If you haven’t already, prepare to fall in love with Ferris . . . BC Transplant releases statistics from 2019

I have written here before about Ferris Backmeyer, a three-year-old from Kamloops who continues to do peritoneal dialysis as she and her family wait and hope that a kidney transplant is in her future.

If things continue to progress, Ferris’s name will go on the deceased donor list at some point in March.

In the meantime, Jill Sperling of CFJC-TV in Kamloops did a story on Ferris that appeared on Thursday newcasts. It’s all right here. But a few words of warning . . . if you haven’t watched anything on Ferris prior to now be prepared to fall in love.


CBC News posted a story by Carolyn Ray on Wednesday and part of it absolutely blew me away.

“Doctors in Nova Scotia have discovered many families are refusing to allow a loved one in a traumatic situation to donate their organs, even if the patient has signed their donation card,” Ray wrote.

She continued: “Dr. Rob Green, the provincial medical director for Nova Scotia’s trauma program, worked on three studies looking at trauma patients and donation rates between 2009 and 2016. He looked at patients who were identified as potential donors but didn’t donate. He said he was shocked to discover that nearly 50 per cent — 28 out of 60 cases — were because the family refused to go forward.”

Dr. Green told Ray: “I didn’t expect that at all. Some of these patients signed their driver’s licence, saying they wanted to be an organ donor, and their family did not respect their wishes.”

Ray’s complete story is right here.

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Nova Scotia’s organ donation program is called Legacy of Life; its medical director is Dr. Stephen Beed.

Toby Boulet and his wife, Bernadine, lost their son, Logan, in the crash of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus almost two years ago. Logan had registered as an organ donor shortly before the crash, and eight of his organs were harvested. Since then, the Logan Boulet Effect has become a real movement with Toby and Bernadine become advocates for organ donation.

Toby, via Twitter, offered this:

“Dr. Beed was with Logan and our family throughout the most difficult time of our lives. His work in both NS and SK is amazing and families need to support the organ donor wishes of a family member. Families need to TALK — not just register!”

At the same time, the Green Shirt Day account on Twitter added:

“Both Green and Beed want more families to talk openly about their wishes as much as possible. Green said if they make it clear in advance, it helps a family cope during an emotional time.”


KidneyStats

As of Jan. 31, according to BC Transplant, there were 1,523,663 donors registered with the B.C. Organ Donor Registry.

In January 2020, there were 55 organ transplants performed in B.C., with 32 of those involving kidneys — 23 from deceased donors and nine from living donors.

As of Jan. 31, there were 777 people in the province waiting for organ donations with 619 of those needing kidneys.

At the same time, there were 5,221 patients in the province who were being followed post-transplant. All told, 3,500 of those patients have had kidney transplants.

More numbers from 2019, all from BC Transplant:

There were 480 lives saved, down from 502 in 2018.

Surgeons completed 331 kidney transplants, down from 339 in 2018, with 120 involving living donors and 117 from deceased donors.

As well, in 2019 there were 68 liver transplants (77 in 2018), 46 lung transplants (50) and 31 heart transplants (28).

According to BC Transplant, as of Dec. 31, there were 5,182 British Columbians alive because of organ transplants.

BC Transplant has issued a news release detailing all of this and more, and it’s all right here.


Aimee and Kevin Hatcher of Brandon, Man., are determined that their son Luke, who died at the age of 12, will be remembered. With that in mind, they are starting what they call the Green Heart Project. . . . As Riley Laychuk of CBC News writes: “While (Aimee) doesn’t know what her end goal is yet, Hatcher said she envisions a foundation focused on raising awareness about organ donation and supporting families who are faced with tough decisions.” . . . Luke died in December following an accident in the basement of the family’s home. According to Aimee, Luke’s kidneys, lungs, liver and pancreas all were transplanted. . . . Laychuk’s story is right here.




Talking kidneys with Freda, Howard, Dorothy and Jill. . . . Update on Vic Morin’s situation. . . . Kamloops Walk on Sunday

With Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk set for Sunday, my wife, Dorothy, along with friends Freda and Howard Brown, got together with Jill Sperling of Kamloops TV station CFJC on Thursday. OK, I was there, too.

We met at McDonald Park, the site of the Walk, where we chatted about kidneys, transplantation, dialysis and the Kidney Walk.

Dorothy had her transplant six years ago, after almost four years of peritoneal dialysis. Freda recently began doing hemo-dialysis; she does three runs a week at Royal Inland Hospital. Howard was hoping to donate a kidney to his wife and spent the past nine months undergoing all of the necessary tests. However, one of the tests turned up a kidney stone, so he has been disqualified, at least for now.

There’s all that and more in this piece right here.

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In the TV piece referred to above, Howard Brown points out that if you are considering being a live kidney donor, you shouldn’t wait because the testing process takes some time.

But, at the same time, if the medical team finds any issues with your health, they will be dealt with ASAP. In Howard’s case, he already is being put in touch with a specialist in Kamloops and is hoping to have the kidney stone removed so that he can get back into a process that, hopefully, will end with him being a donor for his wife, Freda.

That brings us to Vic Morin, a friend who lives in the Dallas area of Kamloops and who also is in need of a kidney.

Vic has been a regular at Kamloops Kidney Support Group meetings for a while now, and was preparing to begin peritoneal dialysis (PD) in the near future. That is the same form of dialysis that my wife, Dorothy, did before she was fortunate enough to get a kidney from a live donor.

Because Dorothy had experience with PD, she and Vic have had many conversations over the past months. And we were quite excited to hear last week that he was to have a catheter surgically placed into his peritoneal cavity next week. That meant he was one giant step closer to beginning PD.

(BTW, someone who does PD hooks up to a machine called a cycler and does a fluid exchange seven nights a week while sleeping — toxic fluid out, clean fluid in, to be carried around all day in that cavity.)

Unfortunately, Vic’s kidney function deteriorated so rapidly that he was to begin hemo-dialysis on Friday. However, things now have been moved to Monday. He still is on schedule to have a catheter surgically installed on Wednesday so that he can begin training for peritoneal dialysis.

While all this is happening, the search continues for a live donor.

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One of the reasons that I stopped writing about hockey here and turned mostly to renal-related items is that a lot of education is needed when it comes to kidney disease, dealing with kidney disease, organ donation and transplantation. . . . If I am able to provide enlightening information in this space I will be more than pleased. . . .

A few things you should know . . .

There is no cure for kidney disease. Once you have been diagnosed, that’s it; it doesn’t go away.

A person who has had a kidney transplant isn’t cured. For example, Dorothy takes anti-rejection drugs twice a day in order to keep her system from rejecting the organ that is foreign to her body. Those drugs also suppress her immune system so there are some precautions that have to be taken as she goes through daily life.

Should you choose to be a live donor, you don’t need to be the same blood-type as the person in need of a kidney. Instead, you are able to donate through the Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry. In short, your kidney goes to someone else, but only on the condition that the person you want to help gets one from another live donor. This is how Dorothy got her kidney — her best friend gave a kidney to someone (neither she nor Dorothy have any idea who it went to), and Dorothy got one from someone else. No, we don’t know a name, nor do we have any idea how many donors and recipients were involved in that particular chain.

If you are being tested and an issue with your health is discovered, it will be dealt with ASAP. In Howard’s case, a doctor at the renal clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver got him in touch with a specialist in Kamloops in short order.

A donor will spend a couple of days in hospital — Dorothy’s friend had surgery on a Monday and was released from hospital on Wednesday. It is suggested that a donor take it easy — no heavy lifting, for example — for up to six weeks and then it’s full-speed ahead. I know of one donor who was back to jogging in three weeks.

A donor also will continue to be monitored by the medical community. Should there be serious issues with the remaining kidney, a donor would automatically go to the top of the transplant list.

And, yes, a person is able to live with one kidney.

I would never pressure anyone to be a donor. If you are at least thinking about it, I would only ask that you do some research.

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If you are thinking about being a donor, feel free to call the donor nurse co-ordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital (604-806-9027 or 1-877-922-9822), or email donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca.

Should you make the call and be asked who will be the recipient, feel free to mention Freda Brown or Louis Victor Morin.

Understand, too, that the people who work in renal clinics are big on privacy — I mean, they are really, really big on privacy. Everything you say or do will be kept confidential.

As well, a donor is able to change his/her mind and walk away at any time during the process.



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Don’t forget that the 10th annual Kidney Walk Kamloops is scheduled for Sunday (Sept. 22) at McDonald Park on the North Shore. . . . We will begin registering folks at 10 a.m.; we will go for a walk at 11.

Larry Read, who is so involved in our community, will be the emcee, again. Hugh KWlogo2McLennan and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor will be in attendance as the honourees for this year’s walk. When Hugh needed a kidney almost two years ago, Louis, his longtime friend, stepped up and gave him one.

As well, the Brock Central Lions Club will be on hand to provide breakfast — pancakes, sausages and coffee — by donation. A year ago, they served more than 100 breakfasts.

The Kidney Walk helps raise awareness about kidney disease and raises funds for important programs and services to help kidney patients in this community and others across BC and the Yukon.

Dorothy will celebrate the sixth anniversary of her transplant on Monday. She will spend part of Sunday taking part in her sixth straight Kidney Walk; she also helps Edna Humphreys and me pull the whole thing together.

If you would like to help out — Vic Morin is part of her support team — you are able to make a donation right here.