Major breakthrough involving anti-rejection meds . . . Kidney foundation calls for third dose for immuno-compromised

A Vancouver Sun headline jumped off my laptop screen and hit me square between the eyes the other day. It read: B.C. researchers discover way to reduce organ rejection following a transplant. . . . It carried this subhead: “Finding has the potential to eliminate need for drugs on which transplant recipients rely to prevent their immune systems from attacking a new organ as a foreign object.” . . . Gordon McIntyre of Postmedia wrote that UBC’s team “found that by using a special polymer to coat blood vessels on the organ to be transplanted, organ rejection in mice was substantially reduced, results confirmed by collaborators at Simon Fraser and Northwestern University in Illinois.” . . . Oh boy, this will be big, big in the transplant community if things continue to pan out. My wife, Dorothy, had a kidney transplant almost eight years ago. She takes anti-rejection drugs twice a day — 12 hours apart — every day. . . . It could be years before the process has gone far enough for clinical trials in humans, but, at least so far, the work involving mice really is looking promising. . . . The complete story is right here.


Dentist
If you are awaiting a kidney transplant, it doesn’t matter your age — there are all kinds of medical visits in your immediate future. That’s how Ferris Backmeyer, 4, of Kamloops found herself in a dentist’s chair on Thursday afternoon. Hey, is Ferris the picture of cool, or what? BTW, all went well. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)


Ferrisposter



Heron
Which one doesn’t belong? There was a stranger among a flock of geese in a hay field along Shuswap Road east of Kamloops on Thursday afternoon. The field is on the north shore of the South Thompson River where herons often spend time fishing.



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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

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

Holick to replace Clouston with Blazers . . . Winterhawks add goaltender in swap . . . Want to go to Jets’ game? Get vaccinated

The Kamloops Blazers will introduce Mark Holick as their new Kamloopsassociate coach today (Thursday). . . . Holick, who has a long history in the WHL, replaces Cory Clouston, who has left the organization after two seasons citing “personal reasons.” Clouston had been working alongside his brother, Shaun, the Blazers’ head coach who now is also the general manager. . . . Holick, 52, played in the WHL for parts of four seasons (1984-88) with the Saskatoon Blades and New Westminster Bruins. . . . He coached junior A, in the BCHL and AJHL, from 1994-07 before spending three seasons (2007-10) as the head coach of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. He later was the head coach of the Prince George Cougars for three-plus seasons (2012-16). . . . For the past three seasons, he has been the head coach of the U-18 prep team at Yale Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . Cory Clouston, meanwhile, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week that he is leaving in order to spend more time with his daughter. “It’s not an easy decision,” Clouston told Hastings, “but it was an easy decision. To leave an organization that’s done a lot of good work in the last few years and has a great future wasn’t easy. But, in saying that, for me to focus on my daughter is a very easy decision.”


It’s 2021 and hockey is still finding itself in situations such as this one! This is nothing short of shameful and oh, so embarrassing.


The Portland Winterhawks have acquired G Mason Dunsford, 18, from the Tri-PortlandCity Americans for a conditional fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. The Americans selected him in the sixth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From New Westminster, B.C., he got into 23 games over two seasons with Tri-City, going 3-14-0, 6.28, .844. . . . The Americans finished the 2020-21 development season with Dunsford, Talyn Boyko and Donovan Buskey as the goaltenders on their roster. Boyko turns 19 on Oct. 16 and is the likely starter. Buskey has aged out. . . . The Winterhawks finished that season with two goaltenders on their roster — 2001-born Brock Gould and Dante Giannuzzi, the presumed starter, who will be 19 on Sept. 3.


Oven


The NHL’s Winnipeg Jets have followed the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers in nhl2announcing that only folks who are fully vaccinated will be allowed into home games. . . . The Jets’ home arena, the Canada Life Centre, “will be selling to full capacity,” the team’s statement read, “and we will require all employees, event staff and guests to provide proof of full vaccination. The majority of our season seat holders have shared with us that having a proof of COVID-10 vaccination policy for Canada Life Centre and Burton Cummings Theatre is important to them.” . . . Fans also will have to wear facemasks while in the arena while not eating or drinking. . . .

Nanos Research completed a poll for The Globe and Mail earlier this month, asking: Would you support, somewhat oppose or oppose unvaccinated people being denied access to public gatherings like sporting events of indoor dining in restaurants? The newspaper’s John Ibbiston reported that “78 per cent of respondents said they would support (59 per cent) or somewhat support (19 per cent) such a ban. Only 15 per cent opposed a ban, and five per cent were somewhat opposed. Two per cent were unsure.”


——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Bean

Junior hockey coach gets kidney through paired program . . . How many antibodies? Lori Noyes is helping find out

Andrew Verner is a former junior and professional goaltender, who now is the associate coach with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. . . . He was playing in Germany for the Cologne Sharks in 1999 when he was discovered to have glomerulonephritis. By March 2020, he was doing peritoneal dialysis three times a day. . . . One year later, on March 9, 2021, Verner received a kidney through the Paired Kidney Donation Program, with his wife, Allison, donating a kidney to someone else three days later. . . . “There was no question,” she told Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner. “He’s my husband and that’s what you do. I did it for him, for us, for our family.” . . . And it turns out that Allison may not be through. As Andrew told Davies: “Deep down you know you’d do the same. You wish she didn’t have to. Now she’s talking about donating other stuff. Once you’re in Toronto and you look around at all these people getting new lungs, new livers — now she’s thinking about that.” . . . The complete story — and it’s a wonderful one — is right here.


Ferrisposter


If you have had a kidney transplant, you will be immunocompromised and likely are well aware that even if you have had two COVID-19 vaccinations your system may not have produced a whole lot of antibodies. . . . Lori Noyes is in that exact situation and, in fact, is taking part in a trial run involving a third vaccination. . . . This first-person report is as good as anything I’ve read involving antibodies, and it’s right here.


ZachTremblay

Zach Tremblay of Robson, B.C., is 17 and has graduated from high school now, but the message is the same — he needs a kidney. Can you help?



Vic1

Vic Morin of Kamloops has had two women offer to become kidney donors and both are involved in the testing process. But when it comes to this situation you can’t ever have too many potential donors. Are you able to help?



Mike






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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

Could you give Zach Tremblay a kidney as graduation present? . . . An emotional mother updates son’s situation . . .

If you are a regular in these parts, you will be familiar with the Backmeyer family of Kamloops and their four-year-old daughter, Ferris, who is in need of a kidney transplant. Her mother, Lindsey, often shares the trials and tribulations of living with a youngster and the challenges presented by a variety of things, including kidney disease.

But what if your child is a teenager trying to make his way through high school? What if your son has to travel to another community three or four times a week for hemodialysis treatments? How do you deal with the fact that your son had one kidney transplant that didn’t work out?

For starters, you hope and pray that he gets another chance.

Zach1
Zach Tremblay, high school graduate.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Tremblay family of Robson, B.C., is going through as their son and brother, Zach, continues his fight with kidney disease.

His mother, Jana, took to Facebook the other day to provide an update on her boy, who graduated from high school last month. And if you don’t think that’s an accomplishment — getting through high school while dealing with kidney disease, a failed transplant and hemodialysis — you need to back up and think again.

Besides the pandemic, this year didn’t get off to a roaring start for Zach when a clot developed in the fistula that had been implanted in one of his arms to help with the dialysis process.

That, Jana explained, “was extremely painful both physically and emotionally for him. It could not be saved and it was a huge blow for us all, but mostly him.

Zach2“It set us all back emotionally, and we decided to just take a step back from it all. Zach then made the decision to stick with his chest catheter and won’t agree to any more surgeries, unless it’s a kidney.”

Those days in the first two or three months of 2021 were wearing.

“He struggled hard with this news and decision and, as a parent, aside from the failed (fistula), it was the hardest thing to watch him go through . . . heartbreaking to say the least,” Jana wrote.

Dealing with kidney disease oftentimes is like riding a rollercoaster. Up . . . down . . . up . . . down. And it’s never easy, especially when you are wanting so badly for there to be a transplant in the near future. And when you’re the mother of a teenager for whom you badly want a kidney, knowing that it would bring him some kind of a ‘normal’ life, well . . . you also watch as your child has to deal with the extra-curricular stuff as well.

“We did our best to push forward and stay positive, but honestly it gets harder and harder,” Jana wrote. “The setbacks are harder to accept, because we feel like he just deserves a break. It’s very hard as an adult to push through and stay positive, but it’s even harder for a kid who faces all of this kidney stuff, plus the social teenage bullshit, and, yes, it’s ABSOLUTE, ignorant bullshit that gets tossed his way as well.”

Zach3Going into March, Zach had always dealt with a medical team at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. That all changed with a meeting that month during which they learned that his file was being transferred to “the adult world” at Vancouver General Hospital.

“We were gutted,” Jana wrote, “and I cried and cried . . . 18 years of tears, pain, let downs . . . it all literally poured from my body, and his as well, I’m sure.”

Of course, this transfer meant leaving one comfort zone and moving into an unfamiliar spot and having to start over with new medical people, something that never is easy.

As Jana wrote: “Leaving our team at BCCH is terrifying . . . 18 years of care and trust and faith, and we are leaving empty-handed. It does not feel good.”

But the clouds parted in June, at least for a short time, as Zach graduated from high school in Castlegar.

“Despite many hospital stays over the years, he did it!” Jana wrote. “It was different, of course, with COVID protocols, but our guy made it, and we could not be more proud of him!”

So what’s next for the Tremblays?

Well, Zach and Jana will spend some time in Vancouver next month meeting with the transplant team at VGH “and hopefully push forward towards a transplant for our guy.”

The first half of 2021 wasn’t easy, but, as Jana put it, “we made it, we are here, and so is he.”

And they are determined to focus on the positives and wait to see what “the fresh eyes of a new team will bring” to Zach’s situation.

“We will continue to share his story in hopes of finding a match,” Jana wrote, “and we will continue to advocate for others who are waiting.”

BTW, the Tremblay family all has been “double vaxxed and are super thankful for it!” That’s important for those with kidney disease and compromised immune systems. If you haven’t been vaccinated, please get it done, if not for yourself, for the thousands of people who walk among us with compromised immune systems.







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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.

——

Time is everything. This is why we promise registering as an organ donor should only #TakeTwoMinutes. That’s faster than microwave popcorn! #Register2Give

Backmeyers need living donor for Ferris . . . Zach graduates, still looking for kidney . . . John’s new kidney looks to be a hit


The Backmeyer family of Kamloops is about to begin a search for a living kidney donor for their daughter, Ferris, 4.

You will recall that Ferris underwent a transplant in Vancouver on March 6, but there were complications and the kidney was removed mere hours after it had been put in place.

FerrisLind
Ferris and Lindsey Backmeyer: The search for a living donor is about to begin. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

After meeting with the medical team in Vancouver earlier this month, Ferris’s mother, Lindsey, wrote on Facebook that “there were a lot of factors that likely played a part in the failed transplant. The big one is that the kidney had two arteries — one that was apparently hidden and not identified when retrieved. . . . One of the requirements the surgeons had along with it needing to be small was that it be a single-artery, single-vein organ.”

One thing led to another, and clotting led to other issues creating “back pressure and bleeding.” Thus, the transplanted kidney had to be removed.

All of that, though, is in the past.

“For now,” Lindsey said, “the plan is to try and find her a living donor kidney.”

At the meeting in Vancouver, various options were discussed and Lindsey said the plan now is to “have her ready to be transplanted again by September.” That would be six months after the previous attempt.

Going into the Vancouver meeting, Lindsey didn’t think that a living donor would be an option. However, the medical team “expressed a strong desire for a living donor for Ferris . . . there are way too many benefits for a live-donation transplant.”

And so the search for a donor is about to begin.

“They will be incredibly selective in who they will test, but live-donor testing will resume right away!” Lindsey wrote.

Having been down this road with my wife, Dorothy, I can tell you that it isn’t easy asking someone for a kidney. It’s not like asking for a $20 loan, I can tell you that. And that is what the Backmeyers are going through.

As Lindsey put it, “I really don’t like canvassing for a kidney. It feels so weird to me, but her life depends on this . . . so be ready for all the Ferris poster spam!!”

Bring it on, Lindsey, bring it on!


Zach
Zach Tremblay and his date, long-time friend Taylor Martens, got ready to graduate from Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar last Friday. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

Meanwhile, Zach Tremblay, a young man who has been mentioned in this space on a few previous occasions, is just off a big weekend. Zach, who lives in Robson, B.C., has graduated from high school.

That is quite an accomplishment, when you consider that he has been making three trips a week down the highway to Trail where he undergoes hemodialysis for about four hours at a time.

Yes, Zach is waiting and hoping for a kidney transplant. Graduating from high school doesn’t put an end to any of that. He will continue to make the trek to Trail, and he still needs a kidney.

If you’re able to help, the contact info is further down on this post.


John
Marlene and John Casey, swinging in the pre-transplant days. (Photo: Kathryn Van Kommer/Facebook)

That brings us to John Casey, a happy part of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group.

He was released from St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sunday after having undergone a kidney transplant on May 31, three days after he and his wife, Marlene, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

“I’m finally out of the hospital and the new kidney seems to be doing well,” he wrote on Facebook. “We will have a long period of recovery and I hope to continue to gain strength. We will be forever grateful to our medical system for pulling me through all this and the amazing personal care I got in the hospital.”

John had been doing peritoneal dialysis — hooking up to a cycler every night at home and letting it run its course while he slept — for more than two years prior to the transplant.

As things turned out, John encountered some cardiac-related issues while his medical team was doing the kidney transplant. This meant that he spent time in the cardiac ward before being transferred to the renal ward.

Things have since stabilized and John now has started his trip along the road to recovery. We eagerly look forward to having him and Marlene back with us in Kamloops.


The Kamloops Kidney Support Group also is feeling sadness after the death of Norm Naylor on Sunday morning at the Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice Home in Kamloops. . . . Norm had kidney issues, but also was fighting cancer, and it was the cancer that finally took him after a long, hard battle. . . . Whenever the pandemic recedes and allows the KKSG to resume its monthly gatherings, Norm’s smile and dry sense of humour really will be missed. . . . Condolences to his dear wife, Evelyn, and their family.








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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

Friends working to help Ferris and her family; Zyia party on now, silent auction in works . . . Join Boulets in conversation on April 6

Ferris Backmeyer and her family remain in Vancouver, where they have been since late December.

Ferris, 4, underwent a kidney transplant on March 6, but it failed and the new kidney was removed shortly after having been implanted.

Ferris
Ferris Backmeyer, 4, continues to recover from a failed kidney transplant at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

Ferris and her mother, Lindsey, along with older sisters Ksenia and Tavia have been living in Vancouver. Pat, the husband and father, has been spending time in Vancouver and in their home in Kamloops where he also is going to school.

Needless to say the expenses are mounting. At the same time, the wheels are in motion to provide the Backmeyers with some financial help.

There is a GoFundMe page right here if you would like to make a donation.

As well, Desiree Janzen has started a Zyia party to benefit Ferris and her family.

Wanting to help, Janzen, a family friend, wrote on Facebook that “the best that I could come up with is hosting a Party in Ferris’s honour. 100% of my commissions made from this party will go back to the Backmeyer family to help aid them with travel and living costs while at Children’s Hospital.

“The rewards earned for the Party will go directly to them as well to hopefully give some light during this difficult time. My hope is to gain enough sales through this event that would make it a top level party that would allow me to give back the maximum amount to the family and earn the maximum amount of rewards for them as well. And this month, I’ve hit my bonus to receive an extra 8% commission, so that would be 28% commission on the party total going right back to the family.”

It’s party time until April 3, and the link to the party page is right here.

On top of that, Elizabeth Maki, another family friend, has gotten together with some folks and is working on a silent auction to run April 23-25 to benefit the Backmeyers.

“As many of you know,” Maki wrote, “our friend and colleague Lindsey Backmeyer is living out any parent’s worst nightmare. She is having to stay in Vancouver with no income, homeschooling her kids in a rental, to stay close to BC Children’s Hospital where her youngest is frequently admitted while they wait for a kidney transplant. Some friends are putting together a silent auction for her and are asking if anyone is able to donate anything to the cause . . . it would be unimaginably appreciated.”

“Please consider supporting our event by donating gift certificates, merchandise or services,” reads a brochure explaining the event. “In exchange, you will receive some excellent community exposure and advertising. Your company will be recognized and listed in the auction.

“If you are unable to donate, please consider helping to spread the word about our silent auction with your neighbours and networks. We will gladly pick up your donation, have it remain at your location for the winner to pick up, or it can be mailed to one of the addresses listed below. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.”

For more information or to donate, feel free to contact Kelsi Manson (125 Cavesson Way, Tobiano BC, V1S 0B3, hapitreasuresco@gmail.com, 250-574-9505) or Taunya Romano (1667 Hillcrest Ave., Kamloops BC, V2B 7P8, taunyam@live.ca, 250-571-8832).


Feel free to add Mary McVeetors to your list of heroes and heroines. Why? Because she has donated a kidney to a stranger last week in Edmonton. . . . “I’ve been so lucky with my health and with the hand that I’ve been dealt in my life,” she told CBC Radio, “and I think that so many people are so unlucky when it comes to that, and it’s not their fault. I just thought I could be a small part of the solution in the grander scale, but a massive part of the solution for one person.” . . . Her story is right here.







——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Time is everything. This is why we promise registering as an organ donor should only #TakeTwoMinutes. That’s faster than microwave popcorn! #Register2Give

Great kidney month story as NHLer’s mother becomes live donor . . . Staying positive while waiting for THE call . . . What is GFR?

If you’re a hockey fan, you likely will have heard of Ryan O’Reilly, the captain of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues. But chances are that you haven’t heard of his mother, Bonnie. . . . So, here you go. . . . When Ryan and his younger brother, Cal, who is with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, were a whole lot younger, they lived in Seaforth, Ont., which is near Goderich — hey, I played there in the Young Canada Week tournament back in the day. . . . A gentleman named Graham Nesbitt managed the arena in Seaforth and he made sure the boys had lots of ice time. . . . On March 3 — yes, early in Kidney Month — Nesbitt, 65, underwent kidney transplant surgery. His new kidney came from Bonnie O’Reilly. . . . This really is a neat story as told by Andrew Lupton of CBC News, and it’s all right here.









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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

It was big year for BC Transplant . . . One year after getting kidney, Gillis advocates for dialysis patients . . . Lots of numbers on organ donation

Yes, 2020 was a big year for organ transplants in B.C.

Figures compiled and released by BC Transplant show that there were a record 55 lung transplants. As well, 33 people, including three children, underwent heart transplants.

When it came to livers, a record set in 2017 was matched with 80 transplants — 78 singles and two in combination with kidneys.

When it came to kidneys, there were 280 transplants, with 81 of those involving living donors.

“The success of organ transplant is a transformative feat of expertise, coordination and caring through the province, in every health authority,” Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister, said in a statement.”A total of 451 people in BC received a life-saving transplant in 2020. Today, there are 5,491 British Columbians alive thanks to the incredible generosity of organ donors.”

From a BC Transplant news release: “In 2020, 110 people donated organs after death, with their families making a selfless decision in a moment of grief to gift life to others. 81 living donors donated a kidney in 2020.”

As a new year began, more than 1.5 million people had registered a decision with the province’s Organ Donor Registry. At the same time, there were 737 people awaiting organ transplants.

——

One of those who received a kidney from a living donor is Stephen Gillis of Vancouver. In fact, Thursday was the first anniversary of the transplant that also involved donor Michael Teigen. . . . On Thursday, Gillis and Teigen got together at a Vancouver track and ran five km to celebrate the good times. . . . These days, Gillis is asking the B.C. government to prioritize dialysis patients for vaccinations against COVID-19. Gillis points out that these people “are very, very vulnerable,” what with having compromised immune systems and having to visit hospitals three or four times a week to under dialysis. . . . There’s more on Gillis and Teigen right here. . . . I would suggest that the B.C. government also should be prioritizing transplant patients such as Gillis. These people all take anti-rejection drugs that suppress their immune systems so that the new organs won’t be rejected. It should be a matter of utmost importance that they, too, be among the earliest to be vaccinated.


In a story written for the National Post, Emma Jones details the story of Marit McKenzie of Calgary, who took an interest in organ donation and later got her mother to co-sign an organ donor card. In 2013, Marit died suddenly and heart was donated to Tanner Fitzpatrick, 12, of Newfoundland. . . . “Organ donation continues to be a difficult decision for Canadians,” Jones writes, “where 90 per cent of the population support organ donation, yet only 23 per cent register as donors, reports Canadian Blood Services. The low number of donors can translate into deadly consequences for the more than 4,500 people waiting for an organ donation — 260 of whom will die each year, according to The Organ Project, a not-for-profit founded by Eugene Melnyk, the owner and chairman of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club. That’s about five deaths each week, or one death every 30 hours.” . . . Of those waiting for an organ, 76 per cent need a kidney, with 10 per cent awaiting a liver, six per cent lungs and four per cent a heart. . . . According to The Organ Project, the average kidney patient will wait four years for a new organ. . . . “Marit’s heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys were successfully transplanted in four separate surgeries, according to the David Foster Foundation,” Jones writes. “Her donated corneas gave two more patients sight, while bone tissue and tendons were preserved for future reconstructive surgeries.” . . . More from Jones: “The work of researchers, doctors and volunteers, as well as the selfless acts of living and deceased donors, is making a difference. In 2019, more than 3,000 transplants were performed from 1,434 donors, an increase from approximately 2,500 transplants from 1,212 donors in 2015, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The waiting list also appears to be shrinking, down to 4,527 in 2019 from 4,712 in 2015.” . . . Her complete story is right here.






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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Time is everything. This is why we promise registering as an organ donor should only #TakeTwoMinutes. That’s faster than microwave popcorn! #Register2Give

Kidney disease doesn’t care that it’s Christmas . . . Want free hotdogs for life? Donate a kidney . . .

Sisters
The Backmeyer sisters — Ksenia (left), Ferris and Tavia. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

There are a couple of things that you should know about kidney disease.

For starters, there isn’t a cure. Dialysis, hemo or peritoneal, isn’t a cure. A transplant isn’t a cure.

Second, well, I’ll let Lindsey Backmeyer fill you in . . .

“Kidney disease does not give a crap that it’s Christmas time,” she wrote in a Facebook post this week.

Ferris, Lindsey and Pat’s soon-to-be four-year-old daughter, has been on dialysis, almost always peritoneal (PD), most of her young life. There have been issues of late, though, and a trip to B.C. Children’s Hospital is scheduled for early January.

In the meantime . . .

“Dialysis has been not great the past few nights and there’s this lingering feeling of ‘Oh crap! It’s Christmas . . . This is not at all how things are supposed to go.”

With Ferris having a tough go of it with PD, the spectre of an earlier than planned trip to BCCH hangs over the Backmeyers.

“We will know in the next couple of days whether we can relax or prepare to get to (BDDH) sooner than planned,” Lindsey wrote. “Things need to correct like they did in November.”

Through it all, Ferris forges on like the little trouper she is.

As Lindsey explained: “Thankfully she’s still her sassy little self. . . . Her tummy is a bit bigger, she’s not draining as well, not pulling fluid as well. She is scheduled for the hemodialysis line to be placed on Jan. 7.

“I so desperately want that time here with my family, unless of course a kidney was to come along! I want ski days and sledding and skating with my girls. However, I’m totally preparing myself for Plan B . . . or C . . .”

The Backmeyers don’t have any idea how long their Vancouver residency will last this time, and they continue to look for a rental large enough for five and with a price point that fits.

The BC Family Residency Program “will cover us to stay at the same suite we had this summer for the first month,” Lindsey explained. “After that it’s a bit outta our price range but I’m going to remain optimistic we could get transplanted . . . and be home in the spring!”

FerrisLook
Ferris Backmeyer, a girl with 1,000 expressions. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

While all of this is going on, Lindsey says the family has been marvelling at the reaction from the community.

“We’ve had like this outrageous amount of support from our family and friends,” she wrote, adding that it really is helping her through a tough time.

“I tell ya . . . it’s hitting me hard this year,” she wrote. “Things feel so completely beyond my control right now and it’s not the most comforting feeling. Plus it’s friggin Christmas-time and it’s supposed to be magical and relaxing but there’s so many people calling and sooo many emails.”

Always remember, too, that Ferris has two older sisters — Ksenia and Tavia. They are a big deal, too, and can’t be forgotten in all of this.

“The last day of school was clouded with huge feelings of missing out in the new year,” Lindsey wrote. “Tavia’s teacher was away the last couple days so she was upset about not being able to present a science project, she didn’t get to give her teacher her gift, her class is tubing at Harper (Mountain) in February . . . big things in her world.”

At the end of the day, though, the Backmeyers are feeling the love, especially at this special time of year.

“I really just want to thank everyone for all of the love. I feel it so deeply I really can’t put it into words” is how Lindsey put it. “I’ve had so many moments of pure exhaustion and feelings of failure the past few weeks and someone comes in to save our day. Like, seriously, this is happening every single day around here.

“The season feels magical to my kids and they are soooo excited for Christmas. So much of it has been because of random acts of kindness for them. It’s like so ridiculously heartwarming . . . particularly this year! There still is so much good in this world!!!”

Now if only the Backmeyers would get that kidney-is-ready phone call!


How would you like it if someone offered you free footlong hotdogs for life?

Would you donate a kidney in order to take advantage of such an offer?

Well . . . here’s the deal:

Skully White operates Lullys Food Experience out of a Canadian Tire parking lot in Abbotsford, B.C. On Dec. 14, he donated a kidney to Tim Hiscock, a regular customer.

The surgery took place at Vancouver General Hospital. White was discharged two days after surgery; Hiscock went home on Friday.

One day after surgery, the two visited in Hiscock’s hospital room.

White told Scott Brown of the Vancouver Sun: “He was weak but we chatted for a little bit and eventually I just said, ‘Okay, so apart from the pain that we’re both feeling from being cut open, and the grogginess and everything. How does not being on dialysis and having the kidney feel?’ And he looked at me with a smile . . . and he had tears coming down his face. It was the most amazing feeling in the world that I could do this for him.”

White has since posted on his Facebook page, stating that “Lullys is starting a campaign to find others willing to step forward and become live kidney donors.”

The post adds: “Skully from lulls became a live kidney donor and saved somebody’s life. You can too and you’ll also get FREE footlong hotdogs for life from lullys.

“Save a life and get free hotdogs, need I say more?”

Brown’s complete story is right here.






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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.

Meet the Bush sisters . . . Shayla and Ivy are ‘living full lives 10 years after kidney transplant’

These can be demanding and tiring days, what with all that is swirling around us, and that’s without Christmas fast approaching.

So it is great to find an escape, even if only for 15 or 20 minutes.

Allow me to present you with an opportunity for one of those brief interludes. Pour yourself a cup of your favourite coffee, tea or whatever soothes you, and enjoy the two stories that are linked here. . . .

It all starts in November 2010. Dave Trimmer was a sports writer with the Spokane Spokesman-Review when he wrote about Shayla and Ivy Bush, two sisters who were going through a life-altering experience.

Trimmer began his story like this:

“The words put a lump in your throat and moisten your eyes, but the touches and glances say so much more.”

He was referring to the young women’s story, one that he proceeded to tell in wonderful fashion.

By this time, the sisters, both of whom had been terrific high school athletes in Spokane, were situated on the U.S.’s east coast, Ivy in Baltimore and Shayla in Washington, D.C.

One year earlier, Shayla, who is five years older than Ivy, had gone in for a physical and come out knowing she had chronic kidney disease and would need dialysis or a transplant.

Their mother volunteered but, as Shayla told Trimmer, younger is better.

“My doctor asked about my sisters, and of course I had a problem with that,” she added.

There aren’t many things in life as hard as asking someone for one of their kidneys. And here was Shayla, the older sister, needing help from a younger sibling. But she finally called Ivy and asked the question.

“I went right into complete sister mode,” Ivy told Trimmer. “Of course I didn’t even have to think twice. I remember going into that initial meeting with the doctor, I had a feeling that everything was going to be OK. I remember walking past the chapel at the hospital and went in there and prayed, ‘Just let me be the one that can donate to Shayla.’ I knew after that everything was going to be OK and I was going to be the donor for Shayla.”

Ivy got through all of the tests and, yes, one of her kidneys now is part of her older sister.

Trimmer’s story from 10 years ago is right here, and you really should read it. This is just a wonderful piece about the love in a family and all of the emotions someone who needs a kidney experiences while dealing with having to ask for help.

And after you read that one, I have another treat for you.

Trimmer later lost his job — in case you haven’t noticed, the newspaper industry has been a sinking ship of uncertainty the past few years. But Trimmer returned to the pages of the Spokesman-Review the other day as he followed up with the women, who now are Shayla Harris and Ivy Lawrence.

The headline tells it all: Bush sisters living full lives 10 years after kidney transplant.

“Today,” Trimmer writes, “Shayla Harris and Ivy Lawrence laugh easily and finish each other’s sentences, proof they are fulfilling that vow.

“ ‘Knock on wood,’ they say in unison, with one adding to great laughter, ‘That’s the kidney.’

“The past decade has given them much for which to be thankful.”

Trimmer’s follow-up story is right here, and it is guaranteed to make you smile. Hey, you may even shed a tear or two.

——

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Tabitha Paul’s father, Markus, was the strength-and-conditioning coach with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. He suffered a medical emergency during a practice session on Tuesday morning and died Wednesday evening.





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