Programs & Activities

Annual Trail Ride on Horses:
This event is held to promote organ and tissue donation. The event occurs annually on the second weekend of May. It welcomes horse and riders and wagon drivers and takes place on the Iron Horse Trail from Lindbergh to Elk Point (14km). Participants ride in memory of or for a loved one on the organ and tissue transplant list. The ride consists of up to 350 participants annually and is for all ages. Wagons are provided for delegates that want to participate but do not have their own horse. These delegates have been ambassadors of organ and tissue donation and often follow up with a presentation at the gala.
The gala includes dinner, speakers, live and silent auction, and dance to follow. Participants for the gala is at capacity every year; sold out. Speakers who have been part of the gala in past include, doctors of the University of Alberta Transplant Teams, members of the Human Organ Procurement and Exchange Program, GoodHearts Foundation, Canadian Transplant Association, family members of love ones lost and have donated their organs and tissue; including Bernadine and Toby Boulet.
Annual Golf Tournament:
This event is held to promote living proof that organ and tissue donation works. This event is held annually on the 2nd week of August. Up to 100 participants including golfers and volunteers. This tournament is in recognition to those who have gone through the transplant process and are living proof that organ and tissue donation works.
Public Educational Engagements:
This program consists of members of the society presenting their experiences before, during, and post transplant surgery. Members of the society have brought awareness to organ and tissue donation at the following public events:
a. Alberta Registry’s offices throughout Alberta during National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (NOTDAW)
b. The Association of Alberta Registry Agents annual conference
c. Elementary Public Schools
d. Rural Women’s Conference
e. Edmonton General Hospital
f. Global Edmonton News, Newscap TV, Lakeland Connect and many other media outlets
g. Lung Association – Stair Climb for Clean Air

Affordable Housing Program:
There were 353 transplants done at the University of Alberta hospital in 2018, the last year for which figures are available.
The medical centre serves the western provinces and territories. The islet program handles patients from all 10 provinces.
For a patient to be considered for a transplant he/she must be accompanied by a caregiver, usually a family member. On average, a transplant patient and caregiver spend 3 months at the hospital. Most of that time is post transplant as the patient undergoes physical therapy and medical checkups.
The transplant housing program, in collaboration with the GoodHearts Foundation, provides 6 furnished suites near the U of A Hospital. The suites are available for nominal rent to transplant patients being treated at the University of Alberta Hospital. These apartments provide housing for a minimum of 24 couples per year.
Thus far, 2nd Chance Trail Ride Society has supported over 50 families since with a safe, secure, and comfortable home to stay in while a family member is undergoing a life saving transplant procedure. The 2nd CTR has donated $215,000 to GoodHearts to operate these apartments. See the letter from GoodHearts Foundation.
Supporters of this society make and donate handmade quilts to transplant recipients staying in these apartments.
Financial Assistance Program:
This Program is dollars given to recipients to offset their living costs. Out of town transplant recipients who must stay in Edmonton before, during and after surgery acquire extra essential costs. 2nd Chance Trail Ride Society works directly with social workers within the University of Alberta Hospital Transplant Teams to ensure financial assistance is provided when required. More than 30 transplant recipients per year have received financial assistance of $1000 each since 2012.
Other organ and tissue transplant recipients have received financial assistance through pre-paid gift cards to assist with parking, food and gas while going through their 2nd chance in life. Approximately, $3000 per year is given out.
A donation to the University Hospital Foundation provided 2 new treadmills to the transplant services in the Central Rehabilitation Unit. The rehabilitation plays a major role in the success of organ transplantation recovery.
Spreading the word Signage Program:
This program was initially aimed at reaching rural Albertans through highway billboard signs to educate the necessity to speak to one’s family and register one’s intent to become an organ and/or tissue donor through the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry. It has been broadened to include signs placed in hockey arenas, curling rinks, rodeo arenas and most recently in the equestrian arenas. Over 100 signs have been placed throughout Rural Alberta.
A few years ago 2nd Chance Trail Ride Society teamed up with the Canadian Transplant Association and signs were placed in hockey arenas throughout Edmonton and region.
The word (register your intent to donate) has also been spread by transport trucks commuting across Western Canada. B&R Eckles Transport placed decals on semi-trucks in support of organ and tissue donation.
World Professional Chuckwagon Driver, Doug Irvine, hands out t-shirts and brochures promoting awareness at major provincial rodeos such at the Calgary Stampede throughout the summer months.
Educational and awareness messaging has been heavily targeted through social media; Facebook and Twitter.
Mentorship Program:
This program consists of living proof that organ and tissue donation works. The founding members and some of the general membership are made up of organ and/or tissue transplant recipients. From finding out a transplant is required, to being on a waiting list, to preparing for the transplant, to getting the call, to receiving the transplant, to transplant rejection, to maintaining the transplant, our members share their experiences. The University of Alberta’s Transplant Teams and the HOPE Program work closely with our mentors to find the best fit of patient with mentor.
This program also includes family members who provided support for the patient while going though a 2nd Chance at life journey.
Members of the Society available for mentorship include:
a. 5 Lung recipients
b. 1 Heart recipient
c. 1 Kidney recipient from cadaver
d. 1 Kidney recipient from living donor
e. 1 Liver recipient
f. 2 Tissue recipient
g. 2 Stem cell recipient
h. 1 Cornea recipient

Tom was born in Woodstock New Brunswick.  After university he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1972, and following a rewarding career, Tom retired in 2007.

In 2005, Tom was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and was told that within five years he would need a double lung transplant.  After the initial shock he decided to double down to survive this.  He exercised to maintain his strength and followed his doctor’s advice to the letter.  During the pre-transplant process, he participated in two drug studies for a cure.  

Tom received the gift of life, a double-lung transplant on 11 July 2009.  A second chance of life was given to him. He was very thankful and wanted to give back for what he had received.  Working with family, friends and transplant recipients, the 2nd Chance Trail Ride was started to promote organ and tissue donation and help others through their transplant journey.

Tom says “the 11 years since the transplant seems to have gone very fast.” Tom continues to enjoy life, camping and fishing with family and friends.  Tom and his wife enjoy wintering in Arizona, and he loves to watch his grandson progress in his hockey career and his grand daughter in her hockey and curling games. Tom is a mentor to transplant recipients and keeps in contact with pre and post transplant patients. “When spring arrives, I am ready to give my continues support and full effort to the 2nd Chance Trail Ride. Every day I give thanks to my donor and family for the gift of life. – Tom

Morris Irvine

Double lung transplant Recipient – March 13, 2011

Morris was diagnosed with COPD and was on oxygen for three years before deciding to accept an organ transplant. He was inspired to accept transplantation from other recipients that were in similar situations. Morris has a loving wife, six children (plus spouses), 23 grandchildren (plus spouses) and nine great grand children.

Morris received a double-lung transplant in March 2011 after only 11 months of being on the waiting list. Morris and his family are forever grateful to the donor that gave Morris a 2nd Chance at life. He went from not being able to walk across the house and planning his funeral, to fishing and driving his team of horses again. Because of this, Morris and his wife decided they needed to give back. They wanted the whole world to know that organ donation works. Morris, his family and a few other double lung transplant recipients were looking for ways to say thank you and bring awareness to the process.

These lung transplant recipients have one thing in common and it’s their rural roots. What better way to bring awareness then by hosting a trail ride? Doing the one thing that Morris loved and was incapable of doing when on oxygen but was “back in the saddle” after the transplant, he wanted to show the world. He wanted to show proof that organ and tissue donation works and that he thankful for donor families and the transplant staff at the University of Alberta Hospital.

In May 2012 they hosted their first trail ride and raised over $20,000. They donated (and participated) in the Canadian Transplant Games. An event that brings world wide attention to organ and tissue donation. Morris won first place in the 5km walk and couldn’t have been prouder of his accomplishment.

Over the years this event has grown to attendance of over 300 participants on the trail, over 500 people for supper, and has raised, on average, $70,000 annually. 

The importance to bring awareness and assist other transplant recipients is of the utmost importance on Morris’s mind. He (along with his posse) have established a signage campaign, putting signs in local hockey rinks, curling rinks, rodeo arenas and local area highways. He’s participated in many parades throughout Alberta including the Ponoka Stampede, St. Albert Rainmaker, and Lloydminster, Bonnyville, and Elk Point Christmas parades. The latest being the Grey Cup parade in Edmonton.

Morris has spoken at his grandchildren’s elementary schools and presented at the Alberta Registries Conference in Edmonton in 2017. He has played an active role during National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week (NOTDAW) through transplant trots and “coffee talk” at registry offices around Alberta. In the fall of 2017 he was introduced in the Alberta Legislature by the Honorable Sarah Hoffman; Deputy Premier and Minister of Health for his dedication and commitment to bringing awareness to organ and tissue donation.

The 2nd Chance Trail Ride Society annually supports GoodHearts in subsidizing and maintaining living accommodations while recipients are recovering. Financially, 2nd Chance Trail Ride assists recipients with food and gas cards. They work closely with the social workers involved in the transplant process. 2nd Chance Trail Ride also donated $10,000 to the University Hospital Foundation to purchase 2 new treadmills for the Rehabilitation department.

Morris’s attitude of gratitude continues to consume his 2nd Chance at life. He is especially grateful to the donor families and wants the message to be loud and clear that we should sign our intend and speak with our families about it……………………all this because he has the best wife in the world!!! (She’s the one that puts the pen to the paper and makes things happen 😊)