Getting flu shot not about you . . . Some thoughts on being living kidney donor

Every time I see people on social media making mention of how they haven’t had the flu in 1,000 years and have never had a flu shot, well, my blood boils and smoke comes out my ears.

People, people, people. This isn’t about you not getting the flu. A flu shot is to help prevent you, who may be a carrier, from passing it along to someone else, like maybe a transplant recipient who has a suppressed immune system because of the anti-rejection medications that they must take, or maybe a senior citizen — perhaps your own grandmother or grandfather — whose immune system isn’t strong enough to reject a flu bug.

Please, please, please . . . a flu shot isn’t about you; it’s about other people in your community.

Get your flu shot!


There were a couple of things that really jumped out at me when I read the report on organ transplantation in 2018 that was released Thursday by the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI).

Using data from the Canadian Organ Replacement Register, the report included: “There were 40,289 Canadians (excluding Quebec) living with end-stage kidney disease at the end of 2018, an increase of 35 per cent since 2009.”

An increase of 35 per cent in 10 years means that today there will be even more people living with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

That number — 40,289 — jumped off the page when I first read it.

The other note that really hit hard was this: “(In 2018), there were 555 living donors (people who donated a kidney or a lobe of liver) and 762 deceased donors in Canada. The number of deceased donors increased by 56 per cent between 2009 and 2018, whereas the number of living donors remained stable.”

I was more than a little surprised to read the “the number of living donors remained stable.”

More and more people are being impacted by CKD, and everyone needs to realize that there isn’t a cure for it. Once someone is diagnosed with kidney disease, that’s it . . . it’s there and it isn’t going anywhere.

At some point there will dialysis and, hopefully, a transplant.

There are two ways to get a kidney via transplant — from a deceased donor or from a live donor.

The best option, of course, is from a live donor, and people need to understand that you can make sure a recipient gets a kidney even if you don’t have the same blood type.

I am aware of a number of people in Kamloops who are waiting and hoping for transplants — like Julie Dodds, who was featured on CFJC-TV on Thursday; like Vic Morin and John Casey, both of whom are regulars at Kamloops Kidney Support Group meetings; like Ferris Backmeyer, who isn’t yet three years of age but is on dialysis for about 12 hours a day, every day of the year. There’s also Zach Tremblay, a 16-year-old from Robson, B.C., who continues to wait for the phone call.

Let’s say that you are a friend of Julie’s and would love to help, but you aren’t the same blood type. That being the case, you might still be able to give your kidney to someone else — yes, it might even be a complete stranger — while Julie would get a kidney from another person, who might be another stranger.

That is how the Living Kidney Donor Program works — aka Live Donor Exchange Program.

That is exactly how Dorothy, my wife, got her new kidney on Sept. 23, 2013. Her best friend was adamant that she wanted to give a kidney to Dorothy. However, the friend wasn’t a match. Both names went into the exchange program and in time matches were found and transplants were done.

If you are interested in more information, here you go:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Sam Thompson of Global News has more right here on the CIHI report. He spoke with Dr. Faisal Siddiqui of Transplant Manitoba, who told him that there still is a stigma when it comes to families talking about death and organ donation. “It’s a human nature aspect,” Dr. Siddiqui said, “that we just don’t like sitting around the kitchen table and saying, ‘when I die, this is what I want out of life, or what I want for me.’ ” . . . Dr. Siddiqui also explained that not everyone is able to be an organ donor. . . . That complete story is right here.


I have written here previously on the story involving Catherine Pearlman, and Monica and Eli Valdez. You may recall that Catherine was in a Los Angeles-area coffee shop one day when she saw a flyer that had been placed there by Monica, whose husband, Eli, needed a kidney. . . . Yes, Catherine ended up donating a kidney. . . . If you click right here, you will find a video in which the three of them tell their story. It’s worth the three-plus minutes to give it a watch. (Full disclosure: The video was put together by Hyundai, but it isn’t a commercial. Catherine drives a Hyundai. Oh, so do I.)

BTW, I am aware of two similar stories right here in Kamloops, both of which involve women who each gave a kidney to strangers. Susan Duncan’s story is right here, while Cheryl Vosburgh’s can be found right here.

Scattershooting on a Friday evening while wondering if it’s Christmas shopping season yet . . .

Scattershooting

“As the discussion about the cult of shinny rages on, I find it most disturbing that some opinionists are just now discovering that hockey is not for everyone.” . . . That is how Patti Dawn Swansson, the River City Renegade, began a blog posting the other day. . . . If you have been following hockey’s latest mess, and if you haven’t yet had your fill, you should give this a read. It’s good stuff — it’s nail-meet-hammer kind of stuff, and it’s right here.


IKEA


ICYMI, the Swift Current Broncos fired Jamie LeBlanc, their trainer and equipment manager, on Monday “following revelations of a recent pattern of demeaning and derogatory comments, threatening behaviour and unprofessional conduct that is inconsistent with the values of the organization and the Western Hockey League.” . . . LeBlanc, whose nickname is Butter, was in his 10th season as the Broncos’ head trainer. In November 2017, the portion of a street leading to the Innovation Credit Union iPlex’s bus door was named Butter Way. . . . On Wednesday, the Broncos hired Andrew Kutnikoff as their athletic therapist/equipment manager. A native of Prince Albert, he had been in his second season with the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. . . . The North Stars now are in the hunt for an athletic therapist/equipment manager.



There was an interesting goaltending matchup in the OHL on Monday night, one that featured two former WHLers. . . . The visiting London Knights had Dylan Myskiw, 20, in goal, going against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Bailey Brkin, 19. . . . London won, 6-5 in OT. Myskiw, who is from Winnipeg, stopped 17 of 22 shots, but was replaced at 4:30 of the third period with his side down, 5-4. Brkin, from Sherwood Park, Alta., went the distance, stopping 33 shots. . . . They last had gone head-to-head on Oct. 6, 2018, when Brkin’s 28 saves helped the host Spokane Chiefs to a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings, who got 29 saves from Myskiw.



I paid $1.15.9 a litre when I filled up on Nov. 25. By the next day, it was $1.31.9, and it has stayed there. You can bet that Kamloops drivers are hoping for a better Christmas present than that from big oil.


English


Hey, there’s hockey in Cranbrook, only it’s not of the WHL or BCHL variety. The junior B Golden Rockets of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League are playing a handful of games in Cranbrook after an ammonia chiller failure shut down the Golden and District Centennial Arena. . . . The Rockets will play at least six December home games in either Memorial Arena or Western Financial Place in Cranbrook. . . . Their home arena, affectionately known as the Plywood Palace, will be closed at least until the new year.



I’m wondering how much your father paid you when/if you scored a goal during your hockey career? Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers scored the Teddy Bear goal in a 4-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Saturday night. “I told my Dad before the game, ‘I think I’m going to get it this year,’ and he kind of put a little wager on it,” Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week quoted Zary as saying. “He said he’d give me 100 bucks if I scored it. When I came off the ice, the first time I looked at my phone, I had a little e-transfer from him.” . . . Maybe I didn’t get that kind of dough because my father’s etransfer app didn’t work on his phone in 1968.


F Matt Savoie was selected by the Winnipeg Ice with the first pick of the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. He is to turn 16 on Jan. 1. . . . It has long been said and written that 15-year-old players are limited to five WHL games while their club team still is playing. However, as Paul Friesen of Postmedia referred to the rule in September, it is a “hard and not-so-fast rule.” . . . For example, F Kirby Dach played 19 regular-season games with the Saskatoon Blades in 2016-17, putting up six goals and four assists. . . . In that same September piece, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, told Friesen about Savoie: “We’re going to be probably at least in the 30 to 35 range. That would be a high-water mark. We’re still working through what that schedule looks like. We’re going to try and maximize his games through the course of the season.” . . . That being the case, it is time for the WHL to drop the pretense and throw open its doors to all 15-year-old players. . . . Savoie, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., has two assists in his first seven games.


If you are a subscriber to The Athletic, you don’t want to miss the story about former NHLer Gene Carr, who played with the Flin Flon Bombers back in the day, that was written by Lisa Dillman and Eric Duhatschek. The story is headlined ‘New kid in town’ — How a former King met the daughter he didn’t know existed.


Doctor


There are times when junior hockey’s coaching merry-go-round seems to spin at an incredible rate. . . . See if you can follow this. . . . In May, the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders signed Geoff Grimwood as general manager and head coach. You may recall that he spent some time with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors last season and has since filed a lawsuit against then-owner Kim Dobranski after being hired, fired, rehired and later fired again. . . . Anyway, Grimwood resigned from the Stampeders on Friday, saying that he needs to “take some time away from the game.” . . . Meanwhile, Barry Wolff spent last season as the GM and head coach of those same Stampeders, who reached the MJHL’s championship final. But he left to sign on as GM and head coach of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. They fired him nine games into his stint there. Of late, he has been helping out with the junior B 100 Mile House Wranglers of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. On Friday, the Stampeders, who are 17-10-2, named him GM and coach, replacing Grimwood. . . . Got all that?


The WHL has to be a little nervous when it looks at the standings these days because, as Larry Fisher noted in the above tweet on Wednesday, the race(s) for playoff spots are pretty much non-existent. . . . Two of 10 teams in the Western Conference won’t make the playoffs, and those will be the Seattle Thunderbirds and Prince George Cougars. . . . The Eastern Conference drops four of its 12 teams, with the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos already out of the picture, as they continue to pay for having gone all-in for playoff runs in recent seasons. Going into Friday games, the Moose Jaw Warriors were eight points out with five games in hand, but appear to be in seller’s mode having moved F Jadon Joseph, 20, to the Kelowna Rockets recently. The Red Deer Rebels, another team in a rebuilding stage, are six points out but the odds appear to be long. . . . It has to be a tough way to sell tickets when the fans know their favourite team is out of the playoffs in the first week of December.



JUST NOTES: Is Dak Prescott the NFL’s most over-rated quarterback? After Dallas owner Jerry Jones fires head coach Jason Garrett, should he also fire the general manager? Oh wait, Jones is the GM. . . . The Portland Winterhawks took two games from the Cougars in Prince George this week, winning 3-0 on Tuesday and 5-4 in OT on Wednesday. The same two teams are playing in Portland this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. That’s right. They are playing their entire season series in a span of six nights. . . . In case you haven’t noticed, the Carolina Hurricanes have become the NHL’s fun bunch. . . . Baseball’s winter meetings get started on Sunday through Thursday in San Diego. Are you ready for some wheeling and dealing?

Kamloops woman looks for kidney as CIHI reports transplants are up but people are dying on waiting lists

Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV stopped by our home on Thursday as he worked on a story involving local reaction to a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Chad spoke with Dorothy, my wife who had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. As you will see by watching his story right here, he also chatted with Julie Dodds of Kamloops.

Julie has a genetic kidney disease — Medullary Kidney Disease Type 1 — and has reached Stage 4 kidney failure. She needs a kidney and is hoping to get one before she has to go on dialysis.

I told her story right here early in August.

——

The Canadian Institute for Health Information issued a report on Thursday that indicates there were 2,782 organ transplants performed in Canada in 2018.

According to the report, which showed a 33 per cent increase in transplants since 2009, the first of 10 years covered here:

“At the end of 2018, there were 4,351 people on wait lists for organ transplants (2,890 active and 1,461 on hold). Additionally, 223 people died that year while on a wait list for an organ transplant.

“The increased need for organ transplantation is in part being driven by the rising rate of Canadians living with end-stage kidney disease, which went up 32 per cent over the 10 years studied.”

Greg Webster, the CIHI’s director of acute and ambulatory care information services, pointed out that “more than 4,000 Canadians are still on a waiting list for a transplant, and many die each year while waiting.

“We know that organ transplants save lives. For most organs, patient survival is greater than 80 per cent after five years.”

Also from the report: “(In 2018), there were 555 living donors (people who donated a kidney or a lobe of liver) and 762 deceased donors in Canada. The number of deceased donors increased by 56 per cent between 2009 and 2018, whereas the number of living donors remained stable.”

Some highlights from the report:

Kidneys (1,706) and livers (533) were the top organs transplanted, followed by lungs (361), hearts (189) and pancreases (57).

As of Dec. 31, 2018, more patients were on wait lists for kidneys (3,150) and livers (527), compared with lungs (270), hearts (157) and pancreases (156).

Of the 762 deceased organ donors, 60 per cent were male. Of the 555 living organ donors, 63 per cent were female.

For deceased donors, the average number of organs used for transplantation was three for all donors and 4 for donors ages 39 and younger.

The complete report is available right here.



Roberts loving her new life after transplant . . . Cypress’ new kidney “doing incredibly well” . . .

Have you ever wondered what life is like for a child before and after a kidney transplant?

Kathleen Roberts knows all about it; she’s 19 now and had a transplant four years ago at BC Children’s Hospital.

“Before the transplant,” she says, “I was going to BC Children’s every few months. I was just sick. I slept 16 to 18 hours a day. I had no appetite. I was 82 pounds and five feet tall. I was severely underweight and severely nauseous. The transplant made a huge difference. I have a normal appetite and I’m not sleeping the day away anymore.”

Take a few minutes and read her story, which is right here.


Cypress Roed, an eight-year-old from Harrison Hot Springs, B.C., continues to make progress after undergoing a kidney transplant on Oct. 24 at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Her mother, Chantelle Deley, told me in an email earlier this week that “Cypress is doing well for the most part. She is finally in remission!”

Early on, Cypress had been diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, something that damages the kidneys and prevents the filtering of protein from the urine.

The recovery process hasn’t been without a speed bump or two, the latest of which has been having to deal with migraines. Cypress was back in hospital late last week because the migraines were causing severe nausea.

But, as Chantelle wrote,“she is in remission and that’s a major positive.”

It’s important to note that the new kidney “is doing incredibly well.”

“She is amazingly strong,” Chantelle said of her daughter.

Dorothy, my wife, had some health issues six weeks or so after her transplant and spent most of December 2013 in hospital dealing with them. But, as with Cypress, the new kidney just kept doing its job. Hopefully, that continues with Cypress, who is preparing to spend her third straight Christmas away from home.

Cypress is to turn nine on Jan. 22. Her dream has been to celebrate by going swimming. Here’s hoping she is able to make a big splash.



This was posted on a blog called Andrew Kai’s Adventure in Liverland. It was written by his mother:

“I wrote this in the waiting room after Kai coded. They brought him back 3 times before rushing him to the operating room. The plan was to open him up and remove the bad liver to buy him some time. The new liver was only 4 hours away. He had held on at the top of the list for 2 days. He was first in line for a liver and didn’t get one in time.

“I really believed he would make it. I pushed all the doubts out. I kept saying this over and over to myself, I knew my baby was strong and I had to believe for him.”

The post included a photo of a note on which was written:

“Pieces of me are in you

“Pieces of you are in me

“I am here

“You are here

“Kai will live!!!!”

Below the note was a small stone with a heart etched into it.

Kai’s mother continued:

“The heart stone is what they gave to me, and one to him, so that we would have something to connect us when I had to say goodbye the last time. I placed it over his heart and I haven’t put my stone down since I left him.

“HE WOULD HAVE LIVED IF HE HAD A NEW LIVER. Even if it had been just a few hours earlier.

“DONATE YOUR ORGANS. YOU DON’T NEED THEM AFTER YOU’RE GONE.”

Andrew Kai George was born on April 23, 2019. Without a new liver, he died on Dec. 2, 2019, in Indianapolis, Ind.





A little Smoke Eaters’ history from the Kamloops Kidney Christmas Luncheon . . .

The annual Christmas luncheon that is prepared by volunteers from the Kamloops Chapter of the B.C. and Yukon Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada always is a lot of fun. That is, of course, because of the people you meet there.

Take Sunday at the Heritage House, for example.

I was presented with the opportunity to chat with Barb Haight-Smith and her husband, Ed Smith. Well, to be honest, Barb did most of the talking, and what a story she told. Her father, Jimmy Haight, played for one of the most-famous Canadian hockey teams of all time — the 1938-39 Trail Smoke Eaters.

Born in Humboldt, Sask., Jimmy came out of the Saskatoon junior ranks to join the Nelson Maple Leafs. Rather than turn pro, he then moved over to Trail after Cominco put him to work, which also allowed him to play for the 1937-38  Smoke Eaters, who won the Savage Cup as B.C. champions, the Paton Cup as Western Canadian kings, and the Allan Cup as Canadian champs.

In 1938-39, the Smoke Eaters took the hockey world by storm as the won the World championship. They arrived in Europe in early December and spent a couple of months touring. Before they were done over there, they played 55 games, winning 53 times, losing once and recording one tie.

The 10-day World championship was played in Basel and Zurich, Switzerland. The Smokies opened by beating the Netherlands, 8-0, and Poland, 4-0. In the second round, they took out Britain, 4-0, and Germany, 9-0. Then they dumped Switzerland, 7-0, before more than 16,000 fans. Trail wrapped up the title with a 4-1 victory over Czechoslovakia and a 4-0 blanking of the United States.

In his final years, Barb and Ed cared for her father in Kamloops, where he died on April 15, 2009. Jimmy Haight, a World champion, was 95.

What follows are more photos from the luncheon at the Heritage House, all of them from the camera of Murray Mitchell of Murray Mitchell Photography.

Photo9
Dennis Purcha stopped by for a pre-Christmas visit with Lucy Ross.
Photo12
No, Rick Oviatt didn’t come dressed up as Santa Claus, but he looks to be halfway there with the beard. The smile tells you that he was enjoying himself, as we all were.
Photo14
Rita and Ron Wright got in a quick snuggle just before getting called to the buffet table.
Photo15
Tammy La Forge and Randy McDuffee were quick to smile for the camera. Yes, they had a grand time.
Photo18
Heather Moore (left), Lynne Moyer, Samhita and Sushma Kaluvakoluna, and Barb Haight-Smith and Ed Smith were among those in attendance. Barb’s father, Jimmy, played for the Trail Smoke Eaters, who won the 1939 World hockey championship. He also was part of the 1938 Allan Cup winning team.
Photo30
Samhita Kaluvakoluna had a warm welcoming hug for Santa Claus while her mother, Sushma, grabbed a photo.
Photo31
Santa made sure to stop off and visit with Heather Moore and Lynne Moyer.

A good time was had by all at the annual Kamloops Kidney Christmas Luncheon

Christmas arrived at the Heritage House in Kamloops on Sunday afternoon as the Kamloops Chapter of the B.C. and Yukon Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada held its annual luncheon.

Every year, volunteers with the chapter prepare and serve a pre-Christmas turkey lunch to dialysis patients and transplant recipients along with their guests.

This year’s luncheon was played host to by Larry Read, the sports information officer at Thompson Rivers University. He also is the emcee for Kamloops’ annual Kidney Walk, another event that is organized by the local chapter. The 2020 Kidney Walk is scheduled for Sept. 20 at McDonald Park, so you can put that on your calendar.

And, on Sunday, the inimitable Jesse Jones, who teaches at Lee’s Music in Kamloops, joined us, as he always does, to provide the tunes of the season.

Murray Mitchell, the Kamloops’ chapter’s official photographer, also was there. A long-time photographer with the late Kamloops Daily News, he took the photos that appear here. He now operates Murray Mitchell Photography — murraymitchell.ca — right here in Kamloops.

Photo32
Georgia and Ted O’Hara took time for their annual visit with Santa. Ted’s chin looks like he may have his eye on helping out next year.
Photo34
This isn’t the Three Tenors. No, it isn’t! Jesse Jones (left) was at the keyboard and on vocals, with Larry Read on the microphone as the emcee, and Gregg Drinnan was there trying to keep track of numbers during the prize draws. Jesse and some of his students will be performing at the Sahali Mall on Dec. 14, starting at 11:30 a.m. If you drop by, be sure to say hi to Jesse and tell him Gregg sent you.
MarianneJanzen-120119
By the look of things, Santa had a funny story for Marianne Janzen of Kamloops (right) and her sister, Janette Schlamp, who is from Swift Current.
Photo19
Leona Backman (left), Dorothy Drinnan, Marianne LeFluffy, Karla Ramsay and Edna Humphreys, all of them volunteers, are lined up at the buffet table and waiting for the rush.
Photo13
There was lots of conversation at this table as, from left, Georgia and Ted O’Hara, Marianne and Bob Janzen, and Norm and Evelyn Naylor told Christmas tales.
Photo10
Things were humming in the kitchen as volunteers Joe Amyott, Marianne LeFluffy, Diana Tesic-Nagalingam and Faith Moyer were busy preparing the meal.
JaredProvost2-120119
Jared and Heather Provost brought along their son, Leland, who was especially excited as he awaited the arrival of the guy in the red suit.
ColleenVic-120119
Colleen Bruce and her husband, Vic Morin, also managed to have a visit with Santa.
DorothyEdna-120119
When it was all over for another year, Edna Humphreys (left) and Dorothy Drinnan, two of the hard-working volunteers, took a break with Santa Claus before he headed north to continue preparations for the big, big day.

Check back shortly for more from Murray Mitchell Photography from the annual Kidney Christmas Luncheon.

 

Got a car you would like to donate to a good cause? . . . B.C. Children’s Hospital has reason to celebrate

Are you aware that you can donate your car, truck or boat to benefit people in Canada who are living with kidney disease?

Seriously. You are able to do that.

From kidney.ca: “We take vehicles of any age or condition! Vehicles donated to Kidney Car can be recycled or sold, depending on the region. If you have an old, broken down vehicle in your driveway or garage that you need to get rid of, call Kidney Car today!”

As it says on the site, “You’ll get a FREE tow, tax receipt and the great feeling that you’ve helped the environment and people living with kidney disease across Canada.”

If you are interested, check right here to see if the program is available in your area. If you are wanting more information, it’s all available right here, including an online donation form.


Say “hello” to Jeremy Wikkerink, the recipient of the 300th kidney transplant at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Jeremy, 5, is from Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island and had been doing dialysis for as much as 12 hours per day before the transplant.