Eighth anniversary of kidney transplant dampened by news from Saskatchewan . . .


It was a small gathering — there were three of us — but we celebrated anyway.

It was the eighth anniversary of Dorothy’s kidney transplant. So we picked up some food from Señor Froggy — that’s the Kamloops restaurant whose owners gave its staff last week off with pay as a mental health break — and then we went to a dear kidney friend’s home for lunch.

The friend had a small ‘Happy Anniversary’ cake ready and we were able to devour three-quarters of it.

Yes, a good time was had by all.

And then we returned home to discover that Saskatchewan is on the verge of shutting down organ transplantation surgery, as Dr. Hassan Masri of the U of Saskatchewan College of Medicine tweeted, “due to the pressure on ICU and redeployment of staff.”

He added: “It simply means that those who pass away and generously want to donate their organs will not be able to. It also means that no one will be able to receive one. Tragic.”

Upon reading this I felt physically ill.

You know why the Saskatchewan health system is having to do this, and you know that other jurisdictions won’t be far behind.

Good grief, people . . . if you aren’t vaccinated, get it done. Now! Please.

The fact that people have registered as organ donors and now won’t be able to have that wish recognized is beyond belief. There now are families among us who will go through the grief of losing loved ones, but won’t ever feel the positive emotions that come with knowing that other people benefited from their losses.

This is . . . actually, there just aren’t words . . .

Dorothy and granddaughter Kara playing a tune in a Burnaby park in September 2020.

Let me tell you what organ donation has meant in our lives . . .

At the time of Dorothy’s transplant, she had been doing peritoneal dialysis for almost four years. Every night, every single night, she hooked up to a machine and did dialysis while she slept.

Eight years ago, our son wasn’t married. He was living in a one-bedroom apartment in Burnaby near Metrotown. There weren’t any grandchildren.

Today, he is married with two happy and always excited daughters. Kara is five; Averi is one. The four of them now live in a wonderful new home in Coquitlam.

Dorothy and Averi last month in Coquitlam. It was only the second time they had been together in 11 months.

Without a transplant, chances are Dorothy never would have known her granddaughters. She never would have been able to sit in a park and play duelling harmonicas with Kara. She wouldn’t have known what it’s like to sit at the dinner table with Averi and have the little one make faces at her.

Dorothy also wouldn’t have co-founded the Kamloops Kidney Support Group, through which we have made a lot of friends. She wouldn’t have taken part in any of the annual kidney walks; this year, she participated in her eighth one. She has raised $23,846 in that time, a lot of it through people like you who visit this website.

Without a transplant . . . well, I could go on and on because we’ve done and seen a lot over the past eight years, at least before the pandemic came along and disrupted our lives.

And now we’re at a stage where hospitals are having to stop doing transplants. This is 2021 and this is absolutely unbelievable.

It’s unbelievable because it’s all so avoidable.

As Ryan Switzer, a Swift Current city councillor, put it on Thursday afternoon: “Unvaccinated people are tying up the healthcare system to the point where people will needlessly die. This is no longer about just you. Vaxxed people have the power to save lives. Unvaxxed . . . the opposite.”

If you aren’t already, get vaccinated. I am begging you.

BTW, Dorothy got her third inoculation on Monday morning. As a transplant recipient, she takes anti-rejection drugs that result in a compromised immune system. Research shows that a third shot for people in her situation will spur her immune system to create more anti-bodies.

If you’re wondering, she had a sore arm for one day. It was a small price to pay.


Meanwhile . . .

D Bode Wilde, 21, has confirmed that he is the one unvaccinated player who isn’t in training camp with the New York Islanders. “Hoping my human rights are enough to let me play,” he tweeted. “What a world.” . . . Bode, my wife would like to have a word with you. . . .

G Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets told reporters on Thursday that he had concerns about getting vaccinated because he doesn’t have a spleen. But then along came August and the COVID-19 virus found him. Once recovered, he got vaccinated. He now is fully vaccinated and feeling fine. . . . The spleen? It was removed via emergency surgery in 2012 after it ruptured following a fall while playing road hockey. . . .

The Alberta-based Heritage Junior B Hockey League has lost another team for the 2021-22 season. This all comes after the league revealed on Monday that all players, coaches and support staff must show proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours before partaking in any team activity. . . . The Stettler Lightning pulled out Wednesday, saying that the restrictions cost them some players. . . . The Ponoka Stampeders actually opened their season with a pair of weekend losses. “Due to the new covid measures,” the team wrote on Twitter, “we found ourselves in a position of not having enough eligible players to continue the season.” . . . Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate has more right here.

The CFL had a Wednesday night game on its schedule this week — the Hamilton Tiger-Cats dumped the Ottawa Redblacks, 24-7 — but some viewers weren’t too enamoured.

Sorry, but I wasn’t among the viewing audience. I was too busy with baseball’s stretch drive. Go Giants! . . . But let’s not forget that David Ayres, that Zamboni driving goaltender who beat the Leafs, is a kidney transplant recipient.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

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


Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182



Or, for more information, visit right here.



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