It was just over a week ago when Ferris Backmeyer and her parents, Lindsey and Pat, boarded a plane in Toronto for the return flight to Kamloops.
They had spent a couple of days at the Hospital for Sick Children where Ferris, 5, was introduced to a medical team that hopefully will be involved in getting her a kidney in the near future.
For starters, the Backmeyers had to scramble to make their flight, but they got there in time.
“By the time we made it through security we walked right onto the plane,” Lindsey wrote on Facebook. “There was a young woman checking boarding passes at the gate.”
Lindsey told her that “we were needing extra time because Ferris wouldn’t walk onto the plane and we had a dialysis machine.”
And that is when the Backmeyers experienced one of ‘those’ moments.
As Lindsey wrote: “She very proudly looks at Ferris and says, ‘Can I tell you a story? I’m a kidney-transplant recipient and I was on dialysis once, too.’
“As she’s saying it, her eyes are filled with tears. Then she said something along the lines of ‘you’re so brave, sweet girl.’ ”
Lindsey added: “I’m practically crumbling. I tell her why we came to Toronto and she said something totally wonderful that I can’t even remember and I walked away. It was the perfect departure from Toronto. Tears in my eyes and hope in my heart.”
As for Ferris’s medical appointments, Lindsey reported that it was “a whirlwind.”
“We went to Toronto with very realistic expectations,” she wrote, “but it was way harder than I ever could have anticipated. The logistics. The schedule. The fact that’s she’s 5. Dialysis. Airports. The stuff. The schedule was insane.”
They were there for three days, with appointments taking care of all three days, along with “sleep study” one night.
Ferris was diagnosed with kidney issues shortly after birth, and it really is beyond amazing to read what Lindsey and Pat go through and how they handle things. And let’s not forget that Ferris also has two older sisters who need TLC through all of this.
“Ferris overall did really well but it was really too much,” Lindsey wrote. “If we could do it over again I would have asked for it to be spread out over five days.
“We tried to do it very compact so I wouldn’t miss any work and Pat would miss little school. Because those things are falling off the rails lately and need to be a priority. But there was nowhere near enough downtime.
“We never found a play space. She spent most of the time in her stroller, at the hospital or connected to dialysis. We ended up doing shorter nights of dialysis every night we were there and it just didn’t feel good but the itinerary was impossible. No one really gets what it means to be connected to a dialysis machine for 14 hours every single night.”
And, of course, if you have been following Ferris’s story for the last while, you know that she was the star of the show.
As Lindsey explained: “She made the day for several healthcare people. Child Life was in love with her and told us it was the best moment she had had in a really long time. She was so happy she got to meet her. The lab lady also was just swooning over her bravery and sweet little self. She got soooo many stickers.”
After arriving home and looking at what they had been through, Lindsey said “these doctors gave us a lot of hope that a transplant will take place at (Sick Children’s) in a few months. It’s gonna take time and that part kills me. . . . It’s going to take over a year to get there and with how she’s been it just doesn’t seem fair. . . . This has given us hope when all hope was pretty much lost.”
These days, you can find Ferris going to kindergarten and, yes, even at a dental appointment.
“Can’t say enough good things about the staff at Dr. Koronko’s office,” Lindsey wrote. “This girl needed time and they gave it to her . . . more patient than any other medical professional has ever been with her. She needed a lot of time. She must have said “No” at least half-a-dozen times, but eventually got them polished and fluoride on! The water, the suction . . . all of it! She had no cavities and they found her first wiggly tooth, which she is thrilled about. Tooth fairy comin’ her way!
“She walked out so proud of herself. . . . The pride in her step and voice as she strutted out of there was one of the best moments. I’m so proud of this kid!”
It should be mentioned, too, that Ferris and her father were there to greet the Cops for Kids cyclists when they rode into Kamloops one day last week. The weather wasn’t nice, but they made sure to be there.
“We were all beginning to feel a little sorry for ourselves because of this tough stretch,” wrote Spencer Frost at copsforkids.org. “And then . . . we met our family in Kamloops. Despite being nearly an hour late, this youngster and her Dad waited in the rain just to meet the team and show their gratitude. A youngster who has dialysis 14 hours per day . . . there wasn’t one of us who didn’t realize how privileged we really are in comparison to the challenging times these young ones and their parents face each day.”
The numbers in the graphic below are from the National Kidney Foundation Advocacy, which is based in the United States. They provide an idea of just how many people are impacted by kidney disease.
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
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
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.
Do good, feel good! Register to be an organ donor and get that warm fuzzy feeling. 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives. Taketwominutes.ca #TakeTwoMinutes