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

Vic2Are you ready for some numbers?

You are. Great.

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

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

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Vic Morin of Kamloops is one of them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Here is how it works:

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

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

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More numbers, thanks to BC Transplant . . .

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

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

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

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

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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.

Morin’s search for kidney continues . . . It isn’t easy to ask someone for an organ

Vic2

More than a year ago, Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week did a story about Vic Morin of Kamloops.

At the time, it was 2019’s National Kidney Month and March 15 was World Kidney Day.

Morin was an appropriate subject because he had been living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) for some time.

VicColleen
Colleen Bruce and Vic Morin, at the Kamloops Kidney Support Group’s Christmas luncheon on Dec. 1. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

“Though Morin’s situation isn’t currently desperate,” Sullivan wrote, Morin and his wife, Colleen Bruce, “have been urged to start the process of finding a live donor as it can take some time to connect with a correct match.”

Well, here we are more than a year later and Morin’s situation is getting desperate. He is doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) now and a donor has yet to be found.

Someone doing PD has a catheter implanted into their peritoneal cavity and does dialysis at home. Morin hooks up to a cycler every night as he goes to bed and fluid exchanges that remove toxins take place via the catheter as he sleeps.

Dialysis, no matter whether it’s hemo or PD, really cuts into a person’s quality of life and a new kidney can make a lot of that go away.

But asking someone to hand over one of their kidneys isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. It’s not like asking a friend to loan you a baseball mitt for a game of slo-pitch.

As Morin told Sullivan: “It’s very awkward to go and try to ask someone to be a donor. That’s the hardest part.”

Neither Bruce nor a brother were deemed to be a match for Morin, so the search continues.

Bruce also has decided to get more aggressive with that search, so has designed the poster that accompanies this piece in the hopes that the right person sees it and chooses to register to be a live donor.

There is information below on how to go about registering for the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. The beauty of this program is that you wouldn’t have to be a match with Morin in order to help him. Rather, you are able to register and should you prove after testing to be an eligible donor you could donate a kidney to someone else on the provision that Morin gets one from an unknown donor who is a match.

For example, that’s how my wife, Dorothy, got a kidney almost seven years ago. She had been doing PD for four years. Her best friend had wanted to donate a kidney to her but wasn’t a match. Through the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s, she gave to someone else, while Dorothy received a kidney from a stranger.

If you are the least bit interested in being a donor, use the contact information listed here in order to learn all about it.

Should you choose to get in touch with the program at St. Paul’s, mention Louis Victor Morin.

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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

Or, for more information, visit right here.

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Six months ago, actor Michael Teigen gave one of his kidneys to friend Stephen Gillis, a Vancouver minor hockey coach who was diagnosed with kidney disease after having lived with Crohn’s disease. Gillis was doing hemodialysis when he underwent the transplant in December. . . . He is doing well, extremely well, but what about Teigen? Well, here he is . . .

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A plea from the wife of a friend who needs a kidney . . . Are you able to help? The info you need is right here

Vic Morin is a regular at our Kamloops Kidney Support Group meetings and has become a good friend. He was with us on Sept. 11, just last week, when he informed us that he was soon to begin peritoneal dialysis. With that in mind, he was to have had a catheter surgically implanted into his peritoneal cavity on Sept. 25.

But, when you have kidney disease, things are out of your control and can change in a hurry. On Thursday night, his wife, Colleen Bruce, made an emotional plea on Facebook:

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 — It’s been close to 8 months since I first posted our story in search of a living kidney donor for my husband, Vic.

At the time of the posting, Vic’s kidney function (GFR) was holding at 19, but over the next few months it began to drop quickly. On Wednesday, he had his regular monthly lab work and he now is at 6. Today (Thursday) was a very emotional day as we got a call from the Kamloops Kidney Clinic advising that Vic was in kidney failure and needs to start emergency hemo dialysis tomorrow (Friday).

He was scheduled for surgery next week to place a catheter into his peritoneal cavity (lower abdomen) so he could start peritoneal dialysis within a month after the healing was complete; unfortunately, his kidneys can’t wait that long and now he will have a central line inserted into his neck so he can start on the hemo-dialysis tomorrow.

I know dialysis will help but it is only a temporary solution like a Band-Aid is to a wound; what Vic desperately needs is another kidney. I have seen the immense drop in his energy level over the past few months. His zest for life is slowly disappearing as he knows he is slowly getting sicker and sicker.

As I am typing this tonight, I have tears running down my face as it breaks my heart because I know I can’t give him the one thing that will make him better — a new kidney.

I’m once again reaching out to anyone and everyone that I can in search of a living kidney for my beautiful husband.

When we were down at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver at the end of April to the meet the kidney transplant team, we were reminded by one of the doctors that kidney donors live a long and healthy life with just one kidney. They are thoroughly screened before the transplant and they will only proceed if the donor is healthy and if there are no risks to him/her.

Once they have donated their kidney, they are continually being monitored over the years and if any other unrelated health ailments arise such as, say, cancer or heart disease, it will be diagnosed earlier than the average person because they are being medically checked regularly and may have a stronger chance of overcoming the disease as it was caught early.

I’m hoping and praying that someone out there can give my husband the beautiful lifesaving gift of a kidney so he can have a long and healthy life. My original posting is shown below and it has all the information if someone choses to come forward and start the process of kidney donation. Thank you each and everyone for taking the time to read this UPDATE and once again, please “Share” our story so we have a strong chance of finding a living kidney donor.

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January 24, 2019

Dear Family and Friends:

This is a difficult post for me to write, but I truly need your help. My husband’s kidney is failing and he is in desperate need of a kidney donor.

My wonderful husband Vic was diagnosed with CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) more than five years ago and he has been monitored by doctors and nurses at the Kamloops Kidney Clinic, who have been extremely supportive over the years.

His kidney function, however, has been declining and he now is facing the reality of kidney failure. I have seen changes in him — tiredness, lack of interest in activities we both used to enjoy, and depression.

While dialysis is one option that can help short-term, it is not a cure. The average time on dialysis is five years, before total kidney failure. Our best option for him to have a long and healthy life is a live kidney transplant.

Vic completed his testing and is a good candidate. I completed all the testing to see if I was a good candidate for becoming a kidney donor, but unfortunately a call on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 from St. Paul’s Hospital informed me I am unable to become a kidney donor because of my own health issues. It was a very emotional phone call. I now had to tell my beautiful husband I could not be his saviour. We both hoped I could be a donor for him, but that is not the case.

Now, I am desperately reaching out to as many friends and family online as I can in search of that kidney, which he needs so badly. We are hoping and praying someone will come forward and consider becoming Vic’s kidney donor. The more who come forward for testing, the better his chances for a match will be.

Doctors indicate that kidney donors live a normal and healthy long life with just one kidney. Donors are carefully medically screened to make sure it is safe for them to donate. The transplant team makes the donor’s health and well-being a priority before and after donation. We understand donors don’t have to be a relative or be an exact blood match in order to donate. We understand this is an extremely personal decision and there is a lot to think about.

If you would like more information or to explore kidney donation further, feel free to contact the donor nurse coordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital by calling 604-806-9027 (1-877-922-9822) or by emailing donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca.

Vic’s legal name is Louis Victor Morin. If you call and they ask who the recipient will be, give them that name. Please know your inquiry, as well as the process for determining your eligibility as a donor, would all be kept confidential. St. Paul’s runs a very professional donor program and we will never be told if anyone has expressed interest in donating a kidney (unless you tell us of course).

Donors may change their mind at any time, even on the day of the transplant.

Thank you for letting me share Vic’s medical situation with you.