Who we are
The Children’s Organ Transplant Society is dedicated to enhancing the lives of children in British Columbia who have had a transplant, those who are waiting for a transplant, as well as their families, through support services, advocacy and awareness.
In April 2001, Debbie Bielech founded the Children’s Organ Transplant Society – one year after donating the left lobe of her liver to save her son’s life. She experienced many of the challenges that all families confront when given the news that their child needs a life saving organ transplant. Her experience with her son motivated her to create an emotional and social support group for families who were waiting for organ transplants, for transplant recipients and their families. In addition, she wanted to provide encouragement and support for family members who could potentially become donors.
Throughout the years COTS has grown to provide ongoing peer support holding one or two family events per year, sending kids to camp and offering educational events. We also work with BC Transplant to increase awareness of the importance of organ donation.
Through the vision and efforts of the Children’s Organ Transplant Society and BC Children’s Hospital staff, the provincial government increased funding for the Multi Organ Transplant Clinic at BC Children’s Hospital. And now because of their joint efforts, there is a full team (social worker, psychologist, nutritionist and nurse) supporting children and their families in the Multi Organ Transplant Clinic. COTS and BC Children’s Hospital continues to advocate for additional services in order to expand the existing programs to be able to be better serve the transplant families in BC.
EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
For most children and their families, transplant issues and challenges will be something they have never experienced before. That’s why we provide educational support to assist with medical care and emotional needs. This includes:
- Family events
- Parents’ Education Day
- Sibling Education Day
- Peer support
- Social media
In addition, we seek to promote the awareness of life-saving organ donation, and collaborate with organizations that include: BC Transplant and the Canadian Transplant Association.
We work closely with BC Children’s Hospital, pharmaceutical companies, and other like-minded charities and organizations that work to support families going through the life-long transplant journey.