Ridley rocks broadcast No. 4,000; WHL’s first Ridley Award goes to broadcast legend . . . BCHL to gov’t: Let us play or we’re done

There isn’t any doubt but that the highlight of the opening weekend of WHL play occurred in Medicine Hat on Saturday night when Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Tigers on CHAT, called his 4,000th game. . . . The hometown Tigers beat the Red Deer Rebels, 7-2, giving Ridley lots of goals to call. . . . Congratulations, Bob. The only thing missing was the fans, but had the house been packed the standing ovation would have delayed the start of the game by, oh, about an hour. . . . Ridley, 76, is the only play-by-play man the Tigers and their fans have known since they entered the league in time for the 1970-71 season. . . . Prior to Saturday’s game, the WHL introduced the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence and named Ridley as its first recipient. There is a news release right here. . . . I would suggest that Ridley should have been named the only recipient. I mean, how high is the bar? Don’t forget that Ridley also drove the team bus for 45 seasons. Who else has done that? . . . It’s only surprising that Ridley isn’t in the Coffee Drinkers Hall of Fame, assuming there is such an honour. . . . I used to wonder why there wasn’t a country tune about a bus-driving play-by-play man. . . . Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News has more on Ridley right here.


For quite a while during this pandemic, I would post a lot of virus-related statistics. But I stopped in recent times because it is apparent that the numbers don’t mean anything to so many people. . . . I came to the realization a few weeks ago that people had become numb or desensitized to them. Does it matter to anyone that as of Saturday at 4 p.m. PT, Canada had 30,864 active cases and had experienced 21,960 deaths? Or that, as of 9 p.m. PT, there had been 2,524,413 deaths worldwide, with the United States’ total at 524,669? . . . Perhaps you have to have a personal connection to COVID-19 before the scope of all the numbers really hits you. Maybe you have to have lost a friend to it, or maybe you need to known a kidney transplant recipient whose donor died of COVID-19. Maybe you need to have a granddaughter whose daycare was impacted by community transmission that began at a trivia night in a big city bar before you realize — really realize — what’s going on here. . . . BTW, that trivia night has been linked to at least 300 cases.

“On March 17, 2020, Ontario and Alberta declared states of emergency,” writes Brooke Taylor of CTVNews.ca. “By March 20, when B.C., Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba also declared states of emergency, Canada had a total of 215 new cases of COVID-19, with a seven-day average of 127 cases. Eleven months later, on Feb. 25, 2021, Canada added 3,094 cases with a seven-day average of 2,961.”

Taylor’s story on how Canadians have become desensitized to the numbers is right here and it’s well worth a read.


NBC News — New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, goes into lockdown after 1 new COVID-19 case found. . . . The lockdown will allow people to leave home only for essential shopping and essential work. . . . New Zealand, one of the most successful developed nations in controlling the spread of the pandemic, has seen just over 2,000 cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.



Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “The (Los Angeles) Dodgers did well to re-sign 36-year-old third baseman Justin Turner, described as ‘the heart and soul of this team’ by catcher Austin Barnes and many teammates. Turner wasn’t punished for his reckless display in the World Series — yanked from Game 6 after testing positive for the coronavirus, he showed up without a mask for much of the on-field celebration — but what’s the point? That is today’s America, jam-packed with folks who ridicule the pandemic and feel they’re quite above it all.”

——

One more note from Jenkins: “Heed these words from old friend Dusty Baker, who got his second vaccination shot Feb. 5: ‘I’m still pretending like I didn’t get my shots. You just can’t let your guard down, because there’s still so much about it that we don’t know.’ ”


Brush


Government and medical officials in Nova Scotia have shut down sports games in the province for four weeks. The order went into effect on Saturday. At the same time, practices are allowed for groups up to 25. The move follows the announcement of eight new cases on Thursday and 10 on Friday. . . . The 12-team Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, which played four games on Friday night, cancelled its season as of Saturday, 8 a.m., “due to the uncertainty of the future decisions of the N.S. government.”


Meanwhile, the QMJHL’s three New Brunswick-based teams — the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs — have received clearance from health officials to return to play on March 8. According to a QMJHL news release, the three teams “will only play against each other in March with fans in the buildings.” . . . Those teams last played in late November. Moncton has played 13 games, with the other two each having played 15.


Bob Mackin of theBreaker.news reported Saturday that the 17-team BCHL “is on the cusp of cancelling its season” if provincial officials “do not approve an amended season proposal by March 3.” . . . That, of course, would be Wednesday. . . . In a Feb. 26 letter to officials, which was obtained by theBreaker.news, Chris Hebb, the league’s commissioner, wrote: “We are simply out of time and can’t make our players and their parents wait any longer. The clock has run out.” . . . Mackin reported: “If the BCHL does not get the go-ahead by March 3 for its return-to-play plan, Hebb wrote that a motion will be prepared for team owners to vote March 4 to cancel the season.” . . . The BCHL’s return-to-play plan includes having teams play in five hub communities. . . . Mackin’s story is right here.


Danton Danielson no longer is the head coach of the U18 AAA Prince Albert Mintos. He been in the position for two seasons. In making the announcement via Twitter, Danielson said that his decision was “based on family considerations. My wife and I will be moving our family back to Saskatoon so that she can return to her job . . . and so that we can be close to our family support system.”


ICYMI, Taran Kozun, a former WHL goaltender, has joined his sixth team of this season, the ECHL’s Allen Americans. . . . Before heading to Allen, Kozun, the WHL’s top goaltender in 2014-15 with the Seattle Thunderbirds, had gotten into one game with each of the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks, Indy Fuel, Rapid City Rush and Orlando Solar Bears, and the SPHL’s Pensacola Ice Flyers. . . . He already has played in four games with the Americans. . . . Kozun, 26, was the goaltender of the year in Canadian university hockey in each of the previous two seasons while with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies.


Stars


——

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.


Kid

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

What a kid! Smiling Ferris turns 4 . . . Scully looking for living donors . . . Nova Scotia opt-out program looking good

Ferris1
Despite a medical procedure earlier Friday, Ferris Backmeyer was able to have a great sucker-sucking time at her fourth birthday bash. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

Ferris Backmeyer celebrated her fourth birthday on Friday in Vancouver.

Ferris, who is from Kamloops, underwent a medical procedure earlier in the day — she also had one on Wednesday — before being able to take part in the birthday party mostly planned by older sisters Tavia, 9, and Ksenia, 7.

Ferris2
When Ferris got back from the hospital, her big sisters had their Vancouver residence all decked out and it was time to party. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

Ferris is an amazing young lady, having already gone through what would seem to be a lifetime worth of medical situations. If you aren’t aware, she has been in kidney failure for most of her life, meaning that she has been doing dialysis — either hemo or peritoneal — for most of that time.

“Being in kidney failure is all she knows and I can’t wait for her to be free of dialysis,” her mother, Lindsey, wrote on Facebook. “I can’t wait to see how she’s gonna soar!”

Having gained the necessary weight, Ferris has been on the transplant list for almost a year now and, after one false alarm earlier this month, her family can only continue to wait and hope.

So how is Ferris at 4?

According to Lindsey, “Three was such a big year for her. She had very few words a year ago and now has sooooo much to say. . . . She has endured a lot of medical procedures and I’m always so amazed at how well she does. She’s showing all the nurses and doctors her sassy personality and, aside from being ridiculously cute, she’s pretty funny too!”

It’s never a fun time when your child is on the receiving end of a medical procedure, and that was the case for the Backmeyers on Wednesday and Friday.

But after Friday’s latest adventure was over . . .

“The ship must sail on so to speak,” Lindsey wrote, “and we had a birthday to get ready for. Being true to myself I was up until 2 a.m. finishing the piñata . . . she ‘lubbed’ it!

“She’s really where one would expect if not better for being post op. Lots of sitting and playing (Friday) and standing only to brush her teeth before bedtime. Regular Tylenol and pretty sore at times needing to lay down. We got to bring her home after dialysis and the girls were soooo excited! They had the place all set up. It was perfect.”

Now about that kidney . . .


You may recall hearing or reading about Scully White, the gentleman who operates a hot dog stand at a Canadian Tire in Abbotsford, B.C., and donated a kidney to a customer before Christmas. . . . Well, White now has launched a campaign — It’s For The People — aimed at finding live kidney donors. As Vikki Hopes reports, White “has about 10 people looking for kidneys and about 12 donors who have started the process of blood and tissue sampling.” . . . Hopes has a whole lot more on this story right here.


The head of Nova Scotia’s organ donation program is cautiously optimistic the new presumed consent law is being embraced after seeing the latest numbers on the province’s opt-out registry,” writes Carolyn Ray of CBC News. “Nova Scotia became the first place in North America to switch to an opt-out organ and tissue donation law on Jan. 18. It presumes all adults consent to be donors, unless they say otherwise. Just 10 days after the law was implemented, the Department of Health and Wellness says 11,800 Nova Scotians have registered to opt out. That’s about one per cent of the province’s population.” . . . Ray’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.


Want to feel awesome in less than 2 minutes? Register as an organ donor today. 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives. Taketwominutes.ca #TakeTwoMinutes. 

Numbers are in: 39,034 organ transplants in U.S.; 1,415 in Ontario . . . COVID-19 vaccine info here for transplant/dialysis patients

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has released the numbers and they show that a total of 39,034 organ transplants were performed in the United States in 2020.

That total, which isn’t broken down, represents transplants from living and deceased donors, and it’s the second-highest on record, behind only the record 39,719 performed in 2019.

The decrease is due to a falling off in transplant surgery involving live donors that is directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is good news in that the pace of living donor transplantation has picked up since June.

From a UNOS news release: “Many transplant programs temporarily deferred living donor transplantation in areas particularly affected by outbreaks of the virus due to concerns of unnecessarily exposing potential living donors and living donor recipients to possible COVID-19 infection. A total of 5,725 living donor transplants were performed in 2020, a decrease of 22.6 percent over the record of 7,397 set in 2019. Living donor transplants since June of 2020 have occurred at rates more similar to pre-pandemic activity.”

In the U.S., organ donation from deceased donors rose for a 10th straight year, with 12,587 people providing one or more organs, up six per cent from 2019, according to UNOS.

From that UNOS news release: “A record 36,548 organs from deceased donors were transplanted, either individually or in multi-organ combinations. This resulted in 33,309 people receiving life-saving transplants from deceased donors in 2020 — setting another annual record for the eighth consecutive year. This occurred despite significant adverse effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, where deceased donor transplantation briefly fell by approximately 50 percent in early April before returning to a more consistent baseline in late May.”

That news release is right here.

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The Trillium Gift of Life Network, which monitors organ donation and transplants in Ontario, shows that there were 1,415 transplants conducted there in what it refers to as the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Those transplants involved 529 kidneys from deceased donors, 227 kidneys from living donors, 228 livers from deceased donors, 70 livers from living donors, 97 hearts and 208 lungs.

Trillium also reports “more than 176,000” new donor registrations, meaning there now are 4,3 million registered donors in Ontario. That was an increase of 35 per cent for 2018-19. Interestingly, 51 per cent of the deceased donors were registered.








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.


What takes 2 minutes? Brushing your teeth. Picking a Netflix movie. Registering as an organ donor. #TakeTwoMinutes and register now. Taketwominutes.ca #Register2Give

The Backmeyers “got the call!!!!” . . . Transplant may be next for Ferris . . . Kamloops parents continue search for kidney for son

LindsFerris
Mother and sleeping daughter, Lindsey and Ferris Backmeyer, before leaving for Vancouver and, hopefully, a new chapter. (PHOTO: Lindsey Backmeyer)

The phone call came and Ferris Backmeyer, her mother, Lindsey, and father, Pat, left their home in Kamloops for B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver on Tuesday morning.

In the wee hours of that morning, Lindsey, below a photo of her and a sleeping Ferris, who is soon to turn four, posted on Facebook:

“We got the call!!! In a few short hours I will be waking this sweet girl up and packing her into the truck and driving her to BCCH . . . where hopefully she will get a beautifully healthy kidney!!!!”

Later on Tuesday morning, Lindsey’s father, Ken Maydaniuk, posted:

“This girl is on her way to the BCCH with mom and dad. A call came during the night that a they have a kidney for Ferris. Grandma and the bigs will follow. Fingers crossed for Ferris and family that the surgery will all workout. That’s a great Christmas gift. . . . We’re all very grateful for the massive support the family has received.”

Grandma is Lindsey’s mother, Leslie, while the “bigs” are Ferris’s older sisters Ksenia and Tavia.

Ferris, of course, is hardly a stranger to BCCH, having first been there when she was three weeks old. She was diagnosed with Mainzer-Saldino syndrome and it wasn’t long before she experienced kidney failure.

For the vast majority of her young life, then, Ferris has been on dialysis, mostly peritoneal dialysis (PD), something that can be done while at home and is done on a daily basis. On the occasions when there have been issues with PD, she has had to return to BCCH and transition to hemodialysis, at least until the PD situation was straightened out.

Of late, Ferris has been experiencing problems with PD, especially when it comes to draining, which means she has been retaining fluid. She was scheduled to return to BCCH early in January to be transitioned to hemo in an attempt to quell those issues. In time, and without a kidney available. it was hoped that she would be able to go back to PD and return home.

Now, however, it seems that there is a living donor who has passed all the tests and things just may be ready to go. It was almost a year and a half ago that the Backmeyers were given the OK to begin a public search for a donor, and that’s when Lindsey turned to Facebook in an attempt to find someone willing to offer up a kidney for her donor.

Now it seems as though the search may be over.

Ferris, you got this little girl!







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.

Some children want their two front teeth for Christmas; Ferris would like a kidney

Ferris
No matter the situation, Ferris Backmeyer seems able to find a smile for us. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

Ferris Backmeyer and her family will be together for Christmas at their Kamloops home. And if things go really well Santa Claus will gift Ferris with a new kidney. Please Santa!

Ferris, who will turn four years of age early in the new year, spent about four hours at B.C. Children’s Hospital (BCCH) in Vancouver last week. At some point early in January, she will be on her way back there, but this time she’ll be there for a while; in fact, her mother, Lindsey, expects it to be perhaps March or even longer before they’re back home.

Ferris2
There are times when Ferris fancies herself a bit of an artist. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

In the early days of her life, Ferris was diagnosed with Mainzer-Saldino syndrome, a rare disease that, among other things, causes kidney failure. As a result, she has been on dialysis for almost three years now.

For the most part, Ferris has been able to do peritoneal dialysis (PD) at home — hooking up to a machine called a cycler every day.

Of late, however, there have been some issues with Ferris’s PD, especially in the area of draining. When someone does PD, the cycler performs a fluid exchange, removing toxins from the body and inserting clean fluids, doing the work normally done by healthy kidneys. Lately, though, Ferris’s PD hasn’t been working as cleanly as it needs to be.

So . . . early in January the medical team is expected to put her back on hemodialysis. As Lindsey points out, hemo “requires treatment four days a week so commuting from here really isn’t feasible.”

When Ferris and Lindsey go to Vancouver, it requires a team effort, with Lindsey’s mother helping out with the older sisters, Ksenia and Tavia.

As for Ferris, Lindsey says doctors “don’t plan to repair her abdomen right away. They are hoping fluid will get pulled off or will reabsorb.”

In a conversation with a nephrologist earlier this week, Lindsey says she was told that after Ferris underwent an MRI last week “he was surprised to see that there was a good amount of fluid in there. I can’t say that I am . . . it’s quite obvious there’s a good amount of fluid in there!”

The hope is that after some time on hemo, Ferris can have another catheter inserted into her abdomen and then transition back to PD. Unless a kidney comes available, that is.

“So we will go down. With no estimated return date. I feel like March will be a very best-case scenario . . . It’s crazy because they ‘gave us Christmas’ but we are feeling more isolated than ever. Christmas is going to be different and lonely just like living in Vancouver is.”

LindseyFerris
Lindsey and Ferris, a loving combination. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

After the latest stint in Vancouver, this one short, Lindsey wrote on Facebook that “everyone is hopeful a kidney will fall out of the sky before or during that time” in Vancouver in January.

But, at least for now, Lindsey and Ferris are at home, along with the other three family members — Dad Pat and Ksenia and Tavia.

And the stress is there, too, having moved in like a bad boarder who just won’t leave.

When Lindsey posts on Facebook, the words sag under the weight that she and Pat carry with them on a daily basis.

“So we are at home,” she wrote. “It feels like the conditions for being able to stay here are many. Her dialysis management is more complex than ever. We were sent home without a dialysis prescription. We will be using how she looks/feels and her blood pressures to determine what we do each night from now until then, which means daily communication with all the Information. I’m fine with that if it means getting to be home right now. I get it and could totally just do our thing.

“It’s the gathering of information, the emails, the phone calls that wear me down. So many feelings really. So much shit to figure out.”

My wife, Dorothy, underwent a kidney transplant in September 2013 after almost four years of doing PD. So we dealt with kidney disease in our home for some time. But, and we talk about this on a regular basis, our load was and continues to be so tiny compared to what the Backmeyers have on their shoulders.

While working to steer Ferris through all of this, Ksenia and Tavia can’t be forgotten. There is schooling and friends and Lindsey’s work and Pat’s schooling and everything else that goes into the daily rigours of life. Oh, and let’s not forget that we have spent most of the past year living with this intruder — COVID-19 — having disrupted our lives.

“The wheels feel like they are falling off with all the logistics,” Lindsey wrote, and who can blame her, “but, man, you really wouldn’t know anything big is going on if you saw Ferris.

“She was definitely better a month ago (energy-wise), but she’s still as fiery as ever. Plays hard most of the day. Chatty as ever and forever the tiny dictator. She’s having big success in the potty-training department. She’s just so so sweet and my heart is sad for her.

“All any of us want for Christmas is a kidney for this sweet girl!!!”

Santa, are you listening?

——

Meanwhile, Julie Dodds of Kamloops, who underwent a kidney transplant on Oct. 28 and returned home less than four weeks later, was back at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver for a follow-up appointment earlier this week.

All went well and the married mother of three boys is well on her way.

The next step comes next week when her file should be transferred to the Kamloops renal clinic at Royal Inland Hospital.

What a Christmas present for Julie and her family!

——

BTW, the 2021 Kidney Walk of Kamloops will be held virtually, as it was in 2020. Yes, Dorothy will be taking part, as she has since 2014. . . . She already has registered and her granddaughters, Averi and Kara, already have joined her team. If you are interested in making a donation — perhaps you are looking for a tax receipt for this year’s filing — you are able to do so right here.

——

I have written here before about how hard it is for someone with kidney disease and in need of a transplant to ask a family member, a friend or anyone else to consider being a donor. It’s not like asking for a $20 loan or to borrow a book or a hammer. This goes so much deeper than that and, in a lot of instances, the person needing the kidney has to overcome the feeling of not wanting to put their problem on someone else’s shoulders.

In an attempt to help their son find a kidney, a couple we know have come up with a terrific idea. They have had 75 Christmas cards made up and will send them to family and friends. Included will be information about their son and contact information for the Living Kidney Donor Program, contact information like this . . .

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.

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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

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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

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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.





Christmas to remember for Dodds family . . . Julie’s coming home with new kidney this weekend . . . She had transplant on Oct. 28

Julie Dodds is coming home!

Julie, a mother of three young boys from Kamloops, underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Oct. 28. She was released from hospital four days later and has been staying in a hotel near the hospital, while returning for bloodwork and to meet with her transplant team.

JulieUmbrella
Julie Dodds will be leaving the wet weather of the West Coast for the sunshine of Kamloops on Sunday. Hey, after you have had a kidney transplant the sun always shines. (PHOTO: Julie Dodds)

She was told Thursday that she has been cleared to return home this weekend. So her husband, Allan, and the boys will be bringing her home on Sunday.

When she is back in Kamloops, she will be under the care of the fantastic renal team at Royal Inland Hospital that is headed up by Dr. Joslyn Conley and includes Dr. Kathryn Scobie and Dr. Vanbric Casilla.

Julie says she will “still have to do blood work twice a week” and will have “virtual appointments on Fridays” with the team at St. Paul’s Hospital. She also will return to St. Paul’s for appointments on Dec. 7.
“Obviously something could come up here or there and I’ll be back,” she said, “but I’m taking this good news for today and enjoying the idea of hugging my kids for the first time in three and a half weeks!!”

Julie was in Stage 4 kidney failure thanks to a genetic kidney disease called Medullary Kidney Disease Type 1. She was fortunate in that she was able to get a transplant before having to go on dialysis, and the donor was her younger brother, Jason Brauer, who is from Port McNeill, B.C. He was discharged from hospital one day after surgery. A transplant before dialysis is needed and involving a sibling is pretty much a best-case scenario when it comes to kidney transplants.

You can bet that this will be a Christmas to remember for the Dodds family of Kamloops.

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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

——

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.


Dante Sebastian Andreatta was 12 years of age — he would have turned 13 in December — when he died on Nov. 11. Four days earlier, he had been caught in the crossfire of a shooting in North York, Ont. He was grocery shopping with his mother at the time. . . . An online fund-raising campaign shared with CTV News Toronto reads:“It’s with heavy hearts that we mourn a life that was taken too soon, but one that has not left in vain. Dante’s kindness and generosity will live on through nine lives that were saved because of his organ donation.” . . . Beth Macdonell of iheartradio.ca has more right here.







A wife’s plea: ‘We are reaching out to everyone in dire-desperation to find a living donor for Vic’

Vic2Are you ready for some numbers?

You are. Great.

For starters, take a guess at how many people in B.C. were waiting (and hoping) for a kidney transplant as of July 31.

According to BC Transplant, there were 633 B.C. residents in that situation.

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Vic Morin of Kamloops is one of them.

His wife, Colleen Bruce, told Vic’s story a year ago. Earlier this week, she provided an update:

“It now has been close to one year since my last posting on Vic and his struggles with kidney disease. There have been a lot of changes in our lives over the past year.

“Vic was put on emergency hemodialysis in the middle of September 2019.  Vic now has transitioned to full-time peritoneal dialysis that he does at home eight hours a night, seven days a week. This dialysis is done at night while he is sleeping.

“Over the past year his health has unfortunately declined. He doesn’t have the energy to do much anymore due to the kidney disease. Even going for walks is a big struggle, but he does try his best a few times a week.

“We really were hoping that the dialysis would give him more spark and energy, but because the kidneys are so diseased, this isn’t the case. He needs a kidney now more then ever.

“We had a virtual appointment with our doctor from St. Paul’s Hospital in early August. He said Vic’s wait for a kidney from a deceased donor could be up to four years for his blood type. As well, the doctor wasn’t sure that Vic’s arteries that attach to the kidney would be strong enough for a kidney transplant in four years.

“The doctor told us that Vic’s only option now is to receive a kidney transplant from a living donor within a year.

“So once again we are reaching out to everyone in dire-desperation to find a living donor for Vic. We created the accompanying poster in hopes of reaching as many people as we can.

“Please keep in mind that you don’t need to be an exact blood-type match to become a donor for Vic, as St. Paul’s Hospital has a paired exchange program. This means that the donor and Vic (recipient) will enter into the paired exchange program.

“Here is how it works:

“Donor A wishes to donate a kidney to Recipient A, but they are not a match. Donor B would like to donate a kidney to Recipient B, but they are not a match. However, Donor A is a match with Recipient B and Donor B is a match with Recipient A. A paired exchange can then be completed.

“Again, we are needing to get our story out to as many people as will listen. If you have ever considered becoming a kidney donor, or would like more information, please contact the donor nurse co-ordinator at St.  Paul’s Hospital by calling 604-806-9027 (1-877-922-9822) or by emailing donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca. Please mention Louis Victor Morin.”

——

More numbers, thanks to BC Transplant . . .

As of July 31, there had been 133 kidney transplants conducted in the province — 89 involving deceased donors, 44 from living donors.

All told, BC Transplant was following 3,540 post-transplant patients.

In the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap area, which includes Kamloops, there were 1,217 people with chronic kidney disease. . . . There were 71 people from that area on the transplant list. . . . All told, there were 78 people doing hemodialysis, with another 31 doing peritoneal dialysis.

Think about all the numbers for a moment and you will realize that kidney disease isn’t going anywhere.

——

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.

Ferris and Lindsey Backmeyer: A mother’s love is everything when her child continues to fight . . .

If you’re a regular here, you will know that we have been paying particular attention to Ferris Backmeyer and her family, who are from Kamloops.

That’s because her mother, Lindsey, has been keeping friends and family (and us) updated on Ferris via Facebook.

Lindsey has poured out a mother’s heart in her posts, refusing to hold anything back. She has written with angst and anger and pain and, yes, even some humour as Ferris, at just three years of age, continues to travel a road that hopefully will end with a kidney transplant.

The outpouring of emotions is understandable as Lindsey helps guide husband Pat and Ferris’s two sisters — Tavia and Ksenia — through all of this.

The older girls — the “bigs” as Lindsey refers to them — were in Vancouver for three weeks before returning home with Lindsey’s mother after the weekend.

Lindsey and Pat now are completely focused on getting Ferris through this rough patch, helping her get well enough to go back on the transplant list, and back home. But the last bit hasn’t been an easy stretch.

For example, here’s a bit from a Facebook post by Lindsey on July 20 after doctors implanted a central dialysis line:

“Ferris had complications intraoperatively. The line was technically difficult because of her anatomy and while they were placing it they irritated her heart. Her higher potassium levels lower her threshold for things like that and she went into a PEA arrest. She had roughly 3 minutes of CPR and 1 dose of epinephrine when they got her pulse back. She was hypoxemic and difficult to ventilate for a bit afterwards. They were confident that it was noticed very quickly and that she responded fairly quickly. Thankfully they were able to extubate her and pull her art line before going to the dialysis unit.”

One day later, Lindsey wrote:

IV
Despite all that she has been through, Ferris Backmeyer, 3, can still find a smile for the camera. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

“As for today . . . she’s super low key but perked up by evening and wanted to go to the beach and build sand castles . . . so that’s what we did:) she spent about 5 minutes total on her feet today but that’s okay!! Lots of couch time. She’s sore and much happier with Tylenol on board. I’d be lying if I am not super anxious/protective over her right now. She has little pen crosses on her pulses and blood in her hair that I rinsed off into a paper towel. A bath was not a today thing. She has no idea what a big day yesterday was, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.”

Last Thursday, Ferris had more surgery as a peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter was implanted. She had been doing PD at home when fungal peritonitis brought it all crashing down. That resulted in this most-recent trek to B.C. Children’s Hospital and all that has followed.

After Thursday was over, Lindsey, her emotions on her sleeve by now, wrote: “It was a super hard, inpatient kinda day.”

A day later, there were more complications, this time with cell counts.

“The question of when she could get listed again (for a transplant) comes up and at this point we just don’t know,” Lindsey wrote. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shattered by today’s news.

“My heart is breaking for Ferris. She normally takes all the medical stuff in stride and right now she’s really struggling. I call it a trauma cry because it’s one I have hardly ever seen before and she looks like she’s being tortured. With things she used to handle like a champ. As she gets older navigating her mental health is so much more challenging and so ridiculously important!”

The next day, doctors had to put in an IV line, which brought this response from Lindsey:

“Oh man . . . after posting how she’s not doing so well coping . . first time ever IV placement without tears! This is her 5th IV this go-round and she’s not left with a lot of sites. She was so ridiculously cute and compliant for the nurse and she was friggin amazing with Ferris! Decent end to a not so awesome day!!”

And now the Backmeyers are playing something of a waiting game. As Lindsey wrote on Monday:

Couch
Ferris likes the couch a whole lot more than a hospital bed. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

“So far the cultures haven’t grown anything! They have stopped the antibiotics. Gonna repeat a sample on Wednesday and if cell counts have trended down will likely drop the antifungals (she’s been on fluconazole since we got down here a month ago). Then it will be a bit of a wait-and-see. I think they will go ahead and start using the catheter as planned. Best case scenario . . . home in a couple of weeks!! Trying so desperately to remain optimistic!!

“Ferris wants nothing to do with a hospital bed after she gets out of it in the morning. All bad things start with that bed . . . I can’t really blame her! She’s passed out on the couch the last 3 nights. Hoping for a super uneventful week!!”

BTW, Lindsey and Pat celebrated their 16th anniversary last week.

“Happy Anniversary to the most incredible momma bear,” Pat wrote, above a photo of a snarling grizzly bear. On the photo, it read: “Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ And the mama bear whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’ ”

——

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


Here’s the deal on the above tweet. . . . It’s the story of Carrie, who has had a heart transplant and now has met the family of her donor. . . . From the Provincial Health Services Authority: “Filmed in February 2020, Carrie finally got to hug the family of Darcy, her organ donor. After 17 years of writing letters to each other, she was met with open arms by his mother Marie and brother Daryl in a first ever face-to-face meeting.” . . . The video is right here.