Transplant ambassadors offer virtual connections for patients amid COVID-19 pandemic
KITCHENER -- The Transplant Ambassador Program has moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is still working to provide connections for transplant patients.
Brenden Cote has kidney disease and had a transplant, but is back on dialysis at Grand River Hospital.
"It can be a little depressing, a little scary," Cote said.
The volunteers with the ambassador program give Cote comfort.
"Talking to someone that you have a relationship with can provide you with all the hope you need to continue on your journey," Cote said.
Susan McKenzie with the program said the group consists of recipients and donors who speak with patients going through a transplant journey. They also connect with people who might be interested in becoming a living donor.
Before the pandemic, volunteers met with people in-person. Now, meetings are happening online.
"We had to move to a virtual program where we could speak to people on the phone, through Zoom," McKenzie said.
Volunteers have first-hand experience and are able to provide support.
"We know what you've been through, because we've been there too," volunteer Peter Wechselmann said. "That gives us a meaningful connection with that patient."
The ambassador program has volunteers at 13 hospitals all across Ontario.