Maglio takes over Chiefs’ bench as Viveiros leaves for AHL . . . No fans for 2021 WJC? . . . Gorges joins BCHL’s Warriors

Adam Maglio is the new head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, taking over SpokaneChiefsfrom Manny Viveiros, who now is the first head coach of the Henderson Silver Knights, an AHL expansion team that is owned by the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . . Viveiros leaves Spokane after one season with the Chiefs. . . . Maglio, 34, is the WHL’s youngest head coach. He joined the Chiefs as an assistant coach for the 2019-20 season. Prior to that, he was with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings, as an assistant (2015-17) and then head coach (2017-19). . . . Viveiros was an assistant coach with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers in 2018-19, after two seasons as head coach and director of player personnel with the Swift Current Broncos. He guided the Broncos to the 2017-18 WHL championship. . . . Viveiros, 54, was 41-18-5 with the Chiefs when the 2020-21 season was halted by COVID-19. . . . Maglio is the Chiefs’ third head coach since 2017. Viveiros replaced Dan Lambert, who left after two seasons to join the NHL’s Nashville Predators as an assistant coach. . . . Lambert took over from Don Nachbaur, who spent seven seasons in Spokane before his contract wasn’t renewed after 2016-17.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The 2021 World Junior Championship is scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer, starting on Dec. 26 and concluding on Jan. 5. . . . The tournament is to include 10 teams. . . .

The above tweet appeared on Monday. Here was Hockey Canada’s response on Tuesday:

“At present time, there has been no change to the traditional hosting model for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship . . . Hockey Canada continues to engage in daily communication with the IIHF, the host communities of Edmonton and Red Deer, and the appropriate health authorities to examine all options for hosting the World Junior Championship in December and January. The health and safety of all participants and the community at large remains a priority for Hockey Canada, and our organization will continue to work towards hosting a safe, successful event on behalf of the IIHF.” . . .

The Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament, which had been scheduled for Feb. 10-21, has been cancelled. The 2021 event was expected to include about 2,500 players. . . .

The NFL and NFLPA revealed Tuesday that there were 10 positive tests — four players and six staffers — from Aug. 21-29. These results come a week after zero players and six team personnel tested positive. . . . The NFL season is scheduled to open on Sept. 10. . . .

Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell, one of the college game’s best all-purpose offensive players, has opted out of the 2020 season. He has lost four family members to the virus. . . . LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase, another top-end player, also has opted out. However, he didn’t cite the virus for his decision, saying instead that he wants to focus on becoming an NFL player. He is eligible for the NFL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Auburn Tigers are scheduled to practice Tuesday without at least 16 players — nine have tested positive and seven are considered high risk. . . . Josh Heupel, the U of Central Florida Knights’ head coach, said Tuesday the team has had 10 players opt out of this season, all of citing the virus. . . .

The Oakland A’s spent Monday holed up in a Houston hotel after having a Sunday game there postponed by a positive test. Later tests all were negative, but a three-game series that they were to have played against the host Seattle Mariners through Thursday was  postponed. . . .

The virus has started to leave its mark on the 2020-21 season for winter sports. The International Skating Union has cancelled a World Cup speed skating meet in Calgary, Dec. 11-13, along with two short-track events — Montreal, Nov. 6-8, and Laval, Nov. 13-15. . . . Also cancelled are meets in Tomaszow-Mazowiecki, Poland, Nov. 13-15; Stavanger, Norway, Nov. 20-22; and Salt Lake City, Dec. 4-6. . . .

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced Monday that it has postponed all competition until January 2021. From a news release: “The MIAC previously announced the postponement of all medium- and high-contact risk fall sports (cross-country, football, soccer, and volleyball) to the spring season on July 28. This latest decision will push competition in golf and tennis back to the second halves of their split-season schedules, while the basketball, hockey, indoor track and field, and swimming and diving competition seasons are now planning to begin in January. The MIAC Golf Championships, previously set for October, will be rescheduled for Spring 2021. All MIAC teams will maintain the institutional autonomy to practice, train, and conduct other athletic-related activities throughout the academic year in accordance with NCAA and campus protocols.” . . . There are 13 NCAA Division III schools in the MIAC.


Devil


If you have any interest at all in how the NBA got from where it once was, with playoff games shown on tape delay late at night, to where it is today, with players leading a movement to, among other things get out the vote, Dan Le Batard of ESPN has a great piece that is right here.

——

Sticking with ESPN, Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski have produced a piece that looks at the NHL and raises all sorts of questions about the 2020-21 regular-season. When might it start? Might it be played in four bubbles? How will the U.S.-Canada being closed to non-essential travel impact it? And on and on. . . . That is 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.


JUST NOTES: Former WHL/NHL D Josh Gorges has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors as their director of player development. Gorges, who played with the Kelowna Rockets (2000-04), played 13 seasons in the NHL (San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, 2005-18). . . . The Swift Current Broncos, one of four community-owned WHL franchises, will hold their annual general meeting on Sept. 29. . . . Aaron Spotts is the new head coach of the junior B Westshore Wolves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He takes over from Ian Birnie, the head coach for the previous two seasons.


Math

MLB just isn’t what it used to be . . . Sea Dogs lay out season-ticket, seating plans . . . No fans for Derby

In his Friday posting, Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, dropped the curmudgeonly gavel on MLB, and I can’t disagree with him. Here is part of what he wrote:

“I have not been overly impressed with MLB games on TV this season. To be clear, I am not talking about the absence of fans in the seats or the cardboard cutouts of fans; the games are not compelling. Most teams have played about 25 games so far; for 2020, that is 40 per cent of the season.  Here are some stats:

“Five teams – 20 per cent of the teams in MLB – are hitting below .220 as a team. . . . Four teams have an OBP below .300. . . . Twenty teams — 67 per cent of the teams in MLB — have more strikeouts than hits. . . . Twenty-nine of the thirty MLB teams have struck out at least  100 times more than they have walked. . . . Two teams are averaging 10 strikeouts per game.”

His entire post is right here.



And while we’re on the subject of MLB, hey, it’s about that extra-inning rule that puts a runner on second base to start each half inning.

Baseball once was a slave to statistics — there always had been a certain symmetry to it — and that is one of the things that so many fans loved about it. It isn’t anymore, unless it eventually will just erase all the numbers from this bastardization of a season. . . . I mean, we now get lead-off two-run home runs. . . . In a game between the Dodgers and Angels, the ghost runner stole third base and scored on a sacrifice fly by the leadoff hitter. Yes, a leadoff SF. . . . Jayson Stark of The Athletic pointed out that there has even been a two-up, three-down inning that included the ghost runner getting doubled up. . . . 

And here’s one that hasn’t happened yet, but is likely to at some point. As former MLP pitcher Ryan Dempster explained to Stark: “What about: You come in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning and you get the guy out. So you’re the hero. Then you go back out and pitch the 10th, and you get a punchout and a groundout, and then they take you out. And now the other guy comes in and gives up a single, and you get the loss. If that doesn’t sum up 2020, I don’t know what would.”

If you’re a baseball fan, you don’t want to miss Stark’s columns from The Useless Info Dept.


What do you know about your kidneys:


Earlier this week, the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs released season-ticket information for the approaching season. . . . Their home arena, the TD Station, seats 6,307. Last season, the Sea Dogs’ average attendance was 3,345. This season, the Sea Dogs are expecting to be allowed to use about 25 per cent of the seats, so that means attendance will be capped at about 1,500 per game. . . . One of the results of that is an increase in season-ticket prices, from $499 to $575, even though there will be four fewer games (60) this season. . . . There are other changes, too. From a Sea Dogs news release: “Some of the bigger changes include very limited capacity (around 25% of seats), social bubbles, and masks once you get inside TD Station. Also, because of all the changes to the seating plan, you shouldn’t expect to sit in your same seat, and possibly not in your same section as last season.” . . . Jamie Tozer of Station Nation has more right here.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes laid off and furloughed an unspecified number of employees on Friday, citing financial issues caused by the pandemic. . . . The Coyotes, who furloughed half their business staff in April, were eliminated from the NHL playoffs on Wednesday when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in Edmonton. . . . Earlier in the week, the Washington Post reported that Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and Washington Wizards, was about to furlough 232 employees. . . .

In recent times, I have on occasion mentioned the apparent link between COVID-19 and myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart. . . . Amanda Christovich of frontofficesports.com has a whole lot more on this issue right here. . . .

The MLS’s Chicago Fire has had a player test positive. The unidentified player didn’t travel with the team for a Thursday game against host FC Cincinnati on Thursday. The Fire lost, 3-0. . . . The Fire said the team is asymptomatic and self-isolating. . . . 

The U of Iowa has decided to drop men’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis when the 2020-21 academic year ends. . . . In a statement, the school said it “projects lost revenue of approximately $100 million and an overall deficit between $60-$75 million this fiscal year. . . .

Australia has withdrawn its teams from the IIHF’s 2021 U20 World Championship Division III and U18 Women’s World Championship Division II Group A, citing travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic. . . . The U20 event is scheduled for Mexico City from Jan. 10-17, 2021. . . . The U18 women’s tournament is to be played in Dumfries, Great Britain, Jan. 19-22, 2021. . . . 

Athletics Canada has cancelled the 2020 Canadian cross-country championships that were to have been held in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov 28. The event would have drawn about 800 competitors. . . . 

The Kentucky Derby, originally scheduled for May 2, will run before empty grandstands on Sept. 5. The pooh-bahs at Churchill Downs had said they would limit attendance to 23,000. That changed because of the way the virus is spreading in Kentucky, which had 2,300 new cases this week. . . . 



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.


Taras McEwen has taken over as the head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. He already was the general manager. . . . McEwen has coaching experience with Fort Knox of the junior B Prairie Junior Hockey League and with the SJHL’s Notre Dame Hounds. . . . The Blues also have named Zach Heisinger as an assistant coach. Last season, he was an assistant coach with the Vincent Massey team in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League. He also spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League’s Fort Garry Twins. . . . The Blues are owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, which also owns the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . McEwen was the Ice’s manager of scouting. His father, Brad, is Hockey Canada’s head scout. . . . Heisinger’s father, Craig, is the assistant GM and director of hockey operations with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, while a brother, Jake, is the Ice’s assistant GM and vice-president of hockey operations.


Morin’s search for kidney continues . . . It isn’t easy to ask someone for an organ

Vic2

More than a year ago, Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week did a story about Vic Morin of Kamloops.

At the time, it was 2019’s National Kidney Month and March 15 was World Kidney Day.

Morin was an appropriate subject because he had been living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) for some time.

VicColleen
Colleen Bruce and Vic Morin, at the Kamloops Kidney Support Group’s Christmas luncheon on Dec. 1. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

“Though Morin’s situation isn’t currently desperate,” Sullivan wrote, Morin and his wife, Colleen Bruce, “have been urged to start the process of finding a live donor as it can take some time to connect with a correct match.”

Well, here we are more than a year later and Morin’s situation is getting desperate. He is doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) now and a donor has yet to be found.

Someone doing PD has a catheter implanted into their peritoneal cavity and does dialysis at home. Morin hooks up to a cycler every night as he goes to bed and fluid exchanges that remove toxins take place via the catheter as he sleeps.

Dialysis, no matter whether it’s hemo or PD, really cuts into a person’s quality of life and a new kidney can make a lot of that go away.

But asking someone to hand over one of their kidneys isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. It’s not like asking a friend to loan you a baseball mitt for a game of slo-pitch.

As Morin told Sullivan: “It’s very awkward to go and try to ask someone to be a donor. That’s the hardest part.”

Neither Bruce nor a brother were deemed to be a match for Morin, so the search continues.

Bruce also has decided to get more aggressive with that search, so has designed the poster that accompanies this piece in the hopes that the right person sees it and chooses to register to be a live donor.

There is information below on how to go about registering for the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. The beauty of this program is that you wouldn’t have to be a match with Morin in order to help him. Rather, you are able to register and should you prove after testing to be an eligible donor you could donate a kidney to someone else on the provision that Morin gets one from an unknown donor who is a match.

For example, that’s how my wife, Dorothy, got a kidney almost seven years ago. She had been doing PD for four years. Her best friend had wanted to donate a kidney to her but wasn’t a match. Through the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s, she gave to someone else, while Dorothy received a kidney from a stranger.

If you are the least bit interested in being a donor, use the contact information listed here in order to learn all about it.

Should you choose to get in touch with the program at St. Paul’s, mention Louis Victor Morin.

——

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

Or, for more information, visit right here.

——

Six months ago, actor Michael Teigen gave one of his kidneys to friend Stephen Gillis, a Vancouver minor hockey coach who was diagnosed with kidney disease after having lived with Crohn’s disease. Gillis was doing hemodialysis when he underwent the transplant in December. . . . He is doing well, extremely well, but what about Teigen? Well, here he is . . .

——

Ferris’s story continues with one more trek to Vancouver . . . Oh my, but she’s a trouper! . . . Can we find kidneys for her and others?

Ferris-061620-
Ferris Backmeyer, 3, is an Elmo fan. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

Ferris Backmeyer, our favourite three-year-old, and her mother, Lindsey, spent a couple of days in Vancouver earlier this week. It was their first trip since the end of January; prior to that they had been there five times in four months.

As Lindsey put it in a Facebook post, the lack of travel has been the family’s “COVID silver lining.”

Shortly after birth, Ferris was diagnosed with Mainzer-Saldino syndrome, a disorder that impacts the kidneys, liver and eyes, and causes skeletal abnormalities.

She has been doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) since she was 14 months old, and now is on the active list as we try to find a donor — preferably a smaller adult — for a kidney transplant.

After their most recent trek to Vancouver, Lindsey posted an update on her Facebook page that I have edited for size:

“Ferris amazes me at how tolerant she is of medical appointments and procedures,” Lindsey writes. “We had nine hours worth of appointments in two days. So much of it is an adventure for her, especially since COVID — a major outing where everyone just oogles over how cute she is.

“She mostly has a ‘just do whatever you need to do’ attitude for ultrasounds, ecg’s, physical exams, vitals. Puts on the bravest face for needles and has been mostly getting through without any tears.”

However, it seems Ferris has thing about having her height measured . . . unless it’s at home.

“It’s like the biggest, most insane meltdown every single time,” Lindsey writes. “Exhausting. I’m certain I get the most accurate heights at home because she loves having her height measured at home! lol”

Lindsey writes that the trip was mostly uneventful.

“Renal management has been a little extra to manage lately — as in talking to them on the phone and by email every weekday for the past couple of weeks. It’s been a concern of mine that maybe they are thinking dialysis isn’t working very well. We’ve had a few episodes lately of inadequate fluid removal. They confirmed that it’s something that’s on the radar but we are seemingly back on track for now.

“They also assured me we won’t just treat numbers and we will go with how she’s feeling and she has been having some great days! However, only a few days of dialysis not working and she wouldn’t feel good at all. Everyone’s just got their fingers and toes crossed that PD will continue to work for her until she gets transplanted.”

Of course, Ferris has other issues than her kidneys, and vision is one of them.

“Ferris has retinal dystrophy and her vision is affected,” Lindsey writes. “So far we see difficulties in dim light and blindness in the dark. Her peripheral vision is also affected. That’s what we are observing, although I’m guessing with how adaptable she is, it’s probably worse than we even think. . . . I would say she definitely can see pretty well for the most part but we definitely can see some visual disability. . . . They have decided we should try glasses…so that’s up next!”

Lindsey also noted that they “met with anesthesia as well (for) a pre-transplant assessment. . . . He helped affirm my feelings that while she has risk factors, she’s been doing so well in a lot of ways. She handled anesthesia fine before, her heart is in better shape now, lungs are doing great, liver has chilled out with medication . . . no reason to believe she won’t have a successful kidney transplant!”

——

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


It was Saturday evening when I posted here about Dorothy and I knowing seven people awaiting kidney transplants.

The ink wasn’t dry, as they used to say in the newspaper business, on that post when I received a note from a hockey friend.

It seems he now is waiting and hoping, just like the others.

He was telling me I could “add another acquaintance to your list as I, too, now need a transplant.”

His GFR is at 12. If you aren’t familiar with it, GFR is Glomerular Filtration Rate and it is the measure of kidney function. In short, his kidneys are working at 12 per cent.

When Dorothy’s GFR got to 11 in 2009, the staff in the renal clinic here began preparing her for dialysis. Things have changed in the past few years and, depending on circumstances, some people have been kept off dialysis until their GFR slid to eight and even six.

He will be finding out in the immediate future “if they will begin dialysis.”

As I wrote, he now is waiting and hoping.

Waiting to find out about dialysis, all the while hoping for a transplant.

——

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


The list grew to nine on Sunday afternoon when I came across a story in Kamloops This Week on Rosalyn and Jim Butterfield, who have joined the Kamloops Kidney Support Group on occasion.

Rosalyn and Jim are working to find a kidney for their son, Mike, who is 44 and has polycystic kidney disease, which is commonly referred to as PKD. While his parents live in Kamloops, Mike lives and works in Vancouver. He now is in Stage 4, so the next step will be dialysis or a transplant.

Sean Brady’s story on the Butterfields 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


The list grew to 10 with the discovery that the son of family friends on the Prairies, who is doing hemo-dialysis, has begun the preliminary work involved in the process of having a transplant.

The point to all of this is that we all need to be aware that kidney disease isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the inroads it is making are scary as it becomes more and more of a factor in our daily lives.

Think about these numbers that I found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . . . Yes, they are American, but you would have to think the numbers for Canada are close to these . . .

15 percent of U.S. adults — 37 million people — are estimated to have chronic kidney disease;

Nine in 10 adults with CKD don’t know they have it;

One of two people with very low kidney function who aren’t on dialysis don’t know they have CKD.


Zach16



Keep on social distancing and washing your hands . . . let’s not surrender the ground we have gained!

Reminder

A dear friend of ours ventured into a large grocery store on Saturday. Considering the times in which we are living, he didn’t have a pleasant experience.

Afterwards, he wrote:

“Question: With 95 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., who is policing the social distancing in the retail sector? I was in a major outlet today. They were letting everyone in. No social distancing except at checkout. What the heck? This pandemic, in Kamloops especially, is going to get out of hand. Makes me want to hurl canned goods to protect my six feet.”

That drew this response from someone else:

“Relax . . . and try not to pay too much attention to the CBC or Global news. The numbers in the Interior are relatively tiny and frankly the possibility of you running into someone who is infected are somewhere between zilch and zero. Social distancing does absolutely nothing if no one is infected. If you’re that worried about it just stay home and have your groceries delivered.

“There are currently 150 cases in the entire Interior of which 90 are recovered. So if you spread those 60 people out over the entire interior including Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, etc. etc. And since they have tested positive it’s highly unlikely they’re out shopping.

“The grocery store I visited was doing the distance thing but because the checkout had small lineups that went back into the aisles because of the 6 ft rule it made keeping distant almost impossible if you wanted something in that aisle. They’re trying but really it’s becoming a bit much, worrying about how many feet away you are from the next person.”

These are the people who make we want to puke. They really do.

This person writes: “Social distancing does absolutely nothing if no one is infected.”

That’s exactly the point. We don’t know who is infected. We aren’t testing everyone, and there apparently are people walking around who have the virus and don’t know it. That is why we social distance, along with the fact that we don’t want people coughing or sneezing all over us.

The responder to our friend also wrote: “. . . the possibility of you running into someone who is infected are somewhere between zilch and zero.”

Look, when I buy a lottery ticket, I want to win. When it comes to this virus, that’s a lottery I don’t want to win, and the odds being “between zilch and zero” is still too high.

Look, social distancing works . . . social distancing and properly washing our hands. So let’s keep doing it so that we don’t piss away everything we’ve done to get to this point.

——

After this shopping trip, our friend also suggested: “What’s worrying me is people’s disregard for the rules and especially those wearing masks who waltz around the stores like they are indestructible.”

I have gotten to the stage where when I see someone wearing a mask I think: 1. Does that mean the person is infected?, and, 2. Is that person going to cough or sneeze?

So I try to steer clear of those people.

——

You will recall that Stephen Gillis, a Vancouver minor hockey coach, underwent a kidney transplant on Feb. 18.

This means that he, like so many transplant patients, has to take anti-rejection medications. These meds suppress a person’s immune system in order to keep his/her system from rejecting the organ that, after all, is a foreign object in a new setting.

Having a compromised immune system means one is much more susceptible to illness and infections than the average person.

And that’s why it is so frustrating to see the way some people carry on during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a couple of recent Facebook postings by Gillis . . .

“So did the restrictions change in BC or Vancouver? Cause there is currently 8 guys playing soccer, all beside each other, at the park near my house where I take my dog. . . . Hey A-holes, I haven’t been distancing and isolated for almost 40 days so on the first nice day you can play footy. . . . I won’t be surprised if there is another spike, because many people are acting like the pandemic is over.

“The amount of people who don’t keep their distance lately is insane. They’re all out strolling and walking right by me. Do I have to wear a sign or a scarlet letter to let them know I am immuno-suppressed and if I get COVID-19 I could very well die? I know people who have passed or had people passed. You call 311 and in very Vancouver fashion you get a msg that neither the city nor police will enforce it. Then what’s the point?”

My wife, Dorothy, received a kidney more than six years ago. She takes anti-rejection meds twice a day, so lives under the same conditions as does Stephen.

Dorothy hasn’t been in a grocery store in well over a month; you have no idea how hard this is on her because she loves to shop for groceries, which means browsing and taking her time. These days, we order groceries online and then we pick them up. If an item or two is unavailable, I will make a quick run into a small store, get what we need and get out.

Also, don’t forget that when restrictions are loosened and things start to open up again, Dorothy and Stephen — and thousands of others like them — will be among the last to leave their homes in search of some sense of a new normalcy.




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



Years after kidney transplant, Ayres gets first NHL win in debut . . . Helps Hurricanes beat Maple Leafs on night to remember



If you are part of the organ transplant community, the Saturday night NHL game that had the Carolina Hurricanes meeting the Maple Leafs in Toronto really was one to remember.

You can bet that the NHL pooh-bahs won’t have found it overly entertaining, but it was . . . it really was!

After all, it’s not every night when you get to watch a 42-year-old Zamboni driver who has had a kidney transplant play goal in an NHL game. Not only did Dave Ayres, at the age of 42 years 194 days, tend goal, but he ended up with the victory, stopping eight of 10 shots as the Hurricanes won, 6-3.

Ayres became the second-oldest goaltender in NHL history to win in his NHL debut. The first? Lester Patrick, then the general manager and head coach of the New York Rangers, was in goal for a 2-1 OT victory over the Montreal Maroons in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final on March 20, 1927. Patrick was 44 years and 99 days old. For the record, Patrick stopped 18 of 19 shots.

Ayres did set one NHL record as the oldest goaltender to win his regular-season debut. Hugh (Old Eagle Eyes) Lehman of the Chicago Black Hawks was 41 years 21 days when he won his first game in 1926-27.

——

In our home, it all began when I saw the above tweet and words “kidney transplant” jumped off my computer screen.

I hadn’t yet flipped over to the NHL game in Toronto. However, after seeing this tweet, I immediately changed the channel. I was just in time to see Carolina G Petr Mrázek go down in a collision with Toronto F Kyle Clifford at 11:19 of the second period. The Hurricanes had lost G James Reimer at 3:07 of the opening period in a collision that resulted in Mrázek entering and Ayres having to get into his goaltending gear.

But now Mrázek was hurt and the rest, as they say, became history.

If you didn’t see the game, the Hurricanes held a 3-1 lead when Ayres entered, and they quickly made it 4-1. But the Maple Leafs scored goals on their first two shots on Ayres as the Hurricanes struggled to get to the intermission with a lead.

They were able to do that, then scored two early third-period goals to stretch their 4-3 lead to 6-3 and give Ayres some breathing room. Ayres was steady in the third period, while his new teammates really shut down the home side, much to the dismay of the crowd.

During the second intermission, I headed for the Internet to find out what I could about Ayres. I didn’t care about his hockey-playing background; I wanted to know about his kidney issues.

I found this from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, from the Nov. 18, 2019, edition of The Globe and Mail:

“Like many kids growing up in Canada, Dave Ayres wanted to play hockey in the NHL.

“He was 25 and at a hockey training camp when his feet became so swollen he couldn’t put on his skates. Then one day while driving, he became so dizzy he nearly hit someone.

“It was Thanksgiving weekend when he ended up in the ER. His kidneys were working at 15 per cent capacity and he had to start dialysis immediately. Three days a week, four hours at a time, for the next seven months.

“Then in May, he came to St. Michael’s Hospital’s Kidney Transplant and Care Centre, where he received a new kidney, courtesy of his mom.”

A native of Whitby, Ont., Ayres underwent a kidney transplant in 2004. After donning gear for an outdoor practice with the Maple Leafs just last month, he told Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun about those days:

“I told the doctor at St. Michael’s Hospital I needed to get back because I was supposed to go to the (Central Hockey League’s) Laredo Bucks. They said ‘we’ll try our best’ and my Mom (Mary) was a match. They ended up moving me along pretty quick (for the operation), about a year after I got sick.”

In his other life, Ayres drives the Zamboni at the Coca-Cola Coliseum, the home of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. He also has been on the ice with the Marlies and Maple Leafs on occasion, as he was for the outdoor practice.

In yet another twist to this story, Ayres told media after Saturday’s game that he is scheduled to practice with the Maple Leafs on Monday. I am thinking that practice session just might draw a bit of press coverage.

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Here’s more from St. Michael’s Hospital:

“Dave’s case is not unusual, but he was one of the lucky ones. In Canada, one in 10 people has kidney disease — that’s the population of Vancouver and Calgary combined. It’s a chronic disease with no chance of remission. And it’s considered a silent killer because there are few symptoms — apart from the swelling and dizziness, like in Dave’s case, there can be fatigue, chills, back pain, itching — but it’s still difficult to detect. With an aging population, increas­ing rates of obesity and high blood pressure, and an epidemic of diabetes (the leading cause of kidney disease), the numbers are only going up.

“Some people can live with kidney disease for years, and many do — when it’s caught early enough and treated properly. But in too many cases, the kidneys fail, leaving only two options: dialysis or a kidney transplant. “Dialysis can take over a person’s life. And it’s not a life saver: half of patients 65 years of age and older starting dialysis today will not be alive in five years. And while transplant is by far the best solution, 3,600 Canadians are on the waiting list. It’s not a permanent fix either: a kidney from a deceased donor will last on average 10 to 15 years, and from a living donor 15 to 20 years.”

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Shortly after game’s end, the Hurricanes announced that t-shirts with Ayres’ name and number (90) already were available via their online shop and that a portion of the proceeds will be going to a kidney foundation.

As I have written about here previously, kidney disease isn’t going away. There isn’t a cure — a transplant really is just a form of treatment. But what is needed more than anything is more education. People from all walks of life need to understand that while there isn’t a cure, you can have kidney disease and get on with your life; if you are fortunate enough to have a transplant, you don’t have to forget about your dreams.

Dave Ayres is proof of that.


Roy Cooper is the governor of North Carolina:

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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