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The Kidney Patient and Donor Alliance Canada (The Alliance) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to uniting and amplifying the voices of kidney patients, living donors and their families to play a meaningful role in improving the lives of those affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD) through advocacy that meaningfully involves patients as research partners across the spectrum of CKD, including early detection, dialysis, and transplantation.

What is the Kidney Patient and Donor Alliance of Canada?

To empower patients and donors to speak up and get involved in issues that effect them and to play a role in making positive change for themselves and others. We are focused on the following objectives:

  • Mobilize a large network of kidney patients and kidney donors to promote and share relevant insights and information to improve kidney care.
  • Increase public awareness and understanding of kidney disease, kidney failure and kidney transplantation.
  • Promote and support equal access to kidney care, kidney transplantation, including living donor transplantation.
  • Advocate for the rights of and access to the best possible care for kidney patients and kidney donors.
  • Collaborate wherever possible with individuals and organizations on projects of mutual interest.
  • Assist policy makers and various levels of government by sharing lived experiences and information collected.

In July 2022, a Patient Partner Workshop was held where with kidney transplant recipients and living kidney donors met to brainstorm roles they can play in translating best practice kidney transplant research findings as well as other research initiatives. Out of this workshop was born the Patient Partner Coalition for Transplant 1st, a group of patient and donor research partners helping to advance research into system-wide reform of the Canadian healthcare system that prioritizes kidney transplant first, as the best treatment for kidney failure, or Transplant 1st.

We will have new and exciting initiatives in the future!

If you have a great idea for a new initiative that the Alliance can focus on, please contact us at
Susan McKenzie, President

Susan McKenzie is a lifelong communications and fundraising professional, having held numerous senior fundraising roles, including major gift fundraising and the strategic planning and implementation or fundraising plans for large organizations that include universities, hospitals, non-profits, and other charities. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Waterloo.

Sue is a kidney patient who received a kidney transplant from her sister-in-law in 2010. Her lived experience as a kidney patient has translated into a deep passion for improving the care that kidney patients and donors receive and increasing access to kidney transplant for those who need one. As such, Sue has dedicated herself as an advocate for kidney and transplant patients, and an experienced patient research partner. She is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Transplant Ambassador Program and holds the positions of President of the Kidney Patient and Donor Alliance Canada and the Renal Patient and Donor Foundation Canada as well.

Sue has been a patient partner co-author on 13 published papers since 2017 and provided advice and support for numerous other research and implementation projects in the hopes that kidney-related health care systems improve their care and access for kidney patients across Canada.

Brent Cheal

Brent Cheal is the CEO of Adappcity, an application development company that identifies and develops industry-disrupting solutions that are socially and economically valuable. The company makes decentralized applications for social good.  

A resident of Kelowna, BC, Brent is also a living kidney donor, having donated a kidney to his daughter in 2004. In 2002, Brent’s daughter was diagnosed with kidney disease at 10-years-old. After two years of watching his child suffer with kidney disease, Brent donated a kidney to his then 12-year-old daughter.  

Since then, he incorporated his journey as a donor and caregiver to advocate in the transplant industry. He used this expertise and insight to build leading-edge solutions at Adappcity, which is currently developing an AI-powered app to help kidney patients find donors and educate potential donors about the process. As part of this, to implement the app in the United States market, Brent’s work focused on their organ transplant system, which illustrated ​​some policies and procedures that could be improved in Canada.  

Brent joined our Patient Partner Coalition in 2023, where he uses his expertise to support the Coalition’s work. “During my work, I have determined that the living donor program in Canada is broken and outdated,” Brent said. “This will​​ be my focus within the Coalition.” His support has directly advanced the Coalition’s efforts in effecting positive changes in Canada’s kidney donation and transplantation system.

Sol Kasimer

Sol Kasimer spent his entire career as a leader in the charitable sector in both staff and volunteer roles.  He began his career in the YMCA where he worked for 31 years, including eleven years as CEO of the Montreal YMCA and eleven years as CEO of YMCA Canada.  He was also CEO of Altruvest Charitable Services, National Advisor to The Learning Partnership, Senior Advisor to Imagine Canada and is currently Senior Advisor to Jump Math (also acted as voluntary CEO for six months during COVID).

As a volunteer, Sol was a Director with Portage, The Learning Partnership, Public Policy Forum, Conference Board of Canada (National Council on Education), Jump Math (Director and Chair) and others. He helped initiate the creation of the Voluntary Sector Roundtable and chaired the Capacity Joint Table with the Federal government.

Sol graduated from McGill University with a BSc in Psychology and from Purdue University with an MSc in Human Development. He recently received (November 2023) a kidney transplant from an anonymous living donor.

Kenneth Litchfield

As a leader, Ken has always had a deep authentic connection with people. Red tape is his greatest enemy. He is a passionate advocate, both professionally and personally with strengths in risk management, complex system improvement including: Process and Personal Health, Safety and Emergency Response.

A war-torn 7 year Kidney Transplant survivor, Ken’s life has been drastically changed as result of CKD and its associated failures and complications. It may be said that Ken is not shy. When he was run over by CKD, he decided it was only fair to seek opportunities to improve the process where he could. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, he’s married to his best friend and feels blessed beyond recognition.

Marian Reich

Marian Reich became a living kidney donor to her sister-in-law in 2010. She became a patient partner with Can-SOLVE CKD in 2017 and has participated in research projects with foci on living kidney transplant and the living donor evaluation process. In Can-SOLVE CKD she was a member of the Patients Governing Council and a member of the Training and Mentorship Committee where she worked on the Storytelling for Impact course. She has served as a volunteer Transplant Ambassador since 2017 as team lead at Mackenzie Health Hospital in Ontario. 

Marian’s interests in CKD research are driven by her desire to see all kidney patients receive the most appropriate treatment and current information on living transplant early in their care. She believes connecting patients with those with lived experience is beneficial to patients and their family members. 

Marian is a certified teacher who retired from the Toronto District School Board after 28 years of teaching in Elementary Schools. She is certified to teach on PEI and works occasionally as a teacher with the PEI Public Schools Branch.

Michael Tremblay

Michael has over 40 years of experience in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry. In 2018, he retired from Astellas Pharma Canada Inc. where he served as President of their Canadian operations.

Michael has sat on a number of Boards, including Community & Home Assistance to Seniors (CHATS) and Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC), the organization representing the leading research-based pharmaceutical companies in Canada. He began serving on their Board in 2011 and was elected Chair of the Board in 2015 until November 2017. He currently sits on the Board at Knight Therapeutics Inc. and is an advisor for a couple of early start up companies.

Lynn van der Linde

Lynn van der Linde brings more than 20 years of stakeholder management, communications, marketing, and strategic planning experience to the Patient Partner Coalition. Currently, Lynn leads an Advisory Services practice, focused on providing clients with leadership support across a wide range of transformation mandates for a variety of public, quasi-public and private sector clients. Prior to her current role, Lynn worked for Canadian Blood Services and IBM in various roles ranging from leading marketing and donor recruitment, rebranding, executive-level consulting, stakeholder management, and other operational and communications functions. Lynn is an active market leader and a recognized philanthropist, engaged in corporate governance across multiple sectors including health care, public policy and economic development. She has also held various executive Board of Director positions with Canadian not-for-profits, including CHEO Research Institute, Fertile Future, and The IBD Foundation of Canada.

Lynn’s most important job, though, has been in her role as the proud mother of two young men. In 2021 at the age of nineteen, her oldest son Max was suddenly diagnosed with end-stage CKD at the beginning of his second year at university. During Max’s battle with kidney disease, Lynn experienced firsthand the fear and uncertainty of loving a person with kidney disease, watched him undergo painful treatments including dialysis, felt frustration due to the lack of information regarding Canadian transplant programs, and through it all, discovered the dire need for urgency and consistency in donor work-up processes. Six months after his diagnosis, Lynn gifted one of her kidneys to Max. As a result of her experience, she dove into supporting work focused on improving the kidney health care system, which will improve outcomes for kidney patients across Canada. Lynn brings keen business acumen, extensive risk-management experience and strong stakeholder management skills to the PPC and believes whole-heartedly in the mission of the Kidney Patient and Donor Alliance and the Patient Partner Coalition.

Jason Kroft, Chair

Jason is a kidney patient who received a kidney transplant more than 20 years ago. He has been an active supporter and advocate for kidney patients and a volunteer with the Transplant Ambassador Program.

He is a Partner at Miller Thomson in Toronto with over 25 years of experience.

Jamal El Ali

Jamal El Ali is an accomplished professor, researcher, published author, educator, speaker, and project management consultant, with 20 years of experience in managing in Canada and the United States. He is a part-time faculty member at the University of Toronto, York University, Toronto Metropolitan University, and Humber College, where he teaches project management and business administration. Jamal holds an MBA and is pursuing a PhD in psychology on artificial intelligence.

Jamal was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in March 2009 and began home hemodialysis in 2018. He received his kidney transplant from a deceased donor on February 5, 2022, and has lived a healthy life since recovering from the transplant. His experience has made Jamal passionate about giving back and help kidney patients and their loved ones by actively advocating for kidney care. He joined the Transplant Ambassador Program in April 2022 and the Patient Partner Coalition in 2023, where he uses his experience and expertise to support work that will improve access to transplant for persons living with kidney disease.

Alexandra Freund

Alexandra is a kidney transplant recipient and founding Alliance board member who is passionate about helping others with end stage kidney failure, and in particular, about supporting younger patients realize their best possible outcome through pre-emptive transplant.

She advocates for living donor transplant in her life and through her work as a Transplant Ambassador, as well the acting Provincial Program Coordinator for the Transplant Ambassador Program, a key pillar of the Ontario Renal Network’s Enhancing Access to Kidney Transplant and Living Donation Research Strategy.

Dr. Amit X. Garg

Dr. Amit X. Garg is a world-renowned nephrologist and clinician-scientist with 20 years of clinical practice and over 600 published research papers.

Hi is Associate Dean, Clinical Research, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University Department of Medicine; Site Director, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Western Facility; Past President, Canadian Society of Nephrology; Provincial Medical Lead, ICES Provincial Kidney, Dialysis and Transplantation Program (ICES KDT); and Past Provincial Medical Lead, Access to Kidney Transplantation, Ontario Renal Network

Sushan Shetty

Sushan Shetty is a management consultant for large-scale program management projects that specialize in business strategy, IT due diligence, operating model design, mergers & acquisitions, and digital transformation across various industries.

He is currently working at Mastercard (Advisory Consulting) specializing in long term strategic projects. Prior to joining Mastercard, Sushan has worked with KPMG, EY and Bayer CropScience in various capacities implementing enterprise-wide programs focused on internal strategy, program management, process improvement, and operational efficiency.
Sushan has earned his Masters in Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology from University of Waterloo, and his Bachelors in Computer Engineering from India.

Sushan started working with the Transplant Ambassadors Program and the Kidney Patient and Donor Alliance as a student because his own family had been affected by kidney disease. He has generously applied his skills in business and technology to significantly advance the program.

Mary Beaucage was Anishnaabe, from Nipissing First Nation, near North Bay Ontario. She is a founding member of the Alliance Board of Directors and contributed significantly to the formation and implementation of the Alliance.

She was a vulnerable and engaging storyteller who trusts you with her story. Mary had type 2 diabetes and was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease in 2013 and started dialysis immediately. In March 2015, she received a kidney from her cousin Janice, who lives in Manitoba.

Mary was active as a patient advocate and patient research partner between 2016 and 2024, and held anumber of important including roles with Can-SOLVE CKD, CDTRP, Ontario Renal Network, Trillium Gift of Life, and the Transplant Ambassador Program.

For more information on the Alliance, please contact us at