Could you give Zach Tremblay a kidney as graduation present? . . . An emotional mother updates son’s situation . . .

If you are a regular in these parts, you will be familiar with the Backmeyer family of Kamloops and their four-year-old daughter, Ferris, who is in need of a kidney transplant. Her mother, Lindsey, often shares the trials and tribulations of living with a youngster and the challenges presented by a variety of things, including kidney disease.

But what if your child is a teenager trying to make his way through high school? What if your son has to travel to another community three or four times a week for hemodialysis treatments? How do you deal with the fact that your son had one kidney transplant that didn’t work out?

For starters, you hope and pray that he gets another chance.

Zach1
Zach Tremblay, high school graduate.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Tremblay family of Robson, B.C., is going through as their son and brother, Zach, continues his fight with kidney disease.

His mother, Jana, took to Facebook the other day to provide an update on her boy, who graduated from high school last month. And if you don’t think that’s an accomplishment — getting through high school while dealing with kidney disease, a failed transplant and hemodialysis — you need to back up and think again.

Besides the pandemic, this year didn’t get off to a roaring start for Zach when a clot developed in the fistula that had been implanted in one of his arms to help with the dialysis process.

That, Jana explained, “was extremely painful both physically and emotionally for him. It could not be saved and it was a huge blow for us all, but mostly him.

Zach2“It set us all back emotionally, and we decided to just take a step back from it all. Zach then made the decision to stick with his chest catheter and won’t agree to any more surgeries, unless it’s a kidney.”

Those days in the first two or three months of 2021 were wearing.

“He struggled hard with this news and decision and, as a parent, aside from the failed (fistula), it was the hardest thing to watch him go through . . . heartbreaking to say the least,” Jana wrote.

Dealing with kidney disease oftentimes is like riding a rollercoaster. Up . . . down . . . up . . . down. And it’s never easy, especially when you are wanting so badly for there to be a transplant in the near future. And when you’re the mother of a teenager for whom you badly want a kidney, knowing that it would bring him some kind of a ‘normal’ life, well . . . you also watch as your child has to deal with the extra-curricular stuff as well.

“We did our best to push forward and stay positive, but honestly it gets harder and harder,” Jana wrote. “The setbacks are harder to accept, because we feel like he just deserves a break. It’s very hard as an adult to push through and stay positive, but it’s even harder for a kid who faces all of this kidney stuff, plus the social teenage bullshit, and, yes, it’s ABSOLUTE, ignorant bullshit that gets tossed his way as well.”

Zach3Going into March, Zach had always dealt with a medical team at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. That all changed with a meeting that month during which they learned that his file was being transferred to “the adult world” at Vancouver General Hospital.

“We were gutted,” Jana wrote, “and I cried and cried . . . 18 years of tears, pain, let downs . . . it all literally poured from my body, and his as well, I’m sure.”

Of course, this transfer meant leaving one comfort zone and moving into an unfamiliar spot and having to start over with new medical people, something that never is easy.

As Jana wrote: “Leaving our team at BCCH is terrifying . . . 18 years of care and trust and faith, and we are leaving empty-handed. It does not feel good.”

But the clouds parted in June, at least for a short time, as Zach graduated from high school in Castlegar.

“Despite many hospital stays over the years, he did it!” Jana wrote. “It was different, of course, with COVID protocols, but our guy made it, and we could not be more proud of him!”

So what’s next for the Tremblays?

Well, Zach and Jana will spend some time in Vancouver next month meeting with the transplant team at VGH “and hopefully push forward towards a transplant for our guy.”

The first half of 2021 wasn’t easy, but, as Jana put it, “we made it, we are here, and so is he.”

And they are determined to focus on the positives and wait to see what “the fresh eyes of a new team will bring” to Zach’s situation.

“We will continue to share his story in hopes of finding a match,” Jana wrote, “and we will continue to advocate for others who are waiting.”

BTW, the Tremblay family all has been “double vaxxed and are super thankful for it!” That’s important for those with kidney disease and compromised immune systems. If you haven’t been vaccinated, please get it done, if not for yourself, for the thousands of people who walk among us with compromised immune systems.







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

A story about kidney disease and long weekends and joy and disappointment . . .

Vaccine


Hey, how’s the first long weekend of your summer treating you? Fine, I hope.

While some folks are complaining of being locked down — even though they are enjoying their favourite Kool-Aid on a patio and later will eat takeout from their favourite restaurant on their deck — I only hope that you are vaccinated once and waiting for No. 2.

In the meantime, allow me to provide you with some insight into kidney disease and a long weekend.

Just imagine, if you can, that you have been on dialysis for three or four years while waiting and hoping for a transplant. If you’re doing hemodialysis, you are visiting a clinic three times a week for about four hours at a time. If you’re doing peritoneal dialysis at home, you are hooking up to a machine — it’s called a cycler — every night when you go to bed. Yes, every night. Seven nights a week. In short, the cycler performs a fluid exchange while you are sleeping — toxic-filled fluid out, clean fluid in — as it does what your failed kidneys no longer are capable of doing.

Every four weeks a delivery truck pulls up at your home and the driver carries in 20 or 30 boxes of fluid and supplies. You have had to create a storage place for all of this, but, hey, you have come to understand that this is all part of living your life.

If you are lucky, you have gone through all the tests and been deemed a transplant candidate. You may have tried to find a living donor, but you haven’t had success. By now, then, you are on the deceased donor list. Yes, you know that it can be a long wait.

By now, you also have a medical team working with you. The team includes a case worker.

With a long weekend approaching, the case worker might call you with a message: (a) you’re finally near the top of the list; and (b) it’s a long weekend and that means, you know, traffic accidents and maybe . . .

One of the hard truths about being on the deceased donor list and getting a phone call is that your joy is on one side of the coin while a family’s nightmare is on the other side.

And then, just as the long weekend starts, your phone rings. There’s a kidney for you. So you and your wife pack in a hurry — you know that you could be in the big city for up to three months after surgery — and away you go.

The adrenaline carries you all the way to the hospital. You can hardly believe that the wait will soon be over. A kidney. No more dialysis. You are well aware that stuff might still happen — the best laid plans and all that — but you don’t want to think about that. You just know that your time has come.

You can’t restrain yourself from sharing the news. You pick up your phone and make a call, letting friends know that, yes, it’s almost time.

You are trying to contain your excitement, but there also is apprehension because you know that a kidney transplant is major surgery. But, really, what choice do you have? And, hey, no more dialysis. Hey, cycler, it’s been nice knowing you.

So, you’re thinking, let’s go . . . let’s get this over with.

You don’t know anything about the kidney that is heading your way — there are serious privacy concerns in these situations — but you are guessing that someone is on life support and that a decision has been made to donate organs and that you will be one of the beneficiaries. You are well aware that another family is going through a tough time.

Your thoughts are racing . . . you are incapable at the moment of compartmentalizing . . . let’s go.

And then the unthinkable happens and it all comes crashing down. You are informed that the medical team performed one last test on the donor and that test came back positive. Yes, for COVID-19.

Just like that the air is out of your balloon. You and your wife can hardly believe it. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. All in a matter of seconds. Bewildered and disappointed doesn’t begin to describe how you feel.

But, at the same time, you know there isn’t anything you can do about it. So you try to gather your thoughts, get yourself out of the hospital and back into your car, and you begin the four-hour drive back to the comfort of your own home.

After all, the cycler is calling . . . you have to do dialysis when you get there.

Such is life with kidney disease.

If you think that what you have just read is a work of fiction, allow me to assure you that it isn’t. This exact scenario played out over the past few days.

And now he’s back playing the waiting game, wondering if/when the phone will be ring because, you know, the long weekend isn’t over.


The question of age has long been a topic of conversation when it comes to organ donation, as in: How old is too old to register as an organ donor? . . . Perhaps there is no age limit. A medical team recovered a liver from the oldest recorded organ donor in U.S. history — Cecil Lockhart, 95, of Welch, W. Va.





This is a wonderful story about a man, Dick Henry of Wyomissing, Penn., who has twice been a transplant recipient — kidney and liver at separate times — both from the same living donor. . . . Henry, 72, got a kidney from family friend Jason Hornberger on Feb. 21. That was almost five years after Henry received part of Hornberger’s liver. . . . “My story is a positive one, I had a positive outcome,” Hornberger said. “The surgery went extremely well. Maybe there’s more people who will feel more comfortable about becoming a donor moving forward.” . . . The story from WPVI-TV in Philadelphia 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

Exerce while doing hemodialysis? Yes, it’s possible . . . Some Alberta patients cycled to the moon and back

How can one exercise while doing hemodialysis?

Not only is it possible, but it has become a routine part of treatment in some dialysis units through the installation of pedal exercisers.

In fact, there are patients who have taken on the challenge of pedalling to the moon and back.

Paul Brown, a graduate of the Master of Kinesiology program at the U of Calgary, led a 2017 study on the benefit of exercise while doing dialysis. Specifically, the study looked at what level of intensity was needed for the exercise to be beneficial.

Remember that kidney disease is chronic and brings with it such things as horrible fatigue and nausea. Hemodialysis uses a machine removed toxins from the body, a process that normally is done by the kidneys.

Brown’s study, according to a story from Dec. 15, 2017 on the U of Calgary website, “showed that exercise at even a lower intensity imparted a benefit.”

“The study required each subject to complete three differing protocols — one dialysis treatment with no exercise, one with lower-intensity exercise, and one with higher-intensity exercise,” the story continued. “While exercise made the dialysis procedure more efficient, Brown found no difference between lower- and higher-intensity exercises in terms of dialysis efficiency.

“Brown says research shows that patients who exercise during dialysis also have improved aerobic capacity, leg muscle strength and quality of life, and they have lower markers for inflammation and make fewer visits to the hospital.”

(That story is right here.)

Alberta Kidney Care has taken it one step further with a series of renal fitness challenges.

In 2019, 12 teams of patients and staff “combined their exercise and activity distances in a virtual trip across the province,” according to Alberta Health Services. On a 6,600-kilometre virtual tour, they visited 10 popular tourism stops, checked in with 24 different cities with hemodialysis units.

One year earlier, the challenge was called No Limits: Mission to the Moon 2018. Participants began the 384,000 km trip on June 19, 2018, and wrapped it up on Aug. 31.


“Access to living donor kidney transplant — a life-saving treatment for patients with kidney failure — is dramatically reduced among racialized groups in Canada, with studies reporting up to 70 per cent lower likelihood of living donor transplantation in South Asian, Black, African and Caribbean populations,” reports the United Health Network (UHN).

“A.C.T.I.O.N., a joint project led by UHN’s Centre for Living Organ Donation and Providence Healthcare in British Columbia, is taking a new approach to identify and reduce barriers to access to living donor kidney transplantation among these groups.”

The piece from UHN goes on: “Barriers such as language, cultural differences, trust and representation have an impact in how healthcare is delivered, and that is particularly true with complex specialized treatment such as organ transplantation.

“Access to living donor kidney transplant . . . is dramatically reduced among racialized groups in Canada, with studies reporting up to 70 per cent lower likelihood of living donor transplantation in South Asian, Black, African and Caribbean populations.”

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.


Zach facing one more speed bump . . . Mom: What we really need is a matching kidney

Zach16

So . . . you’ve got kidney disease . . . you go on dialysis . . . you get a new kidney.

Easy peasy! Right?

Oh, if only it was that easy. If only the process wasn’t so damn heart-breaking in some instances.

Zach Tremblay, a 17-year-old from Robson, B.C., needs a kidney. He has been on dialysis, peritoneal or hemo, since 2014. He had a live donor transplant in 2017 but there were complications and it didn’t work out.

He was doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) at home, but it began to lose its effectiveness as 2019 wound down, and he and his mother, Jana, ended up at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver where he was transitioned to hemodialysis.

That transition included the removal of a catheter that was used for PD and the insertion of a fistula to make hemo a bit easier by allowing an increase in blood flow.

So much for that.

On Thursday, Jana posted on Facebook:

“I guess to be blunt is best. The fistula surgery failed. We found out on Monday that the fistula has clotted off and did not grow. Fistula surgeries have a 25% failure rate, and he fell into that 25%. We are heartbroken and sad and angry and all the things. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t change that the surgery was a failure. It is unusable as an access for dialysis.

“We aren’t sure when, but another fistula surgery will be scheduled. Please keep sharing his story when you see it.

“A fistula is great, but what we really need is a matching kidney.”

——

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

——

Shortly after Jana’s post hit Facebook, Joan Alexander replied with an emotional plea of her own:

“This is hard to read and even harder to live! Zach’s mom . . . has shared the most recent update on his journey with kidney disease. Zach is the reason I became a living kidney donor.

“I wonder sometimes if people get tired of reading my posts about organ donation. Well, I will not stop until Zach receives his gift! Please take a moment and read more about his journey on Jana’s page or on the public page: Zach Needs a Kidney . . . Like Yesterday!

“Getting tested to become a donor is so easy.”

——

Meanwhile, there was more news from Vancouver where Ferris Backmeyer continues her battle.

Her mother, Lindsey, reported via Facebook that Ferris celebrated something of a birthday . . .

“Well happy half birthday little miss! 3.5 years old . . . oh my!” Lindsey wrote. “Celebrated with a night-time discharge from the hospital and (Thursday) is a day completely free of appointments and dialysis!! She had HD (Wednesday) followed by 3 flushes of her PD cath and a sample was taken late (Wednesday) afternoon. The results came back at 8pm and cell counts continue to improve. Original samples haven’t grown anything so we’ve stopped the IV and oral antifungals. Which meant we could pull the IV and sleep in ‘our own’ beds!!

“Ferris is so happy to have her ‘colouring hand’ back! I’m hoping she will start to feel better as it’s become quite obvious with the IV med anyways that it really makes her feel like crap. Blood pressure has been pretty high lately and I’m fairly certain she’s lost some real weight and is ‘wet’ at 11.3kg. Feeling such a strong need to get back on PD so we can get more calories into her. The fluid restriction on HD makes it so ridiculously tough to grow her. She’s also pretty anemic so hoping once that improves we will see better energy. She seems to be recovering well from surgery and hasn’t had any Tylenol for over 24hrs.

“Plan is to be admitted Tuesday to start using the PD cath. It’ll be a hybrid of HD and PD for a little bit until we can hopefully switch over fully, pull the HD line and come home. Middle of August maybe? That’s the most current plan anyway.”

——

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


Mike




kidney2

Hamilton: Delay into January could be “real tough” . . . No CFR in Red Deer this year . . . Will Blue Jays be allowed to come home?

If the start of the WHL’s 2020-21 regular season is delayed for three months or more, it could be tough for some of the league’s 22 franchises.

That’s according to Bruce Hamilton, the owner of the Kelowna Rockets and the chairman whlof the WHL’s board of governors.

“I think all of us are prepared to get into January,” Hamilton told Rob Munro of infotel.ca. “Then it will get real tough for a whole bunch of people.”

The WHL issued a statement last week indicating that it is aiming to open the regular season on Oct. 2. The 2019-20 season, which was shut down on March 12, opened on Sept. 20.

With Hamilton telling Munro that “70 per cent of our business is ticket driven,” it is obvious that the WHL needs fans in the seats in order to play. If teams don’t get the OK from health officials to open the doors to at least 50 per cent capacity, the season won’t start on time — if at all.

But if the season does get rolling, Hamilton indicated that fans will see a few changes.

For starters, physical distancing will play a part in seating configuration. In fact, Hamilton said the WHL has heard from a company that has developed software to help with that.

“There is one company in particular that I know about,” Hamilton told Munro, “that has reached out to our league instead of coming to all the teams individually, that has created the software and it will be used whether it’s baseball, football, hockey, basketball.

“It’ll be that kind of thing, where they take your manifest for your building and then design it out of that.”

Munro’s complete story is right here.



We are almost into July and are waking up to discover that events scheduled for November are being cancelled.

And that can’t be good for junior hockey leagues that are hoping to get started in September and October.

On Wednesday, the 2020 Canadian Finals Rodeo was cancelled by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. It was to have been held at the Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer, Nov. 3-8, with more than 43,000 fans expected to attend.

Don’t forget that the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship is to be held in Red Deer and Edmonton, from Dec. 26, 2020, through Jan. 5, 2021.

Meanwhile, two marathons fell by the wayside on Wednesday, with organizers of the Berlin (Sept. 27) and New York City (Nov. 1) events cancelling the 2020 races.


An undisclosed number of players and staff with the Toronto Blue Jays have tested positive after being at the team’s training facility in Dunedin, Fla. . . . The facility has been shut down. . . . The Blue Jays now are looking to find a training camp site with players to report in a week. They have asked the Canadian government for an exemption from quarantine regulations in order to train and play regular-season games in Toronto. . . . Shi Davidi of Sportsnet has more right here. . . .

F Jabari Parker of the Sacramento Kings and G Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers revealed on Wednesday that they have tested positive. Both plan on being back with their teams in time to resume the NBA season in Orlando, Fla., next month. . . .

Caddies who work for Graeme McDowell and Brooks Koepka have tested positive. As a result, McDowell and Koepka withdrew from the Travelers Championship that opens today (Thursday) in Connecticut. McDowell tested negative but apparently suspects that he has the virus, so he has gone home. . . . Webb Simpson also withdrew, as did Cameron Champ, who actually tested positive. . . . Simpson, last weekend’s winner on the PGA Tour, withdrew, saying a family member had tested positive. . . .

The U of Connecticut has eliminated men’s cross-country, men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and women’s rowing because of budget issues brought on by the pandemic. . . . UConn also has implemented a 15 per cent cut in operating budgets of all sports. . . .

There are reports that WWE has had as many as two dozen wrestlers and staffers test positive in Orlando, Fla.



Tire

Having kidney disease is about waiting and hoping and packed bags and the phone ringing . . .

Owlets
A friend who is on the active list for a kidney transplant took this photo recently. The owlets want him to know that they await his return.

It was just the other day when Dorothy asked me: “How many people do we know who are waiting for kidney transplants?”

We quickly came up with seven . . . and you can bet there are more than that, with some people just not comfortable talking about it or spending time with those of us involved with the Kamloops Kidney Support Group — although the pandemic has forced us to lay low for a bit.

Anyway . . . our group of seven includes Ferris Backmeyer, 3, of Kamloops and Zach Tremblay, 17, of Robson, B.C. No, kidney disease doesn’t discriminate by age.

And from the moment a person is diagnosed with kidney disease, it is a waiting game. You wait until you need dialysis to keep you going. You wait until you find out whether you are a candidate for a transplant. Then you wait some more, hoping all the time that there will be a transplant in your future. If everything works out, you find yourself awaiting a phone call.

Well . . . there was some excitement in our home a few days ago because a friend has been declared an “excellent candidate” for a transplant and now is on the active list awaiting a deceased donor. That means the waiting has taken on a new edge.

Now he and his wife, their bags packed for a stay in Vancouver, wait and hope for a phone call. “We are on pins and needles,” he told us.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case, someone will have to die before that phone call comes. But that is the other side of an organ transplant when it is to involve a deceased donor.

Until recently, the transplant process had been slowed by the pandemic. But it seems things now are starting to pick up again. That, of course, is good news, especially for those who are waiting and hoping.


Zach16

——

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



——


Obviously, the figures in the tweet/story below are from the U.S., but they do show some encouraging news for people who are awaiting an organ transplant. . . .


The information in the story linked to from the following tweet is based on the United States’ system, but there is a lot here that is relevant in Canada, too.

All about washing your hands, suppressed immune systems and a Kidney Gala . . .


Have you ever wondered what life is like for a transplant recipient — be it heart, lung or kidney — living with a suppressed immune system? . . . “For transplant patients,” writes Blair Crawford of the Ottawa Citizen, “the fear of infection is a daily fact of life. They all take drugs to suppress their immune system to reduce the risk their new organ will be rejected. (Tina) Proulx’s life depends on the Purell hand sanitizer and Lysol and Clorox wipes that are now being swept off store shelves and stockpiled by panicked shoppers.” . . . Proulx has a double lung transplant in December 2015. . . . Crawford has written a terrific piece that explains it all, and it is right here.


The eighth annual Kidney Gala was held in Vancouver recently, and Fred Lee, who handles Fred Lee’s Social Network for the Vancouver Province, was one of the co-hosts.

Stephen Gillis, who 17 days earlier had undergone a kidney transplant, and Michael Teigen, who was Gillis’s donor, were on hand and received a stirring standing ovation.

For more on the Kidney Gala, including photos, click right here.

——

BTW, congrats to Stephen Gillis and his Vancouver Minor Atom A1 hockey team for their championship. They won the PCAHA Presidents Series title earlier in the week.

If you have been following Gillis’s story over the past year you know just how much this hockey team means to him.

Here’s a bit of what Gillis posted on Facebook:

“Thank you to our friends at Burnaby Winter Club for a spirited series. You’re a team of class and sportsmanship and it has been great to play you all year. Thank you for your team’s kindness and support during my health journey.

“So proud of our squad. On and off the ice they gave 110% and would never quit. This was a special team. Excited to see the great things these kids achieve. Stay relentless.

“Thank you to my amazing parent group for an outstanding season. It was a privilege to coach this team and you all jumped on board with my plan. I am so grateful for your support of the team, our culture and mission, and the constant support, kindness, and generosity you have shown me throughout my health issues. Truly, thank you.

“We dedicated tonight’s victory to young Zachary Tremblay and his mother Jana. Zach has become a hero to our team. At 16, he is currently on dialysis and is in need of a kidney donor (O negative or positive blood). We want to help Zach’s message and find him a heroic donor. Please spread the word and let’s find Zach a donor.”

——

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


Harry Bryant, a grandfather who lives in Vernon, B.C., has turned to Facebook in an attempt to find a living kidney donor. If you’re on Facebook, you are able to check out his page — Grandpa Needs a Kidney. . . . Caitlin Clow of the Vernon Morning Star recently did a story on Bryant, and it’s all right here.





Happy birthday to Ferris . . . How about a new kidney for a belated birthday present?

Ferris Backmeyer of Kamloops turned three years of age this week, and we all are hoping that this is the year in which she gets a new kidney.

FerrisJan2020
Here’s hoping that this is the year in which Ferris Backmeyer, 3, of Kamloops gets a new kidney. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

On the occasion of Ferris’s third birthday, her mother, Lindsey, posted an update on Facebook:

“Happy Birthday sweet girl!

“Ferris has officially completed all her transplant assessment and we will hear more about listing and what the next several months will look like next Friday.

“I am not able to donate and we learned that Pat (Ferris’s father) is not a blood match for Ferris. We are reaching out and spreading her story in hopes that we may find just the right kidney for her!

“Our consult with the surgeons went about as I suspected it would. They are wanting her to be even bigger. For her to transplant at the size she is now we would need the perfect-sized kidney for her little body.

“I’m anxious that this process might take a long time. Our first year on dialysis was hard. She was really sick. The past eight months have been great and I worry we will miss our transplant window. She is strong and ready now.

“Please . . . help us find a kidney for our sweet 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


Flu shots. Get them. Period.

What follows is from Interior Health’s website, under the headline 2019-20 Seasonal Influenza Campaign:

“Flu shots are safe, easy to get, and free for those at risk and their household contacts.

“The people at the greatest risk of influenza-related complications are adults and children with underlying health conditions, residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities, people 65 years of age and older, children under 60 months of age, pregnant women, and Aboriginal peoples.

“It’s important that those who have loved ones that are most at risk of complications from influenza get vaccinated. This will help to build a wall of protection around your loved one and reduce their chances of acquiring influenza illness.”

Get a flu shot. Every single year. Transplant recipients and others who are at risk will appreciate it.


If you are going to be in the Pittsburgh area on May 12, you may want to take in the MLB game between the Pirates and San Francisco Giants. It will be Organ Donation Awareness Night at PNC Park. A portion of ticket sales will go to support CORE.

From a news release:

“The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States. CORE works closely with donor families and designated healthcare professionals to deliver the gift of hope by co-ordinating the surgical recovery of organs, tissues and corneas for transplantation. CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs, tissues and corneas. With integrity and compassion, our goal is to bridge the gap between donor families, health care providers and transplant recipients so that we may forever transform lives.”

——

Teghan Simonton of triblive.com reported in mid-January that CORE “facilitated 661 transplants in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia last year — an increase from 2018 by nearly 10 per cent.” . . . She added: “There were 253 deceased organ donors in the region, nearly 20 per cent more than in 2018. Of those, 198 donors were in Western Pennsylvania. That’s up from 2018, when there were 162.” . . . There were 226 living donors involved in transplants, up from 191 in 2018. . . . As of mid-January, there were 112,693 people in the U.S. waiting for transplants. . . . Simonton’s story is right here.

——

BC Transplant hasn’t released its 2019 numbers yet, but there is word of a record 2019 from the Universal Health Network (UHN), which is based in Toronto and bills itself as “one of the largest organ transplant centres in North America.”

In 2019, they did 201 kidneys, 202 livers, 209 lungs, 40 pancreas and 40 hearts. That adds up to 701 patients.

Zach closer to going home, but still needs kidney . . . Surgeon reflects on all he has seen, done and more

ZachT
These days, Zach Tremblay is kicking back at Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

Zach Tremblay has been discharged from B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, but isn’t yet able to return home to Robson, B.C.

Zach, 16, had been doing peritoneal dialysis until it recently became ineffective. So

ZachTremblay
Zach Tremblay is 16 now, and he still needs a kidney. The phone numbers will get you to the Live Donor Exchange Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

during his most-recent stay at BCCH, he has been transitioning to hemodialysis.

His mother, Jana, has been keeping family and friends up to date by posting on Facebook. On Saturday, she wrote that they now are staying at Ronald McDonald House . . .

“Who’s a rock star . . . yup it’s our kid — we are officially discharged to RMH! He is doing hemo 4 times a week right now, 3.5 hours each session, and tolerating it beautifully. We will work up to 3 times a week, 4-hour sessions to be on the same schedule as Trail. Staying here for now makes that very convenient!

“PD is officially done and he will have that catheter removed probably one day next week . One step closer to home . . . The ride is a crazy one , so thanks for staying on it !! We love you all.”

When Zach and his mother return to Robson, his care will be in the hands of the staff at Trail’s Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital while he waits for a kidney transplant. All that’s needed is a donor.

——

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


This piece right here, from npr.org, is terrific. There is a 35-minute clip that you are able to listen to, or you can read a short story that features a few excerpts from that interview. . . . It is with Dr. Joshua Mezrich, who is an associate professor in the division of multi organ transplantation at the U of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. . . . He has been involved in hundreds of kidney, liver and pancreas transplants, and talks about his experiences and a whole lot more right here. . . . These transplant surgeons really are special people. I know that I really enjoyed the conversations I had with Dr. Brian Mayson at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, before and after Dorothy’s transplant more than six years ago. He always made you feel as though he had all the time in the world to converse with you, and that is something that we really appreciated.


Former NFL defensive POY needs kidney . . . Campbell River volunteer honoured . . . How do vaccines work?

If you are a sports fan, especially a football fan, you will remember Albert Haynesworth, a big, bad pass-rushing maniac who was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 2008 while with the Tennessee Titans. . . .These days, Haynesworth does hemodialysis three times a week five hours at a time, starting at 6:15 a.m. . . . “He shares this cramped space with people from all backgrounds: white and black, young and old, successful and otherwise . . . diverse but depressingly the same, in that they each desperately need a kidney,” writes Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated. “Haynesworth’s doctors have made that clear to him. Even this mountainous man, once as feared as any in football, finds himself worrying about dying young, about all the graduations and weddings and milestones he would miss.” . . . A friend is well along in the testing process, and Haynesworth just may get that kidney this year. . . . Bishop’s complete story — it’s a good one and it’s a long read — is right here. . . . (Thanks to long-time friend Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, for passing along the link to this story.)


——

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


It was in late November when Shawn Logan of Postmedia put together a story on how an organ gets from a donor to a recipient. It’s a good story and, if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look. . . . Logan opens the story: “A critical window opens for only a short period of time when a family makes the life-changing decision to allow a dying loved one to become an organ and tissue donor. The window can only open during two types of deaths, which allow for doctors to harvest vital organs and tissue that can be used to save or improve the lives of others. The first death is one in which the brain stops functioning (neurological death), but other vital functions remain operative. The second is cardio-circulatory death, in which life is not sustainable without a ventilator.” . . . The complete story is right here.

——

Meanwhile, Shraddha Chakradhar of statnews.com wrote an interesting piece this week on a major development in the area of heart transplants in the U.S. “A new method of ‘reanimating’ donor hearts from those who have died from cardiac failure is currently being tested in the U.S.,” Chakradhar reports, adding that this program “may soon ease” the burden on the more than 250,000 Americans who are at the end stages of heart failure. . . . “Last month, a team at Duke University was the first in the U.S. to perform the procedure in an adult as part of a multicenter clinical trial,” the story continues. “And just last week, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the University of Wisconsin in Madison, which are also a part of the trial, reported their first such transplant.” . . . This enlightening and newsy story is right here.