Keith is among 99 new appointments to the Order of Canada.

Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, announced today in Ottawa that Simon Keith C.M. is one of the new appointments to the Order of Canada. One of the country’s highest honours, the Order of Canada was created in 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II to honour individuals who shape Canadian society, ignite imaginations and unite communities.

The first athlete in the world to play a professional sport after receiving a heart transplant and recent heart/kidney transplant recipient, Keith has become one of the most well-known and influential leaders in the fields of organ donation, patient advocacy and transplantation on the planet. In addition, Keith is a world-renowned motivational speaker and inspires others through his keynote addresses to “Build Great Teams” and “Build Great Leaders.”

Keith lived – an almost unheard of – 32 years as the grateful recipient of his 1986 heart transplant until 2019 when he fell gravely ill. Through the generosity of another heroic donor Keith was fortunate enough to receive a second heart and a kidney transplant. The second transplant has only encouraged Keith to continue his humanitarian efforts in Canada and around the globe.

In 2012, Keith founded The Simon Keith Foundation, (
dedicated to providing financial support primarily to youths who have undergone a life saving organ transplant who desire a return to an active and healthy lifestyle. In addition to helping people with their non-medical expenses, the Foundation strives to increase organ donor registration through public awareness campaigns.

In the last 10 years the Foundation has raised millions of dollars and continues in its relentless mission to impact the youth and families affected by organ failure. Among many highlights, the foundation has sponsored every child in Canada and the United States in their desire to attend the Transplant Games in their respective countries.

In addition, The Simon Keith Foundation has endowed a scholarship in partnership with the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame at the University of Victoria, dedicated to raising awareness for organ donation, along with a matching scholarship through the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.

Through his Foundation, Keith continues his mission to lead organ donor awareness campaigns in the U.S., Canada and throughout the world. Through his relentless dedication to this cause, he embodies the tenets of the Order of Canada.
“The Order of Canada celebrates the lives, endeavors and successes of people from coast to coast and from all walks of life,” said Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada. “Those being appointed today come from a variety of sectors, have achieved national and international success, and have shown ingenuity, innovation and generosity. What’s more, they have made a difference in their communities and for Canada with their outstanding dedication and commitment. Congratulations to the new Order of Canada appointees, as well as those celebrating a promotion within the Order.”


“In August of 1966 my Pops traded passage on a boat from economically depressed England to the unknown wilderness of Canada. Along with my mom and their three children, he agreed to teach in a remote outpost – Lestock Saskatchewan, population 95 – on the Canadian prairies as his part of the deal. He was 26 years old with three kids, and literally £50 in his pocket. His single motivation was to create a better life for himself and his family; most notably his three boys. He appreciated everything that Canada represented and worked tirelessly until he passed away in September 2018.

He taught me and my brothers to work hard and to be tough and selfless.
Today, I am the product of his, and my mom’s, courage and vision. To receive the Order of Canada is more than I could have ever imagined.

I am deeply, deeply humbled.

I am also extraordinarily grateful for the support I have received throughout my life. My health journey has been well documented as I have been the ultimate beneficiary of truly heroic acts of organ donors and donor families. There is no more significant single act one human being can give to another than the gift of life. In my life, two families experienced tragedies that have allowed me and my family to thrive. Over more than 35 years of living with other people’s hearts (and kidney), I have learned that there is only one way to say thank you to those families: That is to live a life of passion and purpose.
Today, my wife, Kelly – who is simply a spectacular woman and responsible for many of our
accomplishments to date – and my three children remain emboldened to continue to do more.

I am in a word: Grateful.”