It will be Halloween to remember for Dodds family . . . Wife/mother has date with transplant team . . . Younger brother will give her a kidney

I’m sure we all can use some good news. Right?

OK. Here you go . . .

The team at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver has scheduled Julie Dodds of Kamloops for a kidney transplant on Oct. 28.

Julie, a married mother of three, has a genetic kidney disease that has progressed to the point where she is in kidney failure, meaning the next necessary step is dialysis or transplant.

JulieJason
Julie Dodds with her younger brother Jason, who will be giving her a life-saving kidney on Oct. 28. (Photo: Allan Dodds)

Fortunately for Julie, she will be having a transplant before going on dialysis, which is a best-case scenario.

Julie’s husband, Allan, said that “we were fortunate enough to have three amazing people matched for Julie.”

In what Allan said is “a storyline made for the movies,” Julie’s younger brother, Jason, who is from Port McNeill, B.C., has cleared the testing process and has been approved as the living donor.

According to Allan, Julie and Jason underwent COVID-19 testing on Tuesday and now are in pre-surgery quarantine.

Allan added: “We go to Vancouver week of Halloween. Surgery is booked for Oct 28.”

As Allan pointed out, it’s into the world of the unknown after that.

“How long at the hospital? How long recovery?” he noted. “Accommodations are booked for both and we are onto the next chapter.”

As for Julie, on Tuesday night she told me that “we’re excited . . . though a bit nervous and I’m sad to be away from the kids for so long but I know it’ll all work out!”

With luck, Julie will be back home in time for Christmas, with her boys serving her breakfast in bed.


It was on July 6, 2019, when Stevie Wonder told his audience during a show at Hyde Park in London that he needed a kidney transplant. There was a lot written about it at the time, but then the story faded away to nothing.

Until Tuesday when Wonder, who is releasing two new songs, held a virtual news conference. It turns out that he has been living with a transplanted kidney for more than 10 months.

“I was blessed with a new kidney and that happened on Dec. 6, 2019 . . . I feel great. My voice feels great,” Wonder said. “I told my daughter Aisha, ‘I’m going to be like five years younger than you now. I’m going from being 70 to being 40.’ I feel like I’m about 40 right now. I’m feeling great.”

The two songs — Where Is Our Love Song and Can’t Put It in the Hands of Fate — represent Wonder’s first new music in 15 years.


Cheryl Castellani of Hammonds Plains, N.S., first found out she had polycystic kidney disease (PKD) about 30 years ago. Earlier this year, her kidney function slid to 11 per cent, so it was time for — hopefully — a transplant. Fortunately, her younger sister, Heather Blouin, was a match and the transplant occurred on July 23 in Halifax. . . . After the surgery, who is from Grand River, P.E.I., and Castellani went their separate ways. . . . They had a rather joyous reunion on Thanksgiving weekend. . . . Sheehan Desjardins of CBC has more 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.

WHL named in another proposed class-action suit . . . Former player Kobe Mohr involved in this one . . . Pats’ pick to skate in Sweden

Sheesh, it really can’t be much fun being the owner of a WHL team these days. For starters, you don’t know whether to be selling sponsorships, advertising and season tickets because you aren’t able to guarantee a starting date for a new whlseason. You are hoping to begin regular-season play on Dec. 4, but there aren’t any guarantees.

On top of that, you likely still are counting up the losses from not having been able to finish the 2019-20 season, thanks to the pandemic that doesn’t appear anywhere close to going way.

And now the WHL finds itself involved in yet another proposed class-action lawsuit, this one apparently having been filed this week.

Kobe Mohr, a former WHL player, is among those fronting this one that names the NHL, AHL, ECHL, OHL, QMJHL and WHL. Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star reports: “A proposed $825-million class-action claim alleges a conspiracy among the world’s top professional and amateur hockey leagues to exploit dream-chasing teenage players with one-sided contracts containing abusive restrictions on their young careers.”

Mohr, now 21, played with the Edmonton Oil Kings, Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Moose Jaw Warriors (2014-20). He totalled 35 goals and 66 assists in 265 regular-season games, after being selected by Edmonton with the 20th pick in the 2014 bantam draft.

The WHL now finds itself entangled to one degree or another in four separate class-action lawsuits in various stages of progression through the legal system. Two others — one involving concussions and the other regarding alleged hazing and other physical and mental abuses — are early in the process. . . .

The other, which involved a claim for past and present-day players to be paid minimum wage and other perks, was settled by the CHL for $30 million earlier this year, but the settlement still needs judicial approval. Rick Westhead of TSN reported Tuesday that an Ontario judge spent part of yesterday hearing arguments “about whether to approve” the settlement. According to Westhead, Justice Paul Perell said there are “objectors” to the settlement and that “a trade association called the World Association of Ice Hockey Players Unions has filed ‘an aggressive intervenor’ application with the courts to overturn” the settlement.

Ted Charney, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, asked the courts to approve the settlement, saying, according to Westhead, that “a settlement wouldn’t bar new federal court case because the new case alleges a conspiracy to breach the Competition Act, not employment standards laws.”

When Tuesday’s hearing concluded, judgment was reserved.


Asteroid


F Connor Bedard, who was selected first overall by the Regina Pats in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft, will be travelling to Sweden so that he can skate with HV71’s junior team in Jönköping. Bedard, from North Vancouver, is the first player in history to have been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada in order to allow him to play regularly in the WHL as a 15-year-old. . . . Because he won’t be playing in games in Sweden, the Pats didn’t have to issue a release. The WHL hopes to start its regular season on Dec. 4, by which time Bedard will have returned to Canada.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

The United Kingdom’s 10-team Elite Hockey League announced Tuesday that it has suspended play because of the pandemic. The season was scheduled to begin on Dec. 5. . . . “We’ve been very open that we need to have fans back in our arenas for us to begin playing again,” Tony Smith, the league’s chairman, said. “We operate around 75 to 100 per cent capacity at our venues and this is the level of crowds we would need in order to go ahead at any point, which isn’t a realistic option right now.” . . . The average attendance at league game last season was 3,043. . . .

The World Series will be played in one venue for the first time since 1944. The American and National League winners will play a best-of-seven championship series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, with Game 1 scheduled for Oct. 20. . . . In 1944, the World Series was played in St. Louis, with both teams from that city. The Cardinals beat the Browns, 4-2. . . . Leading to the World Series, the American League Championship Series will be played at Petco Park in San Diego, with the NLCS at Arlington. . . . Prior to that, the AL Divison Series is to be played in San Diego and Los Angeles, with the NLDS in Arlington and Houston. . . .

The Texas Tech Red Raiders had five positives last week, bringing the team total to 75 since mid-June when testing began as football players returned to campus. The team is carrying more than 120 players. . . . The school has had 116 positives among its student-athletes. . . .

Ed Orgeron, the head football coach at LSU, told reporters on Tuesday that most of his time has had the virus. “Not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it,” he said. “I think that hopefully they won’t catch it again, and hopefully they’re not our for games.” . . . Alex Scarborough of ESPN pointed out: “LSU, like many programs in the SEC and nationally, has not provided regular reports on the number of players who have contracted the novel coronavirus.” . . .

The Quebec Student Sports Federation (QSSF) cancelled university sports for the fall semester on Monday. This means none of Canada’s four university conferences will play football this fall. The Quebec conference has five teams. . . . U Sports, the governing body for university sports in Canada, had cancelled its national semifinals and final in June. . . .

Organizers of the 2021 Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament have cancelled it. The tournament was to have run from Dec. 30 through Jan. 3. . . . Tournament chairman Jan Antons told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “We still don’t know what games are going to look like, when games are potentially going to start and, overall, the main concern was still the health and safety of our players, bringing players in from other provinces and dealing with the 50-person gathering-size limit. It would make it very difficulty to run a tournament at the level we’re used to. We want to make sure KIBIHT remains one of the top-notch tournaments in Canada. . . . there is just too much unknown right now. It’s still a very hard decision.”


Sign


——

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: The WHL’s four community-owned teams each holds an annual general meeting that is open to shareholders. The Moose Jaw Warriors announced Tuesday that they will hold their AGM on Sept. 29. The Swift Current Broncos said earlier that their meeting also will be held on Sept. 29, with the Prince Albert Raiders having said they will hold their AGM on Oct. 7. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes have said their AGM will be held in November, but they have yet to announce an exact date. . . . I don’t know what it is — maybe NHL teams have come down with the ‘Bubble Blues’ — but the games are getting less and less watchable. Too many bodies in the area in front of both nets, not enough shots getting through, not enough offence, not enough goals. Whatever it is, it isn’t good for the NHL game. . . . Did you get your fill of football on Monday night? ESPN’s MNF team of Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick — they did the second game — were OK, but the Game 1 pairing of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit was outstanding. Fowler and Herbstreit have worked together as ESPN’s No. 1 college football pairing. They are comfortable with each other and it showed.


Hearing

Medicine Hat rocked by suicides; mental health awareness takes spotlight . . . KHL game postponed . . . Finnish juniors have positive tests

Being a regular on social media, I was aware that Medicine Hat had been rocked by the sudden deaths of a few young men. However, I had no idea of the depth of the problem until reading this story right here that was written by the CBC’s Robson Fletcher. . . . It is most unfortunate that this story had to be written, but this is outstanding journalism. Please give it a read because this is important in today’s world.


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Here is the official KHL news release:

“The Dinamo Riga vs Neftekhimik game, which was scheduled to take place on Friday, Sep. 11, is postponed. On arrival in Riga on Thursday, the Neftekhimik players underwent the obligatory express tests for SARS-CoV-2. Seven players showed positive results.

“The Neftekhimik players and staff are flying to St. Petersburg, where the entire team will prompting undergo additional testing using a combination of PCR and IgG tests. More extensive testing will provide more detailed results and help to determine what happens with the rest of Neftekhimik’s current road games.

“Further details about the rearranged date for the game between Dinamo and Neftekhimik will be announced in due course.” . . .

Jukurit, a U-20 team in Finland, has had 22 positives tests since last weekend, so all players, managers, coaches and staff are quarantining for 14 days. . . . The Jukurit team that plays in Liiga has one positive. Liiga is to open its regular season on Oct. 1. In the meantime, a number of exhibition games have been cancelled. . . . Meanwhile, HPK’s junior team also is in quarantine after three positive tests. . . .

The NCAA’s 11 hockey conferences, men’s and women’s, announced Thursday that their seasons won’t begin in October as originally was scheduled. . . . The earliest possible start date now appears to be Nov. 20. . . . Chris Dilks of sbncollegehockey.com has more right here. . . .

The Winnipeg High School Football League has postponed its 2021 fall season. It hopes to be able to have a spring season. . . . The three Brandon teams that play in the league had said earlier that they wouldn’t take part in a fall season. . . . The last time the WHSFL season was interrupted was in 1953 when a polio epidemic was on a rampage. . . .

Curling Canada has cancelled six more 2021 championships. From a news release: “The Continental Cup in Oakville, Ont., the Canadian Under-18 Championships in Timmins, Ont.; the New Holland Canadian Junior (Under-21) championships in Fort McMurray, Alta.; the Canadian Wheelchair Championship in Moose Jaw, Sask.; the inaugural Canadian Under 15 RockFest, and the U SPORTS/Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled for later in the season.” . . . Meanwhile, the 2021 Canadian senior championships still are on the schedule, with dates and host city yet to be announced. . . .

The U of Minnesota is cutting men’s gymnastics, men’s tennis, and men’s indoor and outdoor track and field from its athletic programs. The cuts will take place upon the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year. . . . School officials are projecting a loss of revenue of around US$75 million this fiscal year because of the pandemic and the Big Ten’s postponement of fall sports. . . .

The 2022 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games that were to have been held in Medicine Hat have been cancelled. . . . From a news release: “Due to COVID-19, there will be no regional competitions in 2020 and the majority of Chapters are not planning to host Provincial/Territorial Games in 2021. As a result, our ‘typical’ pathway for athletes to qualify for National Games is not possible.” . . . Brian Varga, a former WHL sniper who now is a city councillor in Medicine Hat, told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News: “We planted a seed that maybe somewhere down the road, when things get back to normal a little bit, that we might have a chance to do it again. But it’s a long ways off. Next one would be 2026, so that’s six years away, but we’re optimistic. We would be ready for it, that’s for sure. Who knows, by that time, what kind of new things and little added features that we might have in the city that would make them think about coming back here again.”


Cookies


The WHL and RE/MAX of Western Canada announced Thursday that they now whlhave raised more than $585,000 for local chapters of the Kidney Foundation of Canada through three seasons of the RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up to Promote Organ Donation program. . . . The program features the auctioning of special jerseys, something that the Calgary Hitmen, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals weren’t able to do after the 2019-20 season was cut short by the pandemic. Those teams’ sweaters will be available for bids at a later date. . . . In 2017-18, the first season of the promotion, kidney foundations benefited by approximately $265,500. That figure was about $196,600 for 2018-19. For the 2019-20 season, with three teams still to auction sweaters, the promotion brought in about $122,900.


——

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.


Josh Green, a former WHL player, was introduced Thursday as the general Freezemanager and head coach of the MJHL’s Winnipeg Freeze, a new team that is owned by 50 Below Sports & Entertainment. The company also owns the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues and the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice. . . . Green, 42, played five seasons (1993-98) in the WHL, playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers, Swift Current Broncos and Portland Winterhawks. He was an assistant coach with the Blues in 2018-19 and filled that same role last season with the Ice. . . . The Freeze website shows Jake Heisinger as the vice-president of hockey operations. He also is the Blues’ v-p of hockey ops and alternate governor, and the Ice’s v-p of hockey operations and assistant GM. . . . Ice head coach James Patrick is shown as a consultant, while Matt Cockell, the Ice’s president, GM and alternate governor, is the Freeze’s president. Cockell also is the Blues’ governor and president. . . . Raylin Kirsch, Cockell’s wife, is the Freeze’s vice-president. She is also the v-p with the Blues and the Ice. . . . The Freeze website also shows Leah Watkins as the director of business operations, Mack Heisinger as manager of communications and digital media, Rylee Andersen as the manager of ticketing and office administration and Blake Eden as the co-ordinator of marketing and content. Those four hold the same positions with the Blues and with the WHL franchise. . . . The Freeze is to begin play with the 2020-21 season, which the MJHL hopes will begin on Oct. 9. The plan is for each team to play 40 games almost exclusively on 22 weekends with the regular season ending on March 13. . . . There is a news release right here.


Pigeon

Sunday a day of freedom for Ferris . . . Zach needs a kidney, too . . . Want to help? Please contact Living Kidney Donor Program

The Backmeyers have found some freedom in Vancouver with Ferris being treated as an outpatient, at least for now.

Ferris, 3, slept on a couch on Friday night, a rarity for a child who has been on dialysis since she was 14 months old. Today (Sunday), she won’t have to dialyze and I really would love to know what will be going through her mind as she spends one entire day without having to hook up to a cycler for peritoneal dialysis (PD) or a hemodialysis machine.

FerrisSwing
Ferris spent some time doing kid things the other day in Vancouver. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

The Backmeyers are from Kamloops. Ferris is in need of a kidney transplant. She had been doing PD at home, but she got hit with an infection, so Mom and Dad (Lindsey and Pat) had to take her to B.C. Children’s Hospital a week ago. There, doctors removed her PD catheter and transitioned her to hemodialysis, at least for the short term.

Lindsey informed Facebook followers early Saturday that they will take Ferris to BCCH on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday for hemo, with each run taking about three hours. Including pre- and post-, it takes about 3.5 hours. That is quite a change for a little girl who is used to being hooked up to a cycler for about 12 hours a night.

“Still gives us a decent amount of time out,” Lindsey wrote.

She added that they spent some time out Friday evening “and I think it’s safe to say we are all more comfy here! Now if it would only stop raining!!!!”

They almost certainly will be in Vancouver for another few weeks.

“The most current plan is to admit her during the first week in August and reinsert her PD catheter,” Lindsey wrote. “If it goes well we could be home mid-August. While it’s not a set-in-stone plan . . . it’s the one we have for now!”

On Thursday, Lindsey had written that “Ferris is slowly feeling better each day. She hasn’t had any Tylenol since noon (Wednesday) and has only cried a couple times in pain. . . .

“She’s still really low on physical energy but she continues to eat! We are back to full feeds and she’s still eating a ton. She’s eaten half a chicken in three days. . . . She’s constantly yelling for different foods . . .”

This will be a big week for Ferris as her big sisters are scheduled to arrive on Wednesday.

According to Lindsey: “Ferris asks about them a lot. They worry about Ferris and us when we are down here. It’ll be better for everyone if we are together. We had already discussed the possibility of spending the summer here if a transplant were to happen. Kinda preparing them that all our summer camping plans might be derailed. So this isn’t totally unexpected.

“The realization that we are here for awhile has been a huge pill to swallow. In fact I haven’t really yet. I’m still looking at how big it is!! For now, we plan for next week and hope that Ferris gets a bit stronger each day!”

——

Meanwhile, Zach Tremblay, now 17, continues to trek from his home in Robson, B.C., to Trail to do dialysis as he waits and hopes for a kidney transplant.

You bet that Zach can relate to what Ferris is going through, because he was transitioned from PD to hemo early this year.

Zach16

——

If you are at all interested in being a living kidney donor, contact the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. You don’t have to make an immediate commitment, but the folks there are able to prove you with more information and answer any questions you may have.

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


There are a lot of tests involved in finding out whether a potential kidney donor and recipient are a match. Three of those are blood tests — blood typing, tissue typing and cross-matching. . . . There’s a lot more on that right here.





Hamilton: Delay into January could be “real tough” . . . No CFR in Red Deer this year . . . Will Blue Jays be allowed to come home?

If the start of the WHL’s 2020-21 regular season is delayed for three months or more, it could be tough for some of the league’s 22 franchises.

That’s according to Bruce Hamilton, the owner of the Kelowna Rockets and the chairman whlof the WHL’s board of governors.

“I think all of us are prepared to get into January,” Hamilton told Rob Munro of infotel.ca. “Then it will get real tough for a whole bunch of people.”

The WHL issued a statement last week indicating that it is aiming to open the regular season on Oct. 2. The 2019-20 season, which was shut down on March 12, opened on Sept. 20.

With Hamilton telling Munro that “70 per cent of our business is ticket driven,” it is obvious that the WHL needs fans in the seats in order to play. If teams don’t get the OK from health officials to open the doors to at least 50 per cent capacity, the season won’t start on time — if at all.

But if the season does get rolling, Hamilton indicated that fans will see a few changes.

For starters, physical distancing will play a part in seating configuration. In fact, Hamilton said the WHL has heard from a company that has developed software to help with that.

“There is one company in particular that I know about,” Hamilton told Munro, “that has reached out to our league instead of coming to all the teams individually, that has created the software and it will be used whether it’s baseball, football, hockey, basketball.

“It’ll be that kind of thing, where they take your manifest for your building and then design it out of that.”

Munro’s complete story is right here.



We are almost into July and are waking up to discover that events scheduled for November are being cancelled.

And that can’t be good for junior hockey leagues that are hoping to get started in September and October.

On Wednesday, the 2020 Canadian Finals Rodeo was cancelled by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. It was to have been held at the Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer, Nov. 3-8, with more than 43,000 fans expected to attend.

Don’t forget that the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship is to be held in Red Deer and Edmonton, from Dec. 26, 2020, through Jan. 5, 2021.

Meanwhile, two marathons fell by the wayside on Wednesday, with organizers of the Berlin (Sept. 27) and New York City (Nov. 1) events cancelling the 2020 races.


An undisclosed number of players and staff with the Toronto Blue Jays have tested positive after being at the team’s training facility in Dunedin, Fla. . . . The facility has been shut down. . . . The Blue Jays now are looking to find a training camp site with players to report in a week. They have asked the Canadian government for an exemption from quarantine regulations in order to train and play regular-season games in Toronto. . . . Shi Davidi of Sportsnet has more right here. . . .

F Jabari Parker of the Sacramento Kings and G Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers revealed on Wednesday that they have tested positive. Both plan on being back with their teams in time to resume the NBA season in Orlando, Fla., next month. . . .

Caddies who work for Graeme McDowell and Brooks Koepka have tested positive. As a result, McDowell and Koepka withdrew from the Travelers Championship that opens today (Thursday) in Connecticut. McDowell tested negative but apparently suspects that he has the virus, so he has gone home. . . . Webb Simpson also withdrew, as did Cameron Champ, who actually tested positive. . . . Simpson, last weekend’s winner on the PGA Tour, withdrew, saying a family member had tested positive. . . .

The U of Connecticut has eliminated men’s cross-country, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and women’s rowing because of budget issues brought on by the pandemic. . . . UConn also has implemented a 15 per cent cut in operating budgets of all sports. . . .

There are reports that WWE has had as many as two dozen wrestlers and staffers test positive in Orlando, Fla.



Tire

Checking on Ferris Backmeyer and Zach Tremblay, two young people dealing with kidney disease . . .

It’s time to check in with a couple of our favourite young people — Ferris Backmeyer and Zach Tremblay — each of whom is dealing with kidney disease and is in need of a transplant.

Both are regular visitors to B.C. Children’s Hospital. Ferris and her mother, Lindsey, have just returned to Kamloops from their most recent trip, while Zach and Jana have been in Vancouver for a few days now, and are likely to remain there for a while yet.

Lindsey and Jana both took to Facebook on Wednesday to update friends as to the latest happenings. Hopefully, these will provide some insight into what people have to deal with they as they and/or their loved ones deal with kidney disease.

——

Ferris, who is about to celebrate her third birthday, does peritoneal dialysis on a daily

FerrisJan2020
Ferris Backmeyer, soon to be three years of age, loves nothing more than to spend time drawing and smiling. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

basis. She needs to gain weight, and maintain that weight, in order to have a transplant.

Here is a bit of what Lindsey posted:

“The take home from this trip is that she’s been managing pretty well from a dialysis perspective. Things are going well and our focus yet again seemed to be on growth . . . We have our wrapup from the assessment meeting with the transplant nephrologist Feb. 7. Our dialysis team is hopeful she will be ready to list/look into live donors by March.

“For the past few months we have seen audiology and ent each time we go down. Ferris’s hearing tests are abnormal. This took me by surprise as I’m fairly certain she can hear some stuff. She follows instructions and has conversations with us daily. However, I am starting to think that she likely can’t hear as well as we think and it’s likely why she isn’t speaking yet. And I mean no clear words . . . except no . . . and yah. She’s also increasingly frustrated that we don’t know what she’s saying (as she’s most definitely trying to talk) although learning some basic signs has helped with this.

“Anyway, they are taking it quite seriously and have put her on an emergent list and I’ve been told we will be back down likely within the next month for a hearing test done under general anesthetic and probable placement of tubes. After that, they will discuss whether she will need hearing aids. I’m hopeful that this might help her in the communication realm as we all know she is sooooo smart!

“She loves to draw and is practising her smiley faces. Her imaginative play is so incredible to watch. She will pretend her baby is hurt, sign for sad and then pull an imaginary Bandaid out of thin air and pretend to put it on, then say happy! She loves to dance and her favourite songs right now are ‘Me Too’ by Meghan Trainor and Dance Monkey.

“In just a couple short weeks, little miss will be 3 and I can’t wait to see how she grows!”

——

Lindsey ended her latest post with this:

“We also got to meet my friend Jana (Tremblay) and her kidney friggin warrior Zach!! Was by far the best part of this trip for me!! It was so nice to chat with people who are dealing with something similar to us! I hope to meet up with them again sometime soon, and hope even more that Zach gets the kidney he so desperately needs!!”

It is tremendous news that Lindsey and Jana finally met and you can bet that they will continue to communicate with each other. This kind of support is invaluable and is the reason why we started the Kamloops Kidney Support Group. Words can’t express the importance of being able to meet and talk with people who can relate to what you have dealt with and are going through.

(BTW, the KKSG’s next meetings are Feb. 8 and 12; we meet on the the second Saturday (9 a.m.) and Wednesday (10 a.m.) of each month.

——

Jana and Zach, who are from Robson, B.C., remain at B.C. Children’s Hospital as Zach, 16, is transitioned from peritoneal dialysis to hemo. On Wednesday, Jana posted:

“We have had a few big changes and a few tough days. Our boy is a rock star though, as always, and seems to be handling these things with courage and more grace than most adults would.

“Peritoneal dialysis is no longer working for Zach. On Friday, he had surgery to have a hemo catheter placed, and we will be transitioning over to hemo dialysis permanently until we can find his match.

“We have no time frame on coming home atm. We are just working to get him successfully running hemo, and to be a healthier him.

“I don’t have many more answers than that at the moment .

“Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as we make this leap into the adult world of dialysis. We can’t move here for him to have treatment 3x per week, and the local dialysis unit in Trail is not connected to Children’s in any way, so our dialysis time here, and with our team, will come to an en . . . Bittersweet, but life.

“Please keep sharing his story in hopes it reaches the right set of eyes!”

——

If you would like more info on being a living kidney donor:

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 Ministry of Health is seeking a contractor to build an organ and tissue donation registry, and it’s leaving its options open in case the province later adopts an opt-out donation model,” Arthur White-Crummey of the Regina Leader-Post wrote earlier this month. “Health Minister Jim Reiter revealed the government’s plans for an online registry in March of last year, signalling that the system should be up and running by the end of the fiscal year in April.

“The plan is now moving forward after a slight delay. The Ministry of Health posted tender documents Thursday seeking proposals to build the system. It is now hoping for the registry to be available to the public, “ideally,” by mid-June of this year.”

The complete story is right here.





Celebrating 40 years with a donated kidney . . . More important news from the Cleveland Clinic

These are the kind of stories we like to read. . . . Tom Mitrovski of Toronto is 72 now. There was a time when he never thought he would see 50.

He underwent a kidney transplant on Nov. 27, 1979, thinking then that he had five to 10 years left. . . . Tom Hayes of Global News has the story right here.


Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic have successfully performed a laparoscopic liver transplant, the second time such an operation has been done in the U.S. . . . Chris Cantergiani of WKYC has more right here, and there is a lot of interesting stuff in the story.

Earlier this year, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic performed the first robotic single-port kidney transplant, doing it all through one small abdominal incision. There’s more on that story right here.






McLennan celebrates two years with friend’s kidney . . . Kamloops woman finally gets her transplant

Hugh
Two years ago, Hugh McLennan (second from left) and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor were roaming the halls at Vancouver General Hospital, along with Hugh’s wife, Billie. The big question: Where in the big city did they tie up their horses? (Photo: Hugh McLennan/Facebook)

Happy anniversary to Hugh McLennan, who has been living for two years with a transplanted kidney, courtesy of his good friend Louis (Big Rig) McIvor.

Here’s what Hugh wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday:

“Two years ago (Friday) this guy gave me one of his kidneys! We’re both doing fine and we’d encourage you to look into being an organ donor and if you know someone on dialysis look into getting tested as a living donor.”

Now that is really sound advice.

Hugh and his wife, Billie, own and operate a ranch near Pinantan Lake, just outside of Kamloops.


Best wishes to Melissa Wells of Kamloops, who underwent a kidney transplant on Nov. 9.

Melissa has a kidney disease — Type 3 Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) — that resulted in kidney failure. She spent more than six years waiting for a transplant, all the while doing dialysis.

In July, her husband, Marty, wrote:

“She’s been through countless failed surgeries, successful surgeries, and even had a direct line put into her heart just so she was able to get treatment to stay alive.”

Marty also added something that, with all that Dorothy has been through, I think of regularly. It has to do with the number of people walking around who live with kidney disease but don’t give any appearance of being ill.

“If you saw Melissa today she would seem totally normal,” Marty wrote in July. “She goes about her daily life — visiting family, hanging out with friends, going shopping. What you don’t see is her strength. She fights through constant headaches, nausea, fatigue, shooting pains through her arm, and overall pain of having major organ failure. The constant needling of her arm almost every day and the perpetual surgeries she has to deal with in Kamloops, Kelowna, and Vancouver are exhausting and expensive.”

The good news is that Melissa has a new kidney now. Here’s hoping that all goes well.


What happens when an organ or organs come available for transplant? How quickly does the window of opportunity close? When there is a death, how many organs might be available for transplant? What about tissue, corneas, etc.? . . . Shawn Logan of Postmedia has an excellent look at all of that and a whole lot more right here.


Susan Bell and Dorothy Stewart of CBC News have produced a story that includes Colleen Atsynia, a single mother of five.

According to the story, she “was in her mid-40’s when kidney disease forced her to leave her job, her family and her northern Quebec community of Wemindji for dialysis treatment in Montreal.”

As Atsynia told the reporters: “When you first find out you need a transplant, to me it felt like, ‘OK, that’s it. I’m done. I’m just going to die.”

According to the story, Atsynia’s life changed when “someone she doesn’t know gave it all back to her by donating a kidney” in May 2018.

“I was extremely happy because I knew I was going to finally come home,” she said. “My kids were happy . . . they were really happy.”

That story is right here.




This doesn’t have anything to do with transplants or kidney disease, but it is a great watch . . .


About pediatric kidney transplants, flu shots, curried turkey casserole . . .

I wrote earlier this week about Ferris Backmeyer, and you may be wondering how in the world someone who is only 2-1/2 years of age is able to undergo a kidney transplant.

Ferris, who lives in Kamloops with her mother, father and two sisters, has kidney disease. She has been doing peritoneal dialysis at home for 18 months now.

Her mother, Lindsey, recently revealed on Facebook that they have been given the OK to

Ferris
Ferris Backmeyer, 2-1/2 years old, needs a kidney transplant. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

look for a living kidney donor for Ferris.

“We have been told the donor process can take just as long as the transplant workup for Ferris,” Lindsey wrote, “so starting the search now is recommended.”

Obviously, Ferris isn’t going to get a kidney from a three-year-old living donor. So let’s look at a few things . . .

First, from the Kidney Foundation of Canada (kidney.ca):

“A living kidney donation comes most often from a family member such as a parent, child, brother or sister. A donor can also be a spouse, friend or co-worker. Or it can be a stranger. A genetic link between donor and recipient, although beneficial, is not always required. This is largely due to improved anti-rejection medications.

“A good living donor candidate is someone who is healthy, well-informed and makes a voluntary decision to donate one of their kidneys. Living donors must be over 18 and usually less than 70 years of age. They must be in good general health . . .”

So if you are older than 18, you are eligible to be a kidney donor.

While it is preferred that donors be under the age of 70, there are stories of donors who have been older. Health, both physical and mental, plays a huge role in donor eligibility, no matter the age.

When it comes to children, it would seem that having a live donor is the best option.

A 1982 report published in The Journal of Pediatrics reached this conclusion:

“We conclude that because of donor availability, capacity for good donor-recipient matching, and minimization of time on dialysis, transplantation of adult kidneys into pediatric patients is preferable to awaiting the relatively uncommon pediatric cadaver donor. We further conclude that the procedure is warranted.”

Despite the passage of time, it doesn’t seem that there has been any change to that conclusion.

Meanwhile, there is this from webmd.com:

“The reason most hospitals suggest an age minimum of 18 for kidney donors isn’t because a young kidney is too small. Studies have shown that a kidney from a six-year-old is all right to transplant into an adult.

“Instead, the main reason is that people under 18 are minors and can’t legally give their ‘informed consent’ proving that they agree to the procedure. Also, some genetic kidney diseases won’t have started to cause symptoms yet in young children and teenagers, so it’s hard to know if their kidneys may be affected by disease. . . .

“Kidneys from younger donors seem to work better over the long term. But people who get older kidneys are just as likely to be alive five years after a transplant as those who receive younger kidneys. Plus, the chances of complications from the procedure, and of organ rejection — when someone’s immune system attacks their new kidney — are the same with kidneys from all age groups.

“The takeaway from these studies is that kidneys from older donors can work, but younger people in need of a kidney may want to consider being matched with younger donors.”

There also is this, from stanfordchildrens.org: “A child older than age two can generally receive an adult kidney. There is usually enough space in the child’s belly for the new kidney to fit.”


Yes, it is that time of the year, again.

I am married to a woman who had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. That doesn’t mean she has been cured of kidney disease; there isn’t a cure.

Having had a transplant, she must take anti-rejection medications in order to keep her system from rejecting the foreign object that now lives in the lower right side of her abdomen. Some of those medications — she takes them every 12 hours — are immunosuppressants, so her immune system is compromised.

So, yes, I get an annual flu shot. In fact, I got poked on Friday.

You have no idea how many people who are walking around out there have suppressed immune systems or are unable to get a flu shot for medical reasons.

Here is Nicole Basta of the U of Minnesota, the senior author of a study on “herd immunity,” in a story by Lisa Rapaport of Reuters:

“The more people who are vaccinated in a community, the lower the risk that influenza will be able to spread even if the vaccine does not perfectly protect against the disease.

“Influenza spreads by creating chains of transmission whereby one infected person infects additional people and those individuals infect others with whom they come in contact.”

Rapaport’s story is right here.

Flushot





Vosburgh of Kamloops donates a kidney. . . . Recipient: “She changed my life.”

CherylVosburgh
Cheryl Vosburgh of Kamloops, who knows all about being a living kidney donor, addresses the crowd during the city’s 2019 Kidney Walk. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

To a person experiencing kidney failure, there are a number of advantages to being fortunate enough to get a transplant from a live donor.

From the Kidney Foundation of Canada website:

“The organ donation and transplant surgeries can be scheduled when both the donor and recipient are in the best possible health. This will help to ensure the quality of the donated kidney is at its highest. The amount of time between removing the kidney from the donor and transplanting it into the recipient is shorter than for a deceased donation. This may help the transplanted kidney to function better and/or last longer.

The length of time the recipient waits for an organ to become available is shorter when the organ comes from a living donor. Also, other recipients on the transplant waiting list who do not have a living donor themselves move up the transplant waiting list once the recipient of the living donor kidney is removed from the list. In that way, other people waiting for a kidney transplant also benefit from a living donation.”

There also are some other advantages, as pointed out on the Foundation’s website:

“A transplanted kidney from a living donor often lasts longer. This is partly due to more time being available to do the necessary tests to get a better tissue match between donor and recipient. A better tissue match means higher compatibility and less risk of organ rejection.

The kidney from a living donor is usually healthier than an organ from a deceased donor and may last longer: 15 to 20 years on average, compared to 10 to 15 years for a deceased kidney donation. This is largely because extensive testing is done on the donor to ensure the donor has excellent kidney function.

“A kidney from a living donor usually works right away in the recipient. A kidney from a deceased donor may take days or weeks before it starts to work normally. In the meantime, the recipient may need dialysis treatments.”

And let’s not forget about this: For the donor, it is a very positive psychological experience knowing that he or she has helped someone in need.”

All of which brings us to the story of John Glenn Miller of Vancouver and Cheryl Vosburgh, who lives in Kamloops.

“Two years ago,” writes Cheryl Chan of Postmedia, “John Glenn Miller pushed through his embarrassment and discomfort to make a plea online for a new kidney. Today, he’s a new man — thanks to a priceless gift from a stranger.”

Vosburgh was that stranger.

A story about Miller, who has 12-year-old twin sons, appeared in a Vancouver newspaper in April 2017. He needed a kidney. As he waited and hoped that a match would somehow be found, and while he was on dialysis, Vosburgh made the decision to donate a kidney.

In researching the issue of kidney donation, she came across that 2017 story about Miller. Things worked out and the surgery was performed at Vancouver General Hospital on Aug. 21.

Chan’s story can be found in the tweet that is below.

Vosburgh, 59, lives in Kamloops and attended her first Kamloops Kidney Support Group gathering exactly three weeks after having had surgery. We were an enthralled group as we listened to her tell her story.

She also said that she wants to continue to advocate for organ donation and transplantation. If you are thinking about being a live kidney donor and have any questions, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com and I will get you in touch with Vosburgh.


Dogs
When Kamloops’ 2019 Kidney Walk was held at McDonald Park on Sept. 22, organizers welcomed four-legged walkers, too. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)
Breakfast
Yes, those of us who took part in the 2019 Kidney Walk Kamloops had enough sausages to eat with our breakfast, thanks to the Brock Central Lions Club. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

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ThankYou