OHL sets opening date, while WHL has some legitimate questions . . . Yankees, Phillies have COVID-19 issues . . . Hulak running back to Saskatoon

Parachute


When you’re trying to figure out who are the powerbrokers in the WHL, you have to know that Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, is among the select few.

He was been a WHL owner since 1991 when he purchased the Tri-City WHL2Americans. He sold that franchise in 2000 and has been the Giants’ majority owner since he paid $2 million for an expansion team and got it on the ice for the 2001-02 season.

The point being that if you’re a WHL fan, you should be paying attention when Toigo speaks, as he did last week in an interview with Postmedia’s Steve Ewen.

This particular Ewen story dealt primarily with Toigo’s reaction to having the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks move their AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets, into the Abbotsford Centre, which is 34 km east of the Langley Events Centre, the facility the Giants call home.

However, it sounded like Toigo had a lot more on his mind concerning the 2021-22 season than having an AHL team nearby.

“Are people going to be allowed to come to games?” Toigo said as he looked ahead a few months. “If they are, how many will you be allowed to have in the rink? And, if they are allowed to come, how many are going to want to? There are still a lot of question marks.”

If this is what’s on Toigo’s mind, you can bet that this is the kind of conversation that has been happening whenever the WHL’s board of governors — or even the executive committee that includes Toigo — have hooked up for a meeting.

In other words, WHL teams are well aware that they may not be able to open the doors and invite everyone in come October.

The best quote I have seen recently on what’s ahead for all of us came from Gerrit Cole, the New York Yankees’ ace right-hander.

“I don’t think this is going to be over for a few years,” he said one day last week. “I think we’re going to be dealing with this kind of thing for a while. Every time these things come up, we’re gonna have to adapt and learn as a species. So, well, we’re gonna take it one step at a time and do the best we can with it.”

I would suggest that is exactly what the WHL and its teams will be doing — one step at a time and doing the best they can under the circumstances.


BettyWhite


The OHL, which wasn’t able to get in any games in a 2020-21 season that it ohlultimately cancelled on April 20, announced on Thursday that its 2021-22 regular season will open on Oct. 7. . . . Training camps are to open on Sept. 4. The schedule, which hasn’t yet been revealed, will call for each team to play 68 games, with playoffs to begin on April 7 and run through May 30. . . . The OHL release has the Memorial Cup, which is to be held in a QMJHL city yet to be named, running from June 2-12.

Here’s hoping that the OHL is able to meet these dates, which would mean that the WHL would be able to start up about the same time. However, that fly on the wall in the OHL office actually was the virus in disguise. “Hmm,” it buzzed. “We’ll see . . .”



The New York Yankees have reported eight positive tests among players, coaches and support staff. That includes one player — SS Gleyber Torres, who went on the COVID-19 protocol list on Thursday. Torres, who had tested positive during the offseason, has been fully vaccinated, as have each of the other seven people who tested positive. They all were given the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. . . . All eight of them are asymptomatic. That includes pitching coach Matt Blake, third-base coach Phil Nevin, who had symptoms early on, first-base coach Reggie Willits and four members of the travelling staff. All are quarantining  in Tampa. . . . Yankees GM Brian Cashman said: “The one thing I take from this is that the vaccines are working. . . . It will save you and protect you from a lot more than what you think.” . . .

The Philadelphia Phillies have placed C J.T. Realmuto on the COVID-19 protocol list after her reported a stomach ache and fever on Wednesday night. He was tested for COVID-19 and was found to be negative. But he didn’t travel with the team to Florida on Thursday. . . .

Meanwhile, Bill Maher, the host of Real Time With Bill Maher, has tested positive, forcing cancellation of this week’s taping. Maher, who is fully vaccinated, tested positive during weekly staff testing. He was reported Thursday to be asymptomatic.


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Dorothy will be taking part in her eighth Kamloops Kidney Walk, albeit virtually, on June 6. If you would like to be part of her team, you are able to make a donation right here. . . . Thanks in advance for your generosity.

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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.


JUST NOTES: Derek Hulak has returned to the U of Saskatchewan, where he spent four seasons (2010-14) as a player, to work as an assistant coach with the Huskies under head coach Mike Babcock. Hulak also spent four seasons (2006-10) in the WHL, the first 19 games with the Regina Pats and the remainder with the Saskatoon Blades. Hulak, a 31-year-old native of Saskatoon, announced his retirement after playing eight games this season with HC Thurgau of the Swiss League.


Octopi

John Casey has life in focus while he waits for a kidney transplant . . .

MotherOwl
A mother owl surveys her territory. (Photo: John Casey/Facebook)

There are hundreds of people — yes, hundreds! — waiting and hoping for kidney transplants.

But what do you do while you’re waiting? When you’re not hooked up to a dialysis machine, that is.

John Casey, a friend from the Kamloops Kidney Support Group, is one of those who is waiting . . . and waiting . . . and hoping.

Owlets
At this point, these fuzzy owlets are never far from their mother. (Photo: John Casey/Facebook)

While he waits, he does peritoneal dialysis (PD), meaning he hooks up to a machine called a cycler every night. He has had a catheter surgically inserted and, through it, the cycler does a fluid exchange — toxins out, clean fluids in — while he sleeps.

He and a whole lot of others do this every night. Yes, every single night.

And when he’s not doing PD, John is an avid photographer and loves nothing better than to get out into nature and take a look around. John and his good wife, Marlene, who often doubles as lens carrier, are avid walkers and both have good eyes that allow them to see more than the leaves on the trees.

YellowRumpedWarbler
A sure sign of spring: A yellow rumped warbler chirping from a tree. (Photo: John Casey/Facebook)

For example, they see the mother owl and her owlets where you and I might see some dryer lint stuck in a tree.

At the same time, though, the need for a kidney always is with them.

With that in mind, John recently shared some thoughts on Facebook about life while waiting for a transplant.

“I thought I would put in a little about our latest stage in life.

“We now wait for a kidney transplant.

“It’s been two years now and we are getting used to these things that ‘build character’ — like living on dialysis. Marlene helps so much and is even getting used to the hum of ‘that machine’ every night.

“We are overwhelmed with the care we get from the kidney clinic here in Kamloops. We were meeting each month with a kidney support group for breakfast each month but that is all off now with COVID. We got a great amount of help with them as some have been through a transplant and some, like us, are waiting.

“We see among the ones who have had a transplant some of the happiest people we have ever met. One day at the hospital we met a couple who were coming back home to Kamloops just after they received their transplant. The joy in their spirit was remarkable.

“We are told that it should not be too long for us as we are waiting for a deceased donor. We just wait for the call to head to Vancouver.”

Lynx
This lynx spent part of the early spring terrorizing the mallard population near a Kamloops park. Could he be resting here because of a full stomach? (Photo: John Casey/Facebook)







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

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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

Thunderbirds drop two after racist incident . . . COVID-19 takes chunks out of Fighting Irish, two baseball leagues, NHL


Earlier this week, Geoff Baker, a reporter with the Seattle Times, was writing about Brendan Lee, a forward with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips who was born Everettin Seattle and is of Chinese heritage.

Baker wrote about how Lee was “jolted” by last week’s mass shooting in Atlanta in which six women of Asian descent were killed, something that brought stories of anti-Asian harassment to the forefront.

Baker wrote: “Lee said neither he nor his immediate family have felt targeted, though he’s aware of fears within the broader Asian community. He hopes there’s some role he can play, through hockey, in projecting a positive image of Asian Americans — within that diverse community and beyond.”

Lee told Baker: “It’s horrible what happened. And with the platform I have, I think I can be an influencer. Maybe have somebody look up to me that’s a kid, who can see an American Asian playing hockey — and that it’s a kid from Seattle.”

Let’s move ahead to Thursday now, when Baker was writing this:

“Two teenage forwards with the Seattle Thunderbirds major junior hockey Seattleteam have been released for the remainder of the season for a racial-taunting incident in which the squad’s lone Black player alleged he was called a racial slur and had a banana waved in front of him.

“The players, age 17 and 18, had been suspended the Thunderbirds’ first two Western Hockey League games last weekend after team officials investigated a complaint of racial harassment against a 17-year-old teammate.

“On Thursday the team informed the suspended players they were no longer on the team and would be flown back home to Canada shortly, and removed their names from the roster.”

Baker reported that the Thunderbirds have said neither player will be back next season, although the team will maintain their rights and could trade them.

“Both are awaiting further instructions on when they can return to Canada due to tightened border restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote. “The 17-year-old is from Alberta, the 18-year-old from British Columbia.”

The victim texted Baker: “I am very disappointed with what happened, but I appreciate and respect the way my organization has handled this situation. That’s all I am going to say, and now I just want to focus on our season at hand.”

Baker’s wonderful story on Lee is right here.

Baker’s story involving the Thunderbirds is right here.


Oh boy, is the general manager of the Ottawa Senators going to be sorry about losing his cool in this age of social media, or what? This was Pierre Dorion after his club lost in OT to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night . . .


The Regina Pats broke a 1-1 tie with four straight goals en route to a 5-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in the Regina hub on Thursday. . . . F Carson WHL2Denomie, who went into this developmental season with 35 goals in 198 regular-season games, scored his seventh goal in as many games for the Pats (2-3-2). He also had an assist. . . . Regina F Connor Bedard had two assists, giving the 15-year-old 12 points as he has started his WHL career on a seven-game point streak. . . . F Cole Carrier also had a goal and an assist for Regina, with D Ryker Evans adding two assists. . . . The Raiders (2-3-2) are winless in four games (0-3-1) after opening this developmental season by earning five points in their first three games. . . . Regina lost its captain, F Logan Nijhoff, to a kneeing major at 5:24 of the third period. . . . Prince Albert was without its captain, D Kaiden Guhle, for a fifth straight game due to a hand injury. . . . The Raiders dressed only one goaltender, Carter Serhyenko, because Cam Paddock is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. . . . Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told Jeff D’Andrea of paNOW that “we had a goalie from another team (WInnipeg Ice) in the stands, so if something (had) happened to Carter, he would have dressed. It’s part of the bubble. It’s the way it is.” . . .

In the night’s other game, F Ridly Greig’s first goal of the season, shorthanded at 4:11 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Ice. . . . F Connor Geekie gave the Ice a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Brandon scored three times — F Nate Danielson, F Rylen Roersma and F Jake Chiasson — in a span of 2:17 before the period ended. . . . F Peyton Krebs and F Owen Pederson pulled the Ice (5-2-0) even, the latter scoring on a PP at 2:09 of the third. . . . Winnipeg had won five straight since opening with a 3-2 loss to Brandon on March 13. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-2-1) were without D Braden Schneider for a second straight game. He is listed as day-to-day with what is believed to be an injury to his right knee.


Scarecrow


It was a big day for COVID-19 on the sporting front Thursday. First, it took the Notre Dame Fighting Irish right out of the chase for the NCAA men’s hockey title. And then it took big chunks out of two summer baseball leagues that used to feature lots of U.S. college players. Oh, and it got into the coach staff of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres for the second time this season . . .

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The Fighting Irish were to have taken part in the NCAA Northeast Regional hockey tournament in Albany, N.Y., this weekend. But they have had to withdraw due to COVID-19 protocols. . . . According to head coach Jeff Jackson, “With multiple positives and contact tracing it became clear that for the safety of our team and others in the tournament we could not proceed.” . . . Notre Dame was to have played the Boston College Eagles on Saturday. That game has been declared no-contest and the Eagles moved directly into Sunday’s regional final against either St. Cloud State or Boston U. . . . Interestingly, Notre Dame was in the tournament as a late invitee after St. Lawrence U had to withdraw because of COVID-19 protocols. Notre Dame couldn’t be replaced because the NCAA had set a Monday night deadline for replacements to be made.

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The pandemic has forced quite a shuffling of the deck with the Western Canadian Baseball League. . . . The Edmonton Prospects, Lethbridge Bulls, Okotoks Dawgs (two teams) and Sylvan Lake Gulls have said that they will play the 2021 season using only Canadian players. . . . According to the league, the Fort McMurray Giants and Medicine Hat Mavericks continue to discuss their options. . . . At the same time, “due to the COVID-19 restrictions, border issues and the uncertainty of any changes,” five other teams — the Brooks Bombers, Moose Jaw Miller Express, Regina Red Sox, Swift Current 57’s and Weyburn Beavers — have decided to sit out the 2021 season. . . . At the same time, Taylor Shire of Global Regina tweeted that the “Yorkton Carinals and Melville Millionaires have left the WCBL and, according to WCBL president Kevin Kvame they both ceased operations.” . . .

From a news release issued by the Red Sox:

“Player and staff testing protocols will need to be in place at an estimated cost of $40,000 per team, as well as quarantine costs amounting to $2,000 per player. Interprovincial travel continues to be restricted, and the US/Canada border remains closed at this time. The WCBL is exploring options for an ‘All Canadian League’ in Alberta, which would also be subject to quarantine, testing, and border restrictions, presenting a challenge for the league. The Saskatchewan franchises have made the decision to defer the resumption of operations until 2022.”

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Marker

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The West Coast League, a wood-bat summer baseball league, has revised its 2021 schedule in order to remove international travel from its regular season, but it is leaving open the possibility of a playoff format involving teams from both Canada and the U.S. . . . The WCL, which features 15 teams, didn’t play in 2020. . . . In Canada, the Kelowna Falcons have opted out of the 2021 season, leaving the Victoria HarbourCats to play against three first-year teams — the Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws and Nanaimo NightOwls. . . . American teams in the league are the Bend Elks, Corvallis Knights, Cowlitz Black Bears, Portland Pickles, Ridgefield Raptors, Walla Walla Sweets, Bellingham Bells, Port Angeles Lefties, Wenatchee Apple Sox and Yakima Valley Pippins.

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Kevyn Adams, the Buffalo Sabres’ general manager, served as head coach on Thursday night as the team lost 4-0 to the Penguins in Pittsburgh. That’s nhl2because Don Granato, who was named interim head coach last week after Ralph Krueger was fired, and interim assistant coach Matt Ellis were in self-isolation. . . . This is the second time this season that the Sabres’ coaching staff was impacted by the virus. Earlier, Krueger tested positive and missed some time. . . . The Sabres have six victories this season; they have been shut out seven times. . . .

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers had assistants Jacques Martin and Greg Brown back behind the bench for last night’s 8-3 victory over the host Philadelphia Flyers. But head coach David Quinn has yet to be cleared to return from COVID-19 protocol, so former WHL player/coach Kris Knoblauch continues to work as head coach. Under normal conditions, Knoblauch is the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. . . . Knoblauch will stay with the Rangers at least through Saturday’s game in Philly. . . .

Marc Bergevin, the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, expects his club to return to the ice next week. He said Thursday that one player had tested positive — forwards Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi — and that it was a variant. . . . So far, the Canadiens have had four games postponed — three against the Edmonton Oilers and one with the Ottawa Senators. . . . If all goes well, the Canadiens will return to practice on Monday and play in Ottawa on Tuesday. . . . The NHL now has postponed 41 games because of COVID-19.


And how are things going out west? Hey, thanks for asking . . .

Justin McElroy, CBC Vancouver — 800 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., the highest number since the very height of the second wave, as the province’s trendline is going up VERY sharply now. . . . Active cases jump by almost 300, now the highest since January 8. . . . Five new deaths and hospitalizations up.

Oh, hey, things are going great in Alberta, too . . .

CBC News — Alberta reports 764 new cases of COVID-19 and 3 more deaths. The province confirms 191 variants of concern cases. 294 people are in hospital, 55 in ICU. . . . Variant cases now make up more than 20 per cent of the total.

Party on, Garth!


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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.


JUST NOTES: The Spokane Chiefs have promoted Chris Baird to director of hockey operations. He had been assistant director of hockey operations since 2017. He first was hired by the Chiefs in 2006-07 as a part-time video co-ordinator. . . . The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders have named Adam Manah as general manager — he will continue as head coach — and Jeff Woywitka as assistant GM. Manah has been with the Crusaders since 2015 when he was associate coach. He took over as assistant GM and head coach in 2016. Woywitka has been associate coach since 2016. The moves were necessitated by the firing of general manager Kyle Chase on March 19. Chase, who had been part of the organization since 2004, had been GM since 2016. Shane Jones of the Sherwood Park News has more on Chase’s dismissal right here.


Anger

Lindsey Backmeyer: We got the callllll!!! . . . Ferris, 4, being prepped for Saturday morning kidney transplant

Ferris1
Ferris Backmeyer, 4, is scheduled to have a kidney transplant on Saturday morning in Vancouver. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

If all goes according to plan, Ferris Backmeyer, 4, of Kamloops, will receive a new kidney on Saturday morning in Vancouver.

Her mother, Lindsey, posted the good news on Facebook on Friday morning:

“Oh my goodness I don’t have words. I knew this would happen . . . or was hoping so badly that this would happen!! We got the callllll!!! Mom had already left about 30 minutes before with a car loaded up with our stuff! She’s coming back!!! Ferris will be admitted this afternoon with plans to be transplanted early tomorrow morning. Kidney transplant . . . take 2!!!”

The Backmeyers have been in Vancouver since late December after getting a phone call advising them that a kidney had been found for Ferris. However, after getting settled in Vancouver and preparing for the big day, the surgery was called off.

As Lindsey put it at the time, the medical team “came in about an hour ago now and told us that the retrieval surgeon contacted him with not-so-great news about the kidney.”

She added: “The surgeon said he always asks himself if he would put the kidney in his own daughter and he said absolutely not to this one. That’s good enough for me.”

That brings us to the present. . . .

Ferris was diagnosed with Mainzer-Saldino syndrome shortly after birth. Kidney failure quickly followed, meaning she has been on dialysis — either peritoneal (PD) or hemo — for pretty much all of her short life.

Ferris had been having issues with doing PD in December when the call came about a potential transplant. Because of those issues, she had been scheduled to return to B.C. Children’s Hospital in January to be transitioned to hemo.

That early January transplant didn’t happen, but Ferris stayed in Vancouver and made the move to hemo. It was just last week when she was transitioned back to PD. And, seemingly without a new kidney in sight, the family — Ferris’s older sisters, Tavia, 9, and Ksenia, 7, also have been in Vancouver — was readying to return to their Kamloops home. Ferris’s father, Pat, is attending school in Kamloops, so has been putting on the miles as he spends time in both cities.

And, as you will have noted by Lindsey’s post, her mother, Leslie, was already en route to Kamloops when the call came on Friday. Grandma turned around and headed back, of course.

And now the excitement will be palpable as everyone awaits Saturday morning.









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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Do good, feel good! Register to be an organ donor and get that warm fuzzy feeling. 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives. Taketwominutes.ca #TakeTwoMinutes 

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.”

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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


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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

——

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.

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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.

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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.