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About Sickkids
About SickKids

October 22, 2009

Celebrating 40 years of kidney transplantation

“Every time I had to come back to SickKids, familiar faces and friends greeted me,” says Alison Agar, SickKids pharmacy technician and three-time kidney transplant recipient. “The atmosphere here is incomparable to anywhere else. I think that’s why there was no doubt in my mind I would work here.”

Agar, one of hundreds of patients in the Renal Transplant Program, received her most recent transplant in 2000 and joined SickKids as a staff member this year. In October 1969, SickKids made history by performing Canada’s first kidney transplantation on a child. Since then, 765 transplants have been performed. SickKids has the largest paediatric kidney transplant centre in Canada and is recognized for its ability to handle challenging cases.

“Forty years ago, we would only transplant patients with kidney disease alone,” says Dr. Diane Hebert, nephrologist. “Now we work with patients who have more complex multi-system disease, some requiring multiple organs to be replaced. In the early days, these patients would have been turned away.”

Kidney transplantation at SickKids has seen other developments over the years. Research is continually underway to find the best way to fight rejection and improve graft survival. Currently SickKids researchers are investigating the role of inflammation in transplant rejection.

SickKids’ efforts are also identifying supports that need to be developed or expanded to improve patients’ lives after a transplant. Clinical research is being conducted at SickKids to evaluate the quality of life in recipients in the time after a transplant. This research focuses on developing a self-management program for youth and on obesity in recipients.

“We now consider every area of a child’s life that is touched by kidney transplantation,” says Moira Korus, RN, Renal Transplant Program. “The research on children’s quality of life after a kidney transplant will help us to know what needs to be done to help all our patients and their families live full and fulfilling lives.”

Agar, Hebert and Korus will get the opportunity to celebrate those lives when they reunite with transplant recipients, friends and staff on Thursday, Oct. 22 at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Renal Transplant Program. The evening will draw people from across Canada to celebrate four decades of innovation and progress.

For more information on the SickKids Renal Transplant Department and the research being done at SickKids, visit http://www.sickkids.ca/nephrology/index.html.