CTA. In 2018 Earl was privileged to be the Treasurer of the LOC team that brought the National Games to Vancouver. These games were a truly inspirational experience for Earl and were his primary motivation in seeking further opportunities in CTA. Recently Earl became involved with the Transplant Research Foundation of BC as part of the Patient Oriented aspect of their research activities. Earl encourages everyone in the “TX family” to join CTA, and seek out opportunities within their local communities to join in prompting the need for and many benefits of Organ Donation.
Marco is an investment professional with experience in finance and real estate. He has worked across the investment banking and private equity sectors in Montreal, Toronto and New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from Queen’s University and currently lives in Toronto after growing up in Montreal.
Marco has been diagnosed with a rare kidney disease and is an upcoming kidney transplant recipient. His positive energy and desire to connect with new people to rally around life saving programs and active lifestyle is what drove him to the CTA. He loves the spirit of competition and bringing people together around sports. As an amateur athlete in all sports, he is always ready to take on his next opponent for a good laugh and sweat. He is looking forward to connecting with new members and finding more ways to engage with one another.
Outside of work and volunteering experience, Marco enjoys skiing, soccer, hiking and watching the Toronto Raptors win!
Maariyah is a Ryerson University student, an older sister to 3 brothers, and a heart transplant warrior! She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Management with a major in Marketing and a minor in French and Finance.
Maariyah was a healthy, active 20-year-old who had a cough on Dec 4, 2018. On Dec 7, she had so much pain in her chest and trouble breathing, that she was taken to the local hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia. Twenty four hours later, the antibiotics weren't helping. Her parents then took her to Toronto General Hospital, where within 45 minutes, a cardiologist diagnosed her with heart failure - her heart was functioning at less than 10%. From being admitted to the CICU, to undergoing her first open heart surgery for the installation of a BI-VAD/Artificial Heart, it became apparent that she needed a heart transplant. She received the gift of life and was blessed with a heart transplant on Christmas Eve 2018. She feels very fortunate for her second chance at life and has made it her mission to advocate for organ and tissue donation.
Maariyah started the Ryerson Gift of Life Project that focuses on raising awareness for organ and tissue donation across the Greater Toronto Area. She helps lead a student group called MOTIONS (Multi-Organ Transplant Insight, Outreach, and Networking Society) who educate university students about transplants. Maariyah also volunteers with the University Health Network (UHN) as a Patient Ambassador for the High School Outreach Initiative where she is paired with health care professionals to go to high schools to educate students about transplantation and organ donation.
St John's, Newfoundland
Alison's husband received a kidney in January 2015, and since that time, Alison has embraced the belief that a transplant is a gift, a new adventure in life. She first joined the Canadian Transplant Association when the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter was established (in 2017), and her work continues today, as she continues to spread awareness about organ and tissue donation across her province, while encouraging people to sign their donor card.
Prior to Alison's participation with the board, she attended my first Canadian Transplant Games in 2016, as a supporter (or Sherpa, as she called herself) for her husband. She and her husband were both instantly hooked on their new adventure in life and have been attending the Transplant Games ever since. With her background in team sports, team travel and a desire for adventure, she looks forward to working with all the athletes, donors, donor families and supporters who attend the games.
Port Coquitlam, BC
As one of twelve children (!), Kathleen has several family members who are have been involved in the organ transplant world, including a niece who is a living kidney donor to her mother. Kathleen is also a donor, having donated bone marrow to a sister with a rare form of leukemia.
After acting as volunteer coordinator for the successful 2018 Canadian Transplant Games in Vancouver, B.C. Kathleen decided to deepen her commitment to the cause and take on the Provincial Director role for B.C.
Now retired, Kathleen's working career was divided between the Federal Government and WorkSafeBC. She has always been drawn to work that underscores the resilence of the human spirit. Whether it was assessing applications for individuals seeking asylum in Canada or mitigating the impact of serious workplace injuries on workers and their families, she was awed by what can be accomplished with the right approach. She considers her involvement with the transplant community as a natural extension of her career.
Kathleen's experience with helping seriously injured workers on their recovery journey has taught her well that the path to wellness is multi-faceted. In her role as Provinical Director, she is eager to explore how the CTA can positively influence the conversation around post transplant health and how this information can benefit the membership.
I am happy to be joining the CTA, as my family has been deeply affected by transplants. My son donated a kidney to me in 2018, and my former husband received a double lung transplant in 2014, giving him three extra meaningful years. With a family history of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), I have two cousins who have received kidneys and a sister on the waiting list. Another sister with Lymphoma underwent an auto stem cell transplant, and a niece had a liver transplant. I am the proud Mom to two daughters (both diagnosed with PKD), and a son. I also have two beautiful, rambunctious granddaughters.
Participating in World Transplant Games (WTG) in 2020 introduced me to the CTA. I was wholeheartedly caught up in the gratitude that each participant possessed for life! Each athlete I met had a moving story, a joy for the comradeship, and appreciation for every extra day. The Virtual CTA Summer Games allowed my donor son to participate alongside me, and we have great plans to meet other donors, recipients and donor families over the coming years through CTA and WTG Events. As the Alberta Director for the CTA, my goals are to be a voice which encourages active lifestyles post-transplant, and bring continued awareness to organ donation.
Born and raised in Melville, SK and I received a kidney transplant in October of 1974 from a cadaver. I was married in July of 1976 and am the father of two. I retired from the Federal Agriculture in August of 2011.
I enjoy staying active and volunteer at my local church, am a member of the Knights of Columbus, I have been involved as an area rep and canvasser in Melville’s Donor’s Choice Appeal (United Way sort of campaign) since the late 1970’s.
I play golf in the summer and curl in the winter. I volunteer at the local Curling Rink, run a youth curling program and I am currently the President of the Curling Club.
I had been involved with the Kidney Foundation (SK. Branch) in the early years of my transplant and became a member of CTA in 2005.
Being a part of the CTA is important to me because I was the fortunate recipient of a heart transplant on September 25, 2015. My first open heart surgery took place in the fall of 2007 when at the age of 51, I had my mitral valve replaced. (turns out I was born with a defective one). All was going well, until the spring of 2015, when a bacterial infection invaded my bloodstream and got into my spine and heart. After 9 weeks of heavy duty antibiotics, I underwent my second open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve. The doctors at that time realized I may have to undergo a transplant as my “boggy” heart was only functioning at 7%. Shortly thereafter I was placed on the transplant list. Time wasn’t on my side as my heart was rapidly fading, and Millrinon was being used to keep it beating. Within a month, I was blessed to receive the gift of life. I was up and walking 2 days later and returned to the gym after five weeks. Five months later I played hockey with my friends in our leagues championship game.
I returned to being a school administrator and then after 38 years in education, I retired. However, that didn’t last overly long, as I once again find myself in the classroom. The gift of life has allowed me to watch my children, Matthew and Victoria, grow. Matt has worked with at-risk youth for the past 6 years, and Victoria is graduating this year from university.
By far the hardest experience I have had , is to write a letter to my donor family. I was then very surprised and grateful, that three years later I received a response from my donor’s wife. I learned he was a wonderful and caring father, grandfather, and has a twin brother who misses him as much as she. I look at that letter everyday to remind myself what an incredible gift I received and to honour his life in all the ways that I can.
I was 24 years old and a new mother when I received my diagnosis of Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. Over the next 9 years, I became sicker and sicker until I was finally in need of a liver transplant- the only treatment for this disease. I was one of the lucky ones that qualified to receive a living donor and in March of 2011, my Uncle Ken saved my life by donating 2/3 of his liver to me. While a transplant is never a cure, it has given me several very healthy, bonus years with my family, friends and loved ones. I will be forever grateful for his gift!
Very soon after my transplant I became active within the transplant community and was introduced to other local recipients who have gone on to be close friends. Through the Canadian Transplant Association, I have been able to compete in 4 National Transplant Games and 2 World Transplant Games (Durban, South Africa and Malaga, Spain) and have seen that, without a doubt, organ donation works! I am inspired by transplant athletes all over the world and hope to bring these experiences back and motivate others to live a healthy, active life, regardless of athletic ability.
Audree's transplant journey started in 2003 during a trip to Toronto. Up until then,she had been a very healthy, active teenager. She never thought she would find herself fighting for her life at age 19. Within days, she got very sick and received an urgent liver transplant at the Toronto General Hospital. She had suddently suffered a Fulminant Hepatitis. Needless to say she went back to Québec with the most unexpected, life changing travel adventure!
In the 15 years since her transplant, she got married, had 3 beautiful daughters and made many amazing memories, thanks to her donor. Her whole family does everything they can to raise awareness of organ donation to show gratitude toward all donors and help others recipients live life to the fullest.
Sports and fitness had always been part of Audree's life. First as an athlete and volunteer, then as coach, team manager and technical director before joining in on organizing and administrative comittees. Audree discovered early on the benefit of an active healthy lifestyle but it became even more obvious after her transplant. The Canadian Transplant Association is an opportunity to combine both her passion for organ donation and healthy active lifestyle. Since 2014, she has taken part in every Canadian Transplant Games, as well as many summer and winter World Transplant Games. Audree first got involved as Team manager and secretary for CTA-Quebec before joining the national board in 2018. She is excited to continue working toward acheiving a healthier, more active and connected Transplant community.
Nichole was born and raised in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia and began her career as a Registered Nurse after completing her nursing degree at UNB, in Saint John, New Brunswick. In December 2010, Nichole donated her kidney to her cousin, Kevin. That experience and the memories of that Christmas spent celebrating life, embracing family, and being filled with deep gratitude for each other, remains the inspiration and driving force behind Nichole’s desire to be involved in raising awareness and supporting transplant recipients.
Since then, Nichole spent several years living and working in the Northwest Territories as an ER and acute care nurse, and later manager of clinics and medical records. She has completed a Masters of Health Administration at the University of Regina, and has earned the Certified Health Executive designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders. Nichole returned to the Maritimes in 2017 and recently obtained her law degree with a specialization in health law, from Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.
Nichole currently resides in Quispamsis, New Brunswick with her partner, Aldane, and their dog, Otis, and works in the area of health and administrative law. In her spare time Nichole enjoys travelling, photography, and reading (non-law related reading that is!). Nichole is very excited to be joining the CTA Board and is looking forward to supporting our community through this work.
I was born and raised in Meteghan Station, Nova Scotia, however I am currently living in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I am of Acadian decent and also bilingual in both French and English. My connection to transplant started when I received my gift of life on June 19, 2015. Ever since my kidney transplant I have made every effort to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation in my home province of Nova Scotia. I’m a full-time martial arts instructor and avid badminton player. I have been married since 1991 and I also have a daughter. My wife and daughter have both been (and still are) very supportive before, during and after my transplant.
I am very excited to be Nova Scotia’s new provincial director and look forward to working together with everyone to raise awareness provincially and nationally.
St. John's, NL
Jonathan Hickman was born and raised in St. John’s and began his career with Hickman Automotive Group at the young age of 15. Following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, he has held many positions in their fourth generation, family-owned and operated automotive business. As Vice-President of Hickman Automotive Group, Jonathan and his brother Bert, employ almost 500 people in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Under their leadership, the Group operates 14 vehicle and motorcycle locations, as well as various other companies. In 2014, Jonathan was awarded the highest honour a Canadian Dealer can attain over the course of his career, the Laureate Award for Business Innovation. Jonathan takes great pride in his employees and their ability to provide dependable, customer-oriented service. He is equally as proud of the assistance and support the organization has provided to community initiatives that help make our communities and province a better place in which to live.
Jonathan serves on several boards, including the Inter-Association Affairs Group for the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association, the Georgian College Board of Governors, as well as the Atlantic Chrysler Advertising Board. He is also the former NL representative on the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association Board, and former board member of the NL Employer’s Council.
In his down time, Jonathan enjoys a very active lifestyle. Though he received a kidney transplant on January 19, 2015 from his sister, Kim, he remains active and enjoys competing at the Canadian Transplant Games. In 2016, Jonathan competed in swimming, biking, running and his strong performance encouraged and motivated him to begin training for the World Transplant Games which took place in Spain in 2017. Jonathan is currently training for the next world championship in the summer of 2019.
Jonathan and his wife, Alison, reside in St. John’s with their two children, Caroline and Cameron, and their two dogs, Tika and Oakley.