Ottawa Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk Launches Major Philanthropic Initiative – The Organ Project

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Learn about the importance of live organ donation


First set of television and radio spots will launch in Ottawa, then rollout across North America


Friday, April 14, 2017

The Organ Project Launches National Campaign to End the Transplant Waitlist

 First set of television and radio spots will launch in Ottawa, then rollout across North America

 OTTAWA – The Organ Project, a major philanthropic initiative founded by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk today announced the launch of a series of television and radio spots aimed at raising awareness about the life-saving importance of organ donation. 

The first set of thought-provoking television and radio spots will launch in the Ottawa region and will begin airing on Saturday, April 15. Thanks to the generosity of Bell Media, the radio spots will air on MAJIC 100, Ottawa’s New Country 94, 580 CFRA and TSN 1200. The television spots will be broadcast on CTV Ottawa’s CJOH and CHRO, Rogers Sportsnet and the Ottawa Senators’ in-arena programming during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

A national and North America-wide rollout is planned as well as efforts to engage with all major North American professional sports teams within the National Hockey League, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the Canadian Football League and Major League Soccer.

“April is Organ Donation Awareness Month across Canada so I feel there is no better time to launch this significant public awareness campaign focused on highlighting the life-saving importance for all of us to register to be organ donors,” said The Organ Project’s Founder Eugene Melnyk. “This campaign is our first major step towards ending the organ donor waitlist where people of all ages wait desperately for life-saving transplants. This campaign is intended to bring organ donation to the forefront and by doing so encourage as many individuals as possible to have the all-important conversation with family and friends about giving the gift of life by becoming an organ donor.”

Celebrity Morgan Freeman’s universally recognizable voice is featured in several of the television and radio spots which are aimed at taking the public on various thought-provoking journeys to highlight the life-saving importance of being an organ donor and how it can help end the transplant waitlist where 4,600 Canadians currently wait in desperate need of transplants.

The television spots were first previewed on March 31, 2017 when The Organ Project hosted a sold out and highly successful inaugural fundraising gala featuring seven-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood. The highly anticipated gala raised nearly $1.4 million that will be invested into a number of important programs and policy initiatives including today’s launch of The Organ Project’s national public awareness and education campaign. 

Additional television spots will be released as part of the national and North America-wide rollout of this campaign.


About The Organ Project

Launched in February 2017 by Eugene Melnyk the Owner and Chairman of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, The Organ Project is a charitable organization focused on ending the organ donor wait list for transplants. In Canada, more than 4,600 people are in desperate need of a life-saving organ transplant. The Organ Project aims to make traditional organ donor registration simpler, efficient, and more accessible because a single organ donor has the power to save eight lives. By working with federal, provincial and state governments, The Organ Project will also explore policy changes to make real and practical system improvements to organ donation and transplantation across Canada and the United States. For more information on The Organ Project please visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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TSN radio

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CTV Your Morning with Melissa Grelo

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March 22, 2017

The Organ Project (@theorganproject) announced today it has sold out its Inaugural Gala taking place in Toronto at The Fairmont Royal York on March 31, 2017. The Gala will bring attention to the organ transplant waitlist problem that currently exists throughout Canada and the United States.

“I am overwhelmed by the support for The Organ Project. It’s wonderful that so many people across Canada and the United States want to join me in eliminating the waitlist,” said Founder and Chairman Eugene Melnyk (@MelnykEugene). “This is truly a solvable problem. It’s about education, registration, and donation. It only takes 2 minutes to register and that could be the difference in saving someone’s life.”

The Gala will feature a 5-star program including 7-time Grammy Award Winner Carrie Underwood. In addition to the entertainment, there will be a live auction that will include luxurious vacations, retreats, and elite sporting packages. The program will also include guest speakers from the transplant community and The Organ Project will debut three television commercials aimed at building greater awareness and action to support organ donation.

After experiencing the waitlist himself and having a successful transplant, Eugene Melnyk decided to start his own foundation in July of 2016 that would help those in desperate need of an organ transplant. The mission of The Organ Project is simple: To end the waitlist and increase awareness about organ donation. There will be several campaigns in the near future that will target increasing awareness through television, radio and social media.

The Organ Project will look to partner with agencies throughout the transplant community and different levels of government to help increase overall registration. Through the foundation’s website –, you can find additional information about the Gala and links to provincial and state organ donor registries.

The Organ Project would like to thank the commitment and generosity of the sponsors of the Gala including: Achiever Ventures Inc., the Calgary Flames, the Calgary Flames Foundation, Canadian Tire, Casino Rama, Cassels Brock Lawyers, Clean Fragrance, Don & Fay Simmonds, the Friedberg Mercantile Group, The Globe and Mail, Gowling WLF, MakeYouThink, Mattamy Homes, Molson Coors, the National Hockey League, Pat and Jennifer DiCapo, PCL Constructors Canada Inc, Rogers Communications and Sitrick&Co.

If you have questions about The Organ Project Gala, please email for more information.

Follow The Organ Project on Twitter:


For more information, please contact:

Laryssa Waler-Hetmanczuk,

Shiv Raj,

Ottawa Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk Launches Major Philanthropic Initiative - The Organ Project


Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017

Ottawa Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk Launches Major Philanthropic Initiative - The Organ Project

 7-Time Grammy Award Sensation Carrie Underwood to Headline The Organ Project’s Gala in Toronto

 OTTAWA – Eugene Melnyk, Owner of the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators and himself an organ transplant recipient, today launched a major philanthropic initiative called The Organ Project whose mission is to end the waitlist for all transplant patients.

In May 2015, Mr. Melnyk received an anonymous live liver donation that saved his life. From that moment on, he took on the mission of helping all patients who are in desperate need of an organ transplant.

The Organ Project is focused on building greater awareness:

– To educate on the detrimental impact of organ transplant wait lists

– To encourage people to make the choice to donate their organs by registering on their provincial organ donor registry; and

– To ensure registered organ donors share their wishes with their family members and friends.


Through the Foundation’s website, individuals can find links to ensure they are registered on their respective provincial organ donor registry.


“Every three days in Ontario, someone dies waiting. Sadly, this is the unfortunate reality across Canada, the U.S. and around the world. The good news is this is truly a solvable problem because we don’t need to find a cure for waiting,” said Melnyk. “For many of us, we remember a time when getting in your car did not involve wearing a seatbelt. It took time, a change in laws, and a lot of public education to change our habits. Our goal is to make organ donation as normal and expected as wearing your seatbelt. Both save lives and both are a choice you can make and embrace.”

As part of today’s launch, The Organ Project is also announcing that its inaugural gala will be held on March 31, 2017 to help kick off April as Organ Donation Awareness Month. The Organ Project Gala will be an exclusive event held at the historic Fairmont Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto and will feature, among other guests, 7-time Grammy winner Carrie Underwood. Sponsorship and ticket details can be found at

“There are in fact many components that will play a role in ultimately ending the wait list. Bringing the general public on board in a way that encourages active participation and conversations will help solve the problem of “not enough donors”.

Moving forward, funds raised in support of The Organ Project will go towards working closely with other stakeholders, organizations and government agencies across North America to help identify possible solutions to other obstacles within the organ donation and transplant system. These funds will be in addition to the personal funds and in-kind contributions valued in excess of $3 million provided by Melnyk and others.

“Ending the wait list isn’t like finding a cure to a disease. We all hold the solution to this problem and together we can save lives.  This is about awareness and people being aware their decision to donate their organs could one day save up to 8 lives and to enhance 75 more upon their death,” added Melnyk.


Follow The Organ Project on Twitter:


For more information, please contact:

Laryssa Waler-Hetmanczuk,

Shiv Raj,

In the Media

The Barbados Advocate

Eugene Melnyk has taken an active role in creating more awareness about organ donation... READ MORE



The Globe and Mail

Eugene Melnyk's life was saved when he received a partial liver transplant in May, 2015, from an anonymous living donor. Now the owner of the Ottawa Senators is hoping to help others. On Wednesday [February 15, 2017], Melnyk announced the launch of the Organ Project... READ MORE




Melnyk pointed to Spain's opt-out organ donation system, where everyone is born as an organ donor, but can choose to opt out if they wish. He also detailed differences between Canada and the United States. "They have federal legislation"... READ MORE



Ottawa Citizen

Eugene Melnyk is getting a little help from his friends. Hoping to raise $2 million for The Organ Project, Melnyk reached out to former Senators centre Mike Fisher to see if his wife Carrie Underwood, a world-famous singer would perform.. READ MORE



Sports Illustrated

At first, Eugene Melnyk had prewritten his speech for the big announcement. But by the time the Ottawa Senators' owner took his seat Wednesday morning and began to talk, the meticulous notes had been scrapped entirely... READ MORE



Ottawa Community News

Melnyk also announced the project's inaugural gala to kick off Organ Donation Awareness Month in April. The exclusive event will be held at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto on March 31. Country star Carrie Underwood, wife of former Senators player... READ MORE




Senators owner battles myths, apathy in organ donation effort... READ MORE