More hepatitis C-infected kidneys being transplanted. . . . Disease able to be treated following surgery. . . . Kidney Walk set for Kamloops on Sept. 22

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A study published Thursday in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reports that American transplant centres are using three times more hepatitis C-infected kidneys for transplant rather than dispose of them.

There has long been a fear that a transplant receiving a kidney with hepatitis C would become ill. According to this report, medical advancements in treating hepatitis C mean that those recipients won’t become ill.

Jen Christensen of CNN writes:

“Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to serious damage. Prior to 2018, most of the infected organs went to patients who already had hepatitis C. Since 2018, most of these infected kidneys, about 75 per cent, went to patients who did not have the virus.

“Patients who received infected kidneys had nearly the same function as those who received uninfected kidneys, the study said.”

Dr. Vishnu Potluri, the study’s lead author and a nephrology fellow at the U of Pennsylvania, told Christensen:

“The key thing about hepatitis C is that millions of Americans have this infection and most don’t know that they have it, it’s mild and takes many years for it to progress.”

Christensen continued: “Until a few years ago, there weren’t really good options to treat hepatitis C. Now, there are drugs with high cure rates, Potluri said. The transplant community realized that you could transplant a kidney from someone with hepatitis C and start treating them right away, Potluri said, and the early trials found the infection could be cured after the transplant.”

Hopefully, this study will signal a change for the system in the U.S., where nearly 40 per cent of hepatitis C-infected kidneys donated between January 2018 and March 2019 were discarded.

Christensen’s story is right here.





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Don’t forget that Kamloops’ 2019 Kidney Walk is set for Sunday, Sept. 22, at McDonald Park. You are able to register starting at 10 a.m., with the walk to begin at 11.

The Brock Central Lions Club will be on hand to provide breakfast — pancakes, sausages and coffee — by donation.

A few numbers for you: Kidney Walkers in B.C. and Yukon have walked 26 million kilometres over the past 12 years. That is more than 67 return trips to the moon. . . . They have raised more than $2.5 million in support of kidney patients. . . . The Kidney Walk helps the Kidney Foundation raise awareness about kidney disease and raises funds for important programs and services to help kidney patients in this community and others across BC and the Yukon. . . .

As of mid-August, in the region served by Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, there were 1,378 patients with chronic kidney disease being monitored by nephrologists. Of those, 140 had undergone transplants, and 114 were on dialysis. . . . As of Aug. 27, there were 68 people in our area on the pre-transplant list. . . . In 2018, there were 339 kidney transplants performed in B.C., a one-year record.

My wife, Dorothy, will be celebrating the sixth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in her sixth straight Kidney Walk. In her six walks, she has raised more than $15,000. If you would like to support her, you may do so right here.

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Kidney donor: If you want to have a good community, you have to give to that community

So . . . how was your day?

As good as it might have been, there isn’t any way it was as great as was mine.

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about it.

I was present at an event on Wednesday morning at which a woman said: “If you want to have a good community, you have to give to that community.”

She was three weeks from having donated a kidney to a stranger.

——

The Kamloops Kidney Support Group gathers on the second Wednesday and second Saturday of each month. We are there to provide support and share experiences with others who are or have been impacted by kidney disease.

On Wednesday, we were 15 people strong. One attendee has been doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) for a few months as he awaits a transplant. Another is preparing to start PD dialysis as he, too, waits for a transplant. There were others on hand who are dealing with kidney disease in one stage or another, one of whom does hemo-dialysis three times a week. There also were two people there, including my wife, Dorothy, who have had transplants.

Understand that these gatherings are completely informal. We meet in the Barside Lounge and Grill inside Chances Casino, have coffee, maybe some breakfast, and talk about our kidney-related experiences.

This time, as we were getting comfortable, a stranger strolled to our table and pulled up a chair. As we do in these instances, we went around the table, introducing ourselves and telling our stories.

When it got to the new person, I am sure the others were like me, expecting to hear from someone who recently had been diagnosed with kidney disease.

Instead, she started with: “I donated a kidney . . . three weeks ago today.” Her voice touched by emotion, she proceeded to tell us that she had given a kidney to a complete stranger.

After making the decision to be a living donor, she had begun the process by sitting down at her computer and Googling “BC Transplant living donor.” That led to her giving a kidney to a stranger — he isn’t a stranger any more — at Vancouver General Hospital.

“He’s a single father of two,” she said, “and I’m touched by that.”

One of the attendees asked: “How are you doing?”

“I’m doing well,” she replied. “A little discomfort . . . but I had a knee replaced last year and this was a breeze compared to that.”

When asked why she had decided to be a living donor, she responded: “I feel like I’m the luckiest person . . . it wasn’t a religion thing or anything.

“If you want to have a good community, you have to give to that community.”

Think about that for a moment or two.

And now she wants to be an advocate for organ donation and transplantation.

She wants to have a good community, so she will give to that community.

Yes, there are good people among us. Sometimes you don’t even have to go looking for them; they come to you.

It was a great day, indeed.




Scattershooting on a Tuesday evening while wondering what happened to summer . . .

Scattershooting


A note from old friend Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon: “High school football is a very big deal in the State of Texas. The Prosper, Texas, school district is about 40 miles north of Dallas. Prosper HS sold the naming rights for its new football stadium to Children’s Health — a pediatric health care provider in Dallas. The deal runs for 10 years and the school district will collect $250K per year, making the total value here $2.5M. Children’s Health also will provide medical personnel on the sidelines for the games. The Prosper HS district built the stadium for a total cost of $53M; the stadium has a capacity of 12,000 seats.”


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After my note here the other day about the Victoria HarbourCats leading baseball’s West Coast League in attendance, a reader sent along a note pointing out that the Okotoks Dawgs of the Western Major Baseball League drew “102,368 fans to 26 games for an average of 3,937.” . . . That’s impressive and it’s worth noting that Okotoks, which is 18 km south of Calgary, had a population of 29,002 according to the 2018 census.


Headline at Fark.com: Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire says he understands if he’s Gardenfired.


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I have never been able to understand why the CFL game that had the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Regina to play the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday is referred to as the Labour Day Classic when it no longer is played on Labour Day. Just sayin’ . . .


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I took this photo near our home east of Kamloops. A note to the land owner: Its not correct and I hope your not paying for it.


An item from a recent post by Patti Dawn Swansson, the River City Renegade:

“Speaking of indifference, can anyone at Sportsnet explain why they basically ignore the CFL? I realize that Rouge Football is a TSN property, but sports news is sports news is sports news. Call up the CFL on the Sportsnet website and you’ll find three videos: One from July, one from February and one from December 2018. That’s disgraceful.”

She has a point, and the complete post is right here.



Flipped on the TV on Tuesday morning and found the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox playing on five Sportsnet channels. Didn’t recall seeing a day game on the schedule when I checked the previous night. Turned out it was Monday night’s game being replayed. On five channels. Seriously! Is this what happens when the seasons for darts and poker have ended?



Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times reports that “former NHL forward Darren McCarty says marijuana ‘saved his life.’ Which probably just clinched him the first Lady Bong Trophy.”



A report released in B.C. the other day pointed out that we’re being gouged to the tune of 13 cents a litre when we gas up. In Burnaby, gas stations will drop the price in the evening, then raise it the following day. I filled up on Saturday evening for $1.36.9; by Sunday morning, the price was $1.54.9. . . . Now I’m wondering if the 13-cent gouge is based on evening or day-time prices?


Outfielder Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers had his season come to an end on Tuesday, thanks to a fractured right kneecap. He was injured when he fouled a ball of the knee. . . . With the playoffs less than a month away and the Brewers charging hard for a wild-card spot, that’s crushing news for the Brewers and awful news for any baseball fan. . . . Jayson Stark of The Athletic pointed out that Yelich, in the past calendar year, had 91 extra-base hits, 52 of them home runs, with 120 RBI and 121 runs, to go with a slash line of .338/.445/.700/1.145. Amazing!


 

Five organs donated after death of SeaWolves’ catcher. . . . Numata saluted with honour walk as family says goodbye

Chace Numata, a 27-year-old catcher with the Double-A Erie SeaWolves, was said by teammates to be the club’s “heart and soul.”

Numata, a native of Pearl City, Hawaii, died in an Erie, Penn., hospital on Sept. 2 after having been involved in a skateboarding accident two days earlier.

“He’s a giver,” Erie outfielder Cam Gibson told the Detroit Free Press on Sept. 1. Gibson and Numata shared an apartment. “He’ll never ask for anything, but he’ll give. Even the small stuff. Me and him will go to Taco Bell at midnight and he forces himself in to pay for it. It’s little stuff like that. He refuses to take from people.

“He’s always dancing, always joking and making light of everything. He’s a bright light in everybody’s life. I can’t tell you the times he’s had heart-to-heart talks with me this year talking to me about what my future holds. Regardless if I’m doing well or doing bad, he’s always there. Numi is the heart and soul of this team. He has more heart and more soul than anybody in this entire organization.”

According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (UPMC), Numata’s heart, liver, pancreas and both kidneys were involved in transplants. On Tuesday, CORE (Center for Organ Recovery and Education) and UPMC shared a video in which Numata was the subject of an honour walk.

According to a report from fox2detroit.com, “UPMC says he was taken from his hospital room down the corridor to the operating room. With his favorite song, KC & The Sunshine Band’s ‘Give it Up’, playing in the background, members of his family along with Erie SeaWolves president Greg Coleman pushed him through the hospital.

“At the end of his walk, his parents kissed him goodbye one last time.”

Tony Paul of the Detroit News has more on this story right here.

If you have never seen an honour walk, the video of the one honouring Numata is in the tweet below. Yes, it’s emotional.






Cree rapper opens up about kidney situation. . . . Victoria preschool owner donating to stranger

Karmen Omeasoo is known in the music world as Hellnback. He is a Cree rapper who made quite a name for himself as an Indigenous performer. When he was 19, he learned that he had Type 2 diabetes; now he’s nearing 40 and about to go on dialsyis. . . . “My kidney function right now is at seven per cent,” he told Lenard Monkman of CBC News. “Seven per cent out of 100.” . . . Omeasoo is referring to his GFR (glomerular filtration rate). As a point of reference, my wife’s GFR was 11 when she began dialysis; six years after transplant, it’s in the mid-60s. . . . Monkman’s piece on Omeasoo is right here, and it is terrific. It is worth reading as Omeasoo details the symptoms and what he has been through to this point.


Three cheers to Kim Thorsen, the owner of Ross Bay Preschool in Victoria. She is preparing to donate a kidney, and she knows that it will go to a complete stranger. According to a story by CHEK-TV in Victoria: “Altruistic donors are incredibly rare. Of the 335 kidney transplants in B.C. last year, 100 were from living donors. But only four of those donations went to total strangers.” . . . More from this story: “As a living donor, Thorsen would go to the top of the transplant list in the rare event she needed a transplant. And even though she had no doubts before, Kim recently learned her kidney will most likely go to a child.” . . . “I’d be okay helping anyone,” Thorsen said, “but knowing it might help a child is amazing.” . . .

If you are contemplating being a kidney donor, it is important for you to understand that should you have issues with your remaining kidney at any time post-surgery, you would go to the top of the list. That is something is stressed in the preparatory period leading up to surgery.

CHEK-TV’s full story is right here.



Dorothy Drinnan had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Now she is preparing to take part in her sixth straight Kidney Walk. We will walk in Kamloops on Sept. 22 at McDonald Park, with registration at 10 a.m., and the walk at 11. . . . If you would like to be part of Dorothy’s team by supporting her with a donation, you are able to do so right here. She has been Kamloops’ No. 1 individual fundraiser each of the past five years.


Kidney disease hasn’t slowed own our girl Maggie. . . . Take a moment for PKD Awareness Day

Allow me to introduce you to our good friend Margaret (Maggie) Thompson.

She and my wife, Dorothy, have forged quite a friendship, one that began because they have something in common — both have had kidney transplants.

Dorothy had one six years ago; Maggie underwent one more than eight years ago.

A few years ago, they got together, along with Edna Humphreys, and started the Kamloops Kidney Support Group in an attempt to help others who are dealing, directly or indirectly, with kidney disease. To say the KKSG has been a success would be something of an understatement.

Dorothy and Maggie both did peritoneal dialysis before being cleared for transplant, and both are representative of how having kidney disease doesn’t have to slow one down.

Having said that, though, Maggie is in a league of her own.

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Maggie Thompson, with the Blue Bomb before parting with it last week. (Facebook photo)

In brief, here is a definition of peritoneal dialysis from kidneyfund.org: “Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment that uses the lining of your abdomen (belly area), called your peritoneum, and a cleaning solution called dialysate to clean your blood. Dialysate absorbs waste and fluid from your blood, using your peritoneum as a filter.”

A catheter is surgically implanted into our peritoneum that will allow you to do fluid exchanges. You learn how to do PD manually four times a day before being given a cycler that allows you to do it while sleeping at night. And the only way it limits your ability to travel is if you allow it to, something Maggie wouldn’t do.

A Harley-Davidson rider and owner, Maggie took a lengthy trip with friends into the U.S. a few years back. She drew up a travel schedule and arranged with Baxter, the company that provides PD supplies, to make fluid drops at various stops. Friends constructed a trailer that she towed behind her Harley; it contained other needed supplies.

As the friends travelled, then, they would stop to allow Maggie to do her exchanges.

Since having her transplant in July of 2011, Maggie hasn’t slowed down at all. She moved to Edmonton early in 2018, but makes regular visits to Kamloops, where she had lived for 30 years. Earlier this summer, she took two grandsons to the Calgary Stampede — yes, she also has a car — and then on a tour around Vancouver Island that included a stop in Tofino.

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Maggie Thompson, with her new ride, Sassy Sapphire. (Facebook photo)

Late last week, Maggie rode her Harley — she called it the Blue Bomb — to Kamloops, where she visited the local dealership and traded it in on a Freewheeler Trike that she has dubbed Sassy Sapphire.

After a few days with us, Maggie climbed aboard Sassy Sapphire on Tuesday morning and headed home to Edmonton. She arrived early last evening having been on the road for almost 12 hours.

No, kidney disease hasn’t slowed down Maggie Thompson in the least.


It is National Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Awareness Day in various parts of the world today (Wednesday, Sept. 4).

According to a news release:

“Since 2014, Health Canada has recognized September 4 as National Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Awareness Day – a special day devoted to raising awareness of this life-threatening, genetic disease.

“Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a chronic, genetic disease causing uncontrolled growth of fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys, often leading to kidney failure. With 66,000 Canadians and millions worldwide living with PKD today, chances are high that you know someone with the disease.

“The more who know about PKD, the more resources we can dedicate to finding treatments and a cure. PKD Awareness Day is our opportunity to step up our efforts and gives us a platform to widely spread the word, share stories and encourage others to learn more. On PKD Awareness Day, let’s come together as a united front to spread the word about this disease further than we ever have before!

“Since its creation in 1993, the PKD Foundation of Canada has raised more than $1 million towards research, support and help for families living with PKD. From the first research grant awarded in 1999, the PKD Foundation of Canada has set up chapters and support groups across the country, built an expansive and passionate volunteer network, and connected with PKD groups around the world to support our most notable fundraising event – the Walk to END PKD.

“Today, the PKD Foundation of Canada is the only national organization solely dedicated to fighting PKD through research, education, advocacy, support and awareness.”

In Kamloops, locals involved in the PKD Foundation will appear before City Council on Sept. 10 in an attempt to spread awareness.


Here in Kamloops, preparations are well underway for the annual Kidney Walk, which is scheduled for Sept. 22 at McDonald Park. . . . If you would like to take part, we register at 10 a.m., with the walk to follow at 11. Some of us will walk a couple of kilometres, but there isn’t a defined distance. In fact, you don’t need to walk at all. Just come and join us for the breakfast — pancakes, bacon and coffee, by donation — with the Brock Central Lions Club doing the cooking. . . .

My wife, Dorothy, will be celebrating the sixth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in her sixth straight Kidney Walk. In her six walks, she has raised more than $15,000. If you would like to support her, you may do so right here.




Report: There are 3,500 donated kidneys discarded every month in U.S. . . . Survey published in JAMA shows system is badly broken

A reader sent me a link that led me to a story on USA TODAY’s website. I had to read the story a couple of times because I found it so shocking.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

“The United States discards about 3,500 donated kidneys a year, many of which could be used to save lives, new research shows.

“The study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, focused on the rate at which donated kidneys were used in the U.S. and France between 2004 and 2014. In that time, the U.S. discarded about 17.9% of the kidneys it recovered, while France discarded about 9.1% of the kidneys it recovered. In all, the U.S. threw away almost 28,000 donated kidneys in that 10-year period.”

Let that sink in for a few minutes. People are dying because they need kidneys and yet donated kidneys are being trashed.

The study was published in JAMA — The Journal of the American Medical Association.

During the time under study, the U.S. recovered 156,089 kidneys from deceased donors and discarded 27,987 (17.9 per cent) of them. In France, 29,984 kidneys were recovered, with 2,732 (9.1 per cent) of them discarded.

According to figures supplied by the National Kidney Foundation, there are almost 100,000 Americans in need of kidney transplants. While 12 people on the waiting list die each day, about 10 kidneys are trashed each day.

Adrianna Rodriguez of USA TODAY wrote:

“The study showed that kidneys discarded in the U.S. were on average about 36 years old, whereas kidneys discarded in France were on average about 50 years old. That means  France had a higher kidney acceptance rate from older donors.

“The study found that the U.S. is more likely than France to throw away kidneys when the donor had hypertension, diabetes, had a heart attack or tested positive for Hepatitis C.”

That story also included this quote from Sumit Mohan, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia U in New York City: “They should definitely be used and are definitely viable. Using kidneys from diabetic donors do remarkably well.”

Rodriguez points out that “the mortality rate for patients who go on dialysis is about 20 per cent annually, which works out to be a five-year survival rate.”

Mohan told Rodriguez: “It’s comparable to some of the worst cancers we see.”

Keep in mind that while some cancers are curable, there isn’t a cure for kidney disease. No, there isn’t.

Mohan added: “People aren’t asking ‘What’s the quality of my kidney?’ The question that everybody asks is, ‘When am I getting my kidney?’ ”

In short, the system in the U.S. is broken. The good news it that there is a move afoot to overhaul the country’s organ transplant regulations. The bad news is that we all know that won’t happen this week or next.

The USA TODAY story is right here and it really is worth a read.

The complete JAMA Internal Medicine study is right here, and it is absolutely devastating if you are an American and at all impacted by kidney disease.

Another reader sent me a link to an editorial in the New York Daily News. The editorial board there writes: “Beggars know they can’t be choosers. Even an imperfect kidney is better than life, and ultimately death, on dialysis. Fix the rules so more Americans can receive the gift of life.” . . . The complete editorial is right here.

All of this hits really close to home. My wife, Dorothy, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Had we been living in the U.S., the kidney she received likely would have been rejected because it may have failed one of the afore-mentioned qualifiers.

At that point, she had been doing peritoneal dialysis for almost four years.


If you are in the area of Granville Island in Vancouver early in September, you may want to check out this play — Waiting Time — that will be part of the Fringe Theatre Festival.