A record 22 Manitobans became deceased organ donors in 2018, said Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life Wednesday, thanks to families honouring the final wishes of a loved one who wanted to donate.

“Thanks to the efforts and hard work of the donation team in partnership with healthcare providers, we are there for families during their toughest hours,” said Dr. Adrian Robertson, medical director, Gift of Life, in a news release. “When there is no hope of recovery, many of the families we work with find some hope in the opportunity to consider donating organs to help others who are struggling.”

The news release also said a mandatory referral policy introduced in 2014 has led to a steady uptick in potential donors being referred.

It also said 2018 was a record year for the number of people registering their wishes to become an organ donor upon death on the province’s Sign Up for Life registry.

Thousands registered to donate organs in the wake of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.