Goodbye to a dear friend . . . Kamloops Kidney Support Group is back and here for you . . . What about that fifth shot? What about Evusheld?

2016Walk1
Dorothy with long-time friends Sue and Ron Burt, and their pooch Ralphie, at the 2016 Kamloops Kidney Walk.

Sue and Ron Burt have been there for Dorothy in each of her nine Kamloops Kidney Walk fund-raising efforts. And they were there to walk with her when possible, such as here in 2016 at McDonald Park.

Unfortunately, we lost Sue a few days ago, taken from us after a battle with cancer. She was a good friend and neighbour for more than 20 years, and our little corner of the world definitely is a poorer place without her.

We solved a lot of the world’s problems, Sue and I, usually at our favourite table at Señor Froggy on Kamloops’ north shore and most times without raising our voices. But, you know, we never could understand why the power brokers didn’t seem to be listening to us.

Thanks for letting us into your life, Sue, and the time will come when we’ll meet again on the other side.


The Kamloops Kidney Support Group is back after a pandemic-related absence of more than two years.

If you have kidney-related issues and questions, and would like to chat with someone who has been there, we’re here for you.

The KKSG gathers on the second Wednesday and fourth Saturday of every month, always at 10 a.m., and always at the Barside Lounge and Grill at Chances Casino, 1250 Halston Ave. These are informal get-togethers over breakfast, with lots of coffee and plenty of conversation.

The next meetings are scheduled for on Aug. 27, and Sept. 14 and 24.

You won’t get any medical advice from us, but we will share our experiences with you. If you have been recently diagnosed with kidney disease or are pre-dialysis or on dialysis (hemo or peritoneal), a kidney donor or a recipient, a family member, or anything in between feel free to come and meet us.

According to figures compiled by BC Transplant, medical teams in the province completed 130 kidney transplants in the first half of 2022. As of June 30, there were 460 people in B.C. awaiting kidney transplants, while 3,733 recipients were being followed post-transplant.

For more information, call one of the KKSG’s co-founders — Edna Humphreys at 250-376-6361 or Dorothy Drinnan at 250-573-2988.


After Cayden Desjarlais died in a motorcycle crash last year, five of his organs ended up being donated, with his heart going to a 28-year-old mother of a six-year-old son. Now Cayden’s mother, Deanna, is working to get more people to register as organ donors. . . . “I couldn’t think of a better place to be honouring him and I know he wouldn’t want to have it any other way,” Deanna told Kelly Sinoski of the 100 Mile Free Press. “It’s bittersweet for me. I’m sad but you live life and pass it on and knowing that his organs have saved five lives is super important.” . . . Sinoski’s story is right here.



Perhaps the most frustrating thing I have discovered during the pandemic that has been with us for going on three years is the apparent inability of provincial health officials to get on the same page. I mean, do these people not speak to each other on a regular basis? . . . We have a friend who is a kidney recipient and now lives in Edmonton. She already has had her fifth shot (third booster) and also received two shots of Evusheld the other day — one in each butt cheek. . . . Evusheld? It was approved by Health Canada on April 14 “for use in adults and children (12 years of age and older, weighing at least 40 kg) who are not currently infected with COVID-19 and have not had recent known contact with someone infected with COVID-19, and who are immune compromised and unlikely to mount an adequate immune response to COVID‐19 vaccination; or, for whom COVID-19 vaccination is not recommended.” . . . Meanwhile, Quebec will be offering a fifth dose to those in long-term care homes and private seniors residences starting on Aug. 29. . . . In Manitoba, however, some folks who are under 50 years of age and had their third shot more than nine months ago can’t yet get a fourth dose. . . . And in B.C.? Crickets. Not a mention of Evusheld. Nothing on a fifth shot (third booster) for the immuno-compromised. In our province, independent modellers said last week that the number of COVID-19 cases could be at least 100 times greater than what is being reported by the NDP government. From a Vancouver Sun story: “The B.C. modelling group — which includes experts from the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the private sector — warned that under-reporting of COVID-19 cases makes it challenging for the public to understand the risks.” . . . And, of course, there isn’t an elected official anywhere in North America who has enough courage of his/her convictions to push for mandating masks in public facilities, never what the medical/scientific community believes. . . . And so those in our society who are immuno-compromised and have made it this far by mostly solo-navigation will continue to mask-up, social distance and wash/sanitize their hands. If you respect them and care about them, you will wear a mask, too.







If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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

BC Transplant has numbers for first-half of 2022 . . . New way to search for living kidney donor . . .

BCTransplantJune22

Medical teams in British Columbia completed 217 organ transplants in the first six months of 2022, with 130 of those involving kidneys.

According to statistics kept by BC Transplant, 38 of those transplants involved living kidney donors, with 96 transplanted kidneys coming from deceased donors. There also were two pancreas-kidney transplants.

As of June 30, there were 460 people in B.C. awaiting kidney transplants, while 3,733 recipients were being followed post-transplant.

Some other numbers of interest:

There were 46 liver transplants in the first half of 2022, all of them involving cadavers. At the same time, there were 18 people on the waiting list, with 1,028 recipients being followed post-transplant.

Medical teams also performed nine heart transplants prior to June 30, with nine more people on the waiting list, and 376 recipients being followed.


My wife, Dorothy, underwent a kidney transplant almost nine years ago. But I doubt that I will ever forget when she was told to go ahead and try to find a

Vic1
Vic Morin of Kamloops continues his search for a kidney.

donor. At that time, I don’t think potential recipients felt that they should be too aggressive in their search. I do know that in the beginning Dorothy (a) was in denial, and (b) was especially concerned about not wanting her problem to also be someone else’s problem. . . . Times have changed, though, and now we even have people like Vic Morin of Kamloops, who has a decal in the rear window of his car asking folks to consider donating a kidney to him and including a phone number.

And now Transplant Ambassador Program (TAP) has taken things a step further. As Avis Favaro of CTV reports: “Canadians in dire need of a kidney now have a chance to directly appeal to potential living donors thanks to a new service that lets them share their photos and life stories in hopes of finding a transplant match.

“The novel service is offered by Transplant Ambassador Program (TAP), a Canadian support group for people with kidney disease. The site’s Patients Seeking Donors section takes inspiration from dating apps, where people post photos and share insights into their lives in their callout to potential donors.”

This sounds like a terrific idea and given time here’s hoping it produces results.

Favaro’s story is right here, and the TAP site is right here.



This story is from early in May, but it’s well worth a read and a watch.


Qualicum First Nation Chief Michael Recalma underwent a kidney transplant in February and made his first public appearance early in May, telling Michael Briones of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News that he feels “amazing.” . . . “It’s just been amazing,” Recalma said. “The transformation, the change from a sluggish guy. I called myself a turtle. To change into . . . I have energy. I have the right colour back on my face and I have gained some weight. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.” . . . The 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.


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

Boulets take message to Pittsburgh . . . Saskatoon woman example of someone impacted by surgical waiting times . . . Poppy Family singer dies at 73


You know what’s mind-boggling? Well, let me tell you . . . the work that Bernie and Toby Boulet are doing to promote organ donation is mind-boggling. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where their efforts defy description. They are two great citizens of this world and there can be no debate about it. . . . This week they were in — wait for it! — Pittsburgh at the Center for Organ Recovery.

——


As you travel around in your world, you likely are encountering a goodly number of folks who are carrying on as though the pandemic is over. After all, that seems to be what provincial governments and their health officials want us to believe.

But . . . you know what? It’s not over. Of course, that’s the take of the medical and scientific communities, which the pooh-bahs choose to pretty much ignore.

Look, we hear a lot about how hospitals are struggling to keep up, healthcare workers are out of gas and people who need surgeries have had them postponed and postponed and postponed, again and again and again.

So let’s take a moment or two and put a name and a face to one of those people who has been waiting for badly needed surgery.

Terry Rebalkin of Saskatoon has been fighting kidney disease since 2008. She needs a transplant, but first has to have parathyroid surgery, a procedure that will result in a hospital stay of up to five days.

But there aren’t any hospital recovery beds available in Saskatoon.

“Rebalkin said she was able to keep the kidney disease at bay until 2019 through dialysis and healthier living,” reported Cory Coleman of CBC News. “However, things took a turn for the worst that year when her kidneys started filling up with fluid.

“She said she has been in and out of hospitals ever since, but hasn’t been able to get adequate help, especially in emergency rooms.”

Rebalkin told Coleman: “I’ve been treated horribly when I’ve gone to the emergency room, not getting the care that I need, not getting a bed, being septic and being sent home when you’re supposed to be in the hospital.

“It seems like nobody cares because they’re so overworked and they’re tired. The staff and the health region are exhausted.”

Rebalkin now needs a walker to get around, and she and her husband have had to change residences in order to accommodate her needs.

Coleman wrote: “Rebalkin said she believes the province’s handling of COVID-19 — especially the decision to drop all mandates — is one of the reasons for ongoing surgery delays.”

As she explained to Coleman: “They’ve made COVID the most important thing, and I understand, but then they act like it’s not here. So there’s more and more beds being taken up by people that have had COVID, and I understand they’re sick, but what about the rest of us? I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do and what have I gotten out of it? Not a thing.”

Today, she has a tentative date for surgery — May 25 — but she’s been down this road before so is quite prepared for another delay.

“I’m just hoping that my surgery will be done on the day that I need, otherwise, I mean, it doesn’t give you a good outlook on life,” she said.

“I’m not gonna lie, I’m scared . . . I just want my life back.”

So next time you hesitate to put on a mask or take any other precautionary measure stop and think about Terry Rebalkin and so many others who are in the same kind of predicament.

Coleman’s story is right here.


Susan Jacks, the lead singer for the Poppy Family, has died in a Vancouver hospital while awaiting a second kidney transplant. Jacks, who died in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, was 73. . . . She underwent a kidney transplant in 2010 with her brother, Bill, serving as the living donor. In recent days, she was suffering with infections that had her on the waiting list for a second transplant. “She was overwhelmed by infection, and her heart stopped,” Rick Pesklevits, another brother, told The Canadian Press. . . . Jacks was once married to Ted Dushinski, an all-star defensive back with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. He died of cancer in 2005. . . . Camille Bains of CP has more right here.








Dorothy-040719Dorothy, my wife of more than a few years, is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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

Susan talks organ donation . . . What does it mean? Dad will be there on wedding day . . . You only have to register once

I previously have written here about Susan Duncan, a long-time friend and former co-worker, and how she came to donate a kidney. She recently appeared on CBC Radio in Kamloops to talk about her experiences and it certainly is worth a listen. . . . Warning: It’s an entirely positive listen! . . . You are able to do that right here.


What does kidney donation mean? Well, it means that my wife, Dorothy, is here to enjoy two granddaughters. The oldest, Kara, will be six in July. Dorothy had her kidney transplant in 2013.

To Kennedie Maidment of Kamloops it means that her father, Tony, will be part of her wedding party this month. . . . Kennedie has been a push behind organ donation ever since her father underwent a liver transplant.




Cayden Desjarlais was 28 years of age last summer when he was involved in a motorcycle accident near 100 Mile House, B.C. A short time later, his parents, Deanna and Dan, were told by doctors at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops that their son wouldn’t survive. His parents also learned that their son had registered as an organ donor. . . . You may recall that there were numerous forest fires raging in this area at that particular time. . . . Still, medical teams were able to put together a plan that resulted in Cayden’s heart, liver, kidneys and islet cells being transplanted. . . . This really is a remarkable story and Melissa Smalley of the 100 Mile Free Press has it all right here.







If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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

B.C. coming off record year for transplants — total reached 529, including 340 kidneys . . .

BCTransplant

British Columbia has just completed what was a record year for organ transplants.

In 2021, medical teams completed 529 transplants, up from 451 in 2020. Here are the individual totals from 2021, with 2020 numbers in parentheses — kidneys, 340 (280); livers, 97 (80); lungs, 66 (55); and hearts, 22 (33). As well, there were four pancreas and multi-organ transplants. The 2021 totals for kidneys, lungs and livers were single-year records.

In 2021, medical teams dealt with a one-year record 150 deceased donors — the previous record of 122 was from 2018 — while there were an additional 75 living kidney donor transplants. In 2020, there were 110 deceased donors, and 81 living kidney donor transplants.

I’m hardly an expert but I am assuming that the increase in deceased donors is due at least in part to the ongoing opioid epidemic that B.C., and so many other jurisdictions, is experiencing.

Considering that we continue to live in these pandemic times it is concerning that, as Joseph Ruttle of Postmedia reported, “Nine of those lung transplants were among people suffering from the potentially devastating effects of COVID-19, eight of whom were fully healthy before contracting the virus.”

As well, BC Transplant reports that 1.57 million B.C. residents have registered their organ donation decision. On top of that, there now are 5,721 transplant recipients receiving care in the province.

From a BC Transplant news release:

“Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, hospital-based critical care teams — which play a key role in identifying organ donors — referred potential donors to the 24/7 BC Transplant clinical referral line a record 775 times in 2021 (a 25 per cent increase over 2020). This demonstrates how organ donation is increasingly becoming a normal part of quality end-of-life care in hospital. . . .

“As of Dec. 31, 2021, 585 people still were waiting for organ transplants in B.C. British Columbians are encouraged to take two minutes and register as an organ donor, then share their decision with family: www.taketwominutes.ca.

Five of Russel Stevenson’s organs — liver, pancreas, lungs and both kidneys — were transplanted after the 58-year-old from Vernon, B.C., died during 2021.

“His heart was bigger than he was,” his wife, Sylvie, told Brendan Shykora of the Vernon Morning Star. “Russel was a kind, gentle and caring husband. He always made sure everyone around us was safe and happy and he wanted to take care of all of them . . .

“Knowing that Russ is still alive and living on in someone else is soothing for me. It gives me great pleasure to know that someone has a second chance.”



Ed Yong has written an article for The Atlantic that carries this title: The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo. . . . The story details what those people who live with compromised immune systems have been going through as they try to stay healthy in these pandemic times. . . . If you haven’t already seen it, it’s well worth your time. And if you have friends or family who don’t understand the energy that has to be expended to keep up with things and to avoid iffy situations, it might be worth forwarding the link. . . . That story is right here.



“A new first-of-its-kind study out of Canada has discovered a way to make ‘universal’ organs that could be used in all transplant recipients regardless of their blood type,” writes Irelyne Lavery of Global News. . . .  Dr. Marcelo Cypel, surgical director of the Ajmera Transplant Centre at Toronto’s University Health Network, and senior author of the study, tells Lavery: “We’ll create a much more equal and fair distribution of donor organs to patients on the waitlist.” . . . The 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 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

Kidney Mom: Your supposed loss of freedom is NOT worth more than my son’s life . . . or anyone’s for that matter!!! It’s just NOT.


Jana Tremblay, a Kidney Mom from Robson B.C., posted this on Facebook recently:

JanaZach
Jana Tremblay and her son, Zach. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

“My heart is heavy these days . . . watching people cry ‘freedom’ over stopping the spread of this virus, and protecting our vulnerable is getting really tough to take. It’s a small kick to my heart every time I read it. PTSD flashbacks of watching him on life support flash in my brain. It’s hurtful and selfish.
“Your supposed loss of freedom is NOT worth more than my son’s life . . . or anyone’s for that matter!!! It’s just NOT.”

Four sentences and you can feel Jana’s frustration bursting from each of them.

Her teenage son, Zach, is in need of a kidney transplant, and has been for a while now. These days, he travels three times a week from Robson to Trail in order to undergo hemodialysis.

You have no idea how many people just like Zach are walking among us. You have no idea how many recipients of organ transplants are walking among us. You have no idea how many other people with medical issues are walking among us.

Most of them also will have compromised immune systems, meaning they are at high risk of contracting COVID-19, be it Delta, Omicron or some other incoming variant.

And, if you are vaccine-hesitant or an anti-vaxxer, let me tell you something else — while you haven’t yet showed up for your first vaccination, some people are getting No. 4.

A kidney transplant friend in Edmonton got No. 4 on Feb. 2. My wife, Dorothy, is waiting and hoping that she soon will get No. 4.

So, please, do the right thing and get vaccinated.


BTW, if you are vaccine-hesitant or an out-and-out anti-vaxxer, you should know that, as Amanda Connolly of Global News reported, “there appears to be growing consensus among Canadian organ transplant specialists about requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for patients looking to be placed on the wait-list for an organ donation.”

In fact, the Canadian Society of Transplantation has updated its guidance and now is prompting “any provincial and regional programs to be transparent if they choose to implement the rule.”

That complete story is right here.

——

Meanwhile, Chad Carswell of Hickory, N.C., won’t be getting the kidney transplant that he needs because he refuses to get vaccinated. “I was born free; I’ll die free,” he told The Washington Post. . . . Carswell, 38, has been doing hemo-dialysis since July 2020. . . . Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital has a policy that recipients and donors must be fully vaccinated. Transplant patients are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. They take anti-rejection medications that result in compromised immune systems. . . . The hospital told The Post in a statement that its policy“follows the current standard of care in the United States, which is to vaccinate all patients on waiting lists or being evaluated for transplant. We understand that some patients may not wish to be vaccinated. In this case, patients can opt to be evaluated at another transplant center.” . . . Carswell, who has had both of his legs amputated due to complications from diabetes, said he has had COVID on two occasions. . . . Why won’t he get vaccinated? The Post reported right here that Carswell “does not believe in conspiracy theories about the vaccines, but remains skeptical about how they were developed.” . . .

Carswell told The Post: “There is not a situation in this world that I’ll get a vaccine. If I’m laying on my deathbed, and they tell me, ‘You have a kidney waiting on you if you get this shot,’ I’ll tell them ‘I’ll see you on the other side.’ ” . . . The Associated Press reported in January that according to the family of D.J. Ferguson, a Massachusetts hospital had denied him a heart transplant because he refused to get vaccinated. And there have been reports that the same thing happened to a woman in Colorado who needs a kidney.



Wilbert Mora, a 27-year-old New York City Police officer, died after a shootout in Harlem on Jan. 21. His family, upon hearing of his death, immediately gave  permission for organ transplantation. His heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas went to five different people. There is more on that story right here.





If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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

Teenage transplant hopeful named COTS ambassador for 2022 . . . Robson, B.C., resident waits, hopes for new kidney

The Children’s Organ Transplant Society of BC has named Zach Tremblay of Robson, B.C., as its 2022 Ambassador.

Zach, a graduate of Stanley Humphries Secondary in Castlegar, will turn 19 in March and is a candidate for a kidney transplant. Born with renal hypoplasia-dysplasia, he has had one transplant, on June 1, 2017, but there was a problem and the ‘new’ kidney had to be removed.

Two years ago, his mother, Jana, told Gord McIntyre of Postmedia what had happened:

“What should have been a fairly routine four-hour surgery lasted about eight hours. They finally came and found my husband and me to tell us that a technical error had been made during the surgery and it cut off the blood flow to the kidney.”

McIntyre added: “Two more surgeries were performed overnight trying to save the kidney. When a test the next morning showed the kidney was not functioning, Zach required a fourth operation within 24 hours to remove the failed organ.”

He has made the transition from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis, but that has meant travelling to Trail three times a week because there isn’t a facility in Castlegar. At one point, early in 2020, he and Jana were forced to live at Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver for a period of time so that Zach could do hemodialysis there, while he waited to turn 17. He had to be 17 in order for the hospital in Trail to take over his treatments.

What all of this means, of course, is that Zach is well-positioned for this new position as the 2022 Ambassador for COTS. Not only that, but he already has had an impact in the world of organ donation.

Here’s a note that Joan Alexander, a friend of Jana’s, posted on Facebook on Jan. 18:

“Several years ago, on this day, I became an NDD (non-directed kidney donor). Zach got me started on my journey and, although I was not a match for him, I was able to donate to someone else. I am well, healthy and would donate again if I could.

“As an active volunteer for The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Atlantic Branch PEI, I advocate and raise funds for donors and recipients.

“Look at Zach now! He is the 2022 Ambassador of the Children’s Organ Transplant Society! He continues to wait for a miracle and struggles with all of the health implications that long-term dialysis brings.

“Please consider being tested for Zach.”

Zach3









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

Ferris soon to turn 5 and would love a kidney for her birthday . . . She wakes up most days asking, ‘What we gonna do today, Mommy?’

Ferrisposter

Early in 2022, Ferris Backmeyer will turn five years of age.

She will have been on dialysis for almost four of those years.

Yes, she is in dire need of a kidney transplant. Ferris, who lives in Kamloops with her family, actually underwent a transplant early this year, but there were immediate difficulties and the ‘new’ kidney had to be removed.

“She’s spent the last 3.5 years living life on dialysis and the only hope we have for her to have better days is for her to have a successful kidney transplant,” her mother, Lindsey, wrote on Facebook this week. “Ferris has a lot of things stacked up against her, but we remain hopeful that there’s a kidney out there that will fit and work perfectly for her.”

Ferris
If you didn’t know her, you might think that Ferris Backmeyer is a happy, healthy youngster who loves to be outdoors. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

It is incredibly hard to fathom a youngster soon to turn five who really has known nothing but dialysis for almost her entire life. She is hooked up to a cycler every single night, with the machine doing what healthy kidneys would do. Every single night. Think about that for a moment or two. Every single night.

“She has had a bit of a rough fall,” Lindsey wrote, “but somehow is still thriving developmentally. If you were to come and spend the afternoon playing with her or have been at the pool with us . . . you’d have no idea that she faces enormous battles every single day. That she wakes up violently ill every single morning, or that she’s already needed bloodwork drawn three times this month, is needing weekly Aranesp injections and then throw in the obligatory flu shot! She’s had a juicy cough since September and as of late has been really anemic. Not to mention what little growth we were seeing comes to a complete stop anytime she’s sick. It’s all feeling a little extra and fragile and shoe in mid-air about to drop!”

Being the parent of a child with Ferris’s health issues is like being on a roller-coaster, only you’re on the ride every single day.

“Our sweet girl . . . I look at her and it’s just impossible to find the right words to explain how things have been going,” Lindsey wrote. “Some days I feel like we are slaying it and, all in a moment it seems, completely overwhelmed.

“Our experience would sound unbelievable and incredibly dramatic. It’s unbelievable to me most of the time and I’m living it.”

What it means is that the family calendar is dominated by medical appointments of one kind or another.

“We had a stretch of weeks where we had some sort of appointment every single weekday. For weeks! The management of all things Ferris is no joke,” Lindsey added. “There’s the medical side where we’ve got this girl who is so fragile and requires intensive daily medical treatment with hopes of being transplanted and desperately trying to stay well enough to continue living our lives at home in Kamloops.”

Through it all, Lindsey and her husband, Pat, can’t lose sight of the fact that Ferris is excited about going to school next fall, just like her big sisters — Tavia and Ksenia. With Ferris, however, going to school isn’t as simple as showing up and dropping her off.

“There’s also all the therapies involved in having a kiddo like Ferris,” Lindsey explained. “She’s turning five in January which means school next September! There are a lot of people involved in helping us ensure she will be supported.

“Kidney disease has a hold on her so tight, but she also has significant visual disability as well as significant hearing loss. Both impact her life in huge ways. My hope is things stay calm enough that she gets to go to school like we are planning for. Better yet . . . a successful kidney transplant before then and her experience of school will be completely different.

“My heart is truly bursting with pride as I watch Ferris grow into the preschooler that she is! She loves to play!! She is so strongly influenced by her sisters and is sooooo sassy!! She loves going to school. She is so eager to go even with the roughest of dialysis hangovers.”

Oh my, this girl is one tough cookie. She really is.

“She teaches me big lessons about life, humanity, suffering,” Lindsey wrote. “She is a bright, shiny light of resilience and oblivion. She wouldn’t say she has a hard life at all. There’s so many things that she loves, and she wakes up most days asking, ‘What we gonna do today, Mommy?’ ”

In an earlier Facebook post, Lindsey summed up life with Ferris on one paragraph:

“She’s sick. You wouldn’t know it because she is amazingly resilient, but she deserves better than this. Gagging, wretching and vomiting every morning is normal once again for her. Her growth is incredibly poor. Her bone health is suffering. She doesn’t have the stamina to walk more than a block and relies on her stroller or being carried a lot of the time. She’s such a happy kid, though, and once she gets to know you or if she likes you, she’s hilarious . . . and smart and has a tonne of personality! She plays hard once she finds her feet each day. She wouldn’t say she has a bad life at all. I could very selfishly keep her like this forever if that were an option. If I knew she could live a long life like this . . . I’d very selfishly not list her and not do scary things. We love her so much and she deserves to experience life after a successful kidney transplant.”

Ferris now is on the deceased donor list and the national sensitivity donor list. Lindsey is hopeful that even more prospective donors will see her post on Facebook and that they will “flood the inbox of St. Paul’s living donor program. We are so grateful for every single person who has tried to help change her life. She deserves so much better than this and she doesn’t even know it.”

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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.

www.transplant.bc.ca/health-info/organ-donation/living-donation

——

The amazingly horrendous weather that parts of B.C. have experienced — and will see again this weekend — have led to all kinds of difficulties involving travel. For example, highways that had been reopened earlier this week will shut down on the weekend in anticipation of more wet weather that is expected.

This is especially hard on people with medical needs that have to be dealt with in Vancouver.

The Backmeyers are included in that group.

They were to have been at B.C. Children’s Hospital this week but the weather got in the way. They now are scheduled to be there early next month, but getting there might be a bit difficult unless they can fly.

The same holds true for John Casey of Kamloops, who had a kidney transplant at Vancouver General Hospital on May 31. He has an appointment there early in December and, with the highways closed, has gone ahead and made airline reservations.

John and his wife, Marlene, were regulars with the Kamloops Kidney Support Group before the pandemic brought things to a screeching halt. So was Vic Morin, who can be seen driving around Kamloops with a sign in the back window of his car pointing out that he needs a kidney.

Vic1
Vic Morin has been driving around Kamloops in the hopes of finding a kidney donor.

Zach2
Zach Tremblay of Robson, B.C., is 17 now, but one thing hasn’t changed — he still needs a kidney. Can you help?


Whenever my wife, Dorothy, is asked about her kidney transplant, she is quick to talk about the paired donor exchange program. It turns out that she isn’t alone. . . . Paulette Talerico of Golden, B.C., donated a kidney to a nephew, Pierre Pelletier of Vancouver, in August. These days, as Claire Palmer of the Golden Star reported, Paulette is encouraging others to become live donors. . . . “Hopefully more people will now because I didn’t realize how many people are actually in need of a kidney, it’s just unbelievable,” Paulette said. “I just want people to know that it’s not hard and it’s very rewarding — you could save someone’s life.” . . . Palmer’s story is right here.


While adding Paulette Talerico to my list of heroines, I also added Kennedie Maidment, a critical care nurse at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Her father, Tony, had a liver transplant a while back and Kennedie has long spoken out about her support of organ donation and transplantation. . . . Late last month, Kennedie tweeted this . . .


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

Zach takes a pill, and another one, and another one and . . . Dorothy on TV . . . Drone delivers for double-lung transplant

ZachMeds

The picture above these words?

Those are the meds that Zach Tremblay, a 17-year-old from Robson, B.C., takes every single week as he waits and hopes for a kidney transplant.

Here’s what his mother, Jana, wrote on Facebook recently:

“This is what it takes for him to stay alive — meds every day x2, plus 4 more pills at meal times! He does dialysis 3x per week, 4-hour runs, has major dietary and fluid restrictions (none of the fun yummy stuff, and 1 litre of fluid, meals included, every 24 hours).

“Please share his poster/story and help us find his match.”

Zachposter2


According to numbers provided by BC Transplant (as of Sept. 30, 2021) . . .

Number of registered organ donors in B.C.: 1,564,489.

Number of organ transplants performed in B.C. in 2021: 383 (189 involving kidneys from deceased donors; 58 involved kidneys from living donors).

Number of patients awaiting transplants: 645.

Number of those needing a kidney: 509.

Number of post-transplant patients being followed: 5,666.

Number of deceased organ donors in 2021: 107.

Number of donor organs imported: 11.

Dylana Kneeshaw of CFJC-TV in Kamloops has more on this year’s organ transplants in B.C. 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

Transplant recipient and unvaccinated? Please get it done for donor and donor’s family

As I scroll through social media and read some of what is in various news outlets I often stop and ponder things, but there isn’t much that sticks to me enough to cause pain.

On Sunday night, however, a tweet that had been posted on Saturday afternoon caught up to me. And it has stuck to me like Gorilla Glue.

Someone with the Twitter handle PrimulaBlue tweeted about having experienced “my first COVID death.” It turns out it was someone who was married and had been the recipient of a kidney transplant. For whatever reason(s), this transplant recipient hadn’t gotten vaccinated. Not only that, but he had taken part in at least one anti-vaccination protest outside a Kelowna hospital. And now he is dead. Gone.

The fact that the recipient of a kidney, whether it came from a deceased or living donor, didn’t do everything in his power to protect that kidney just blows me away.

How do you explain that to a donor or to a donor’s family?

As we were preparing for Dorothy’s transplant more than eight years ago, there were numerous conversations with various members of her transplant team about looking after the new kidney, and about how doing that was showing respect to a donor.

There also were conversations and questions centred on keeping medial appointments, about taking medications on time and taking them right through the end of prescriptions.

Of course, we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic eight years ago, but I can’t imagine having received a kidney and not getting fully vaccinated — meaning three inoculations — in order to give that kidney all the protection that is available.

The thing that transplant recipients have to know is that mRNA vaccines — Moderna and Pfizer — don’t contain live viruses. They don’t contain computer chips, either, but the important thing is that there aren’t live viruses in there.

From the CDC website:

“The mRNA vaccines do not contain any live virus. Instead, they work by teaching our cells to make a harmless piece of a ‘spike protein,’ which is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. After making the protein piece, cells display it on their surface. Our immune system then recognizes that it does not belong there and responds to get rid of it. When an immune response begins, antibodies are produced, creating the same response that happens in a natural infection.”

If you haven’t go it done yet, please get vaccinated. For you. For your family. For those around you.

If you are a transplant recipient who hasn’t yet got it done, do it for your donor and your donor’s family. You owe it to them.


By now, you likely are aware that organ transplants in Saskatchewan have been placed on hold because of circumstances brought on by the pandemic. But what does that mean? Well, Logan Stein of Saskatoon radio station 650 CKOM spoke with Eden Janzen, 25, who has been on dialysis for four years. . . . “With COVID, it’s not just the transplant, you have to do so much testing and ultrasounds so everything has been on hold for everybody,” Janzen told Stein. “I’m just hopeful this kind of opens people’s eyes and they have a change of heart. If they didn’t get their vaccine because they’re busy, or they just simply didn’t want to, I hope that they will. It’s not just COVID now that’s affecting people. Now people with compromised immune systems and failing organs are put more at risk.” . . . The complete story is right here.




Adam Freilich and Charles Gagnon have met numerous times on a sheet of curling ice. After all, Freilich is the third on Team Comeau of New Brunswick and Gagnon plays lead for Team Lawton of Quebec. Both teams are regulars on the Canadian bonspiel circuit. . . . So when Freilich, 28, got to the stage where he needed a kidney, guess who turned out to be a match. Yes, it was the 49-year-old Gagnon. . . . The transplant took place on Sept. 21. . . . Devin Heroux of CBC Sports has the story right here.





If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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

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