Roberts loving her new life after transplant . . . Cypress’ new kidney “doing incredibly well” . . .

Have you ever wondered what life is like for a child before and after a kidney transplant?

Kathleen Roberts knows all about it; she’s 19 now and had a transplant four years ago at BC Children’s Hospital.

“Before the transplant,” she says, “I was going to BC Children’s every few months. I was just sick. I slept 16 to 18 hours a day. I had no appetite. I was 82 pounds and five feet tall. I was severely underweight and severely nauseous. The transplant made a huge difference. I have a normal appetite and I’m not sleeping the day away anymore.”

Take a few minutes and read her story, which is right here.


Cypress Roed, an eight-year-old from Harrison Hot Springs, B.C., continues to make progress after undergoing a kidney transplant on Oct. 24 at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Her mother, Chantelle Deley, told me in an email earlier this week that “Cypress is doing well for the most part. She is finally in remission!”

Early on, Cypress had been diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, something that damages the kidneys and prevents the filtering of protein from the urine.

The recovery process hasn’t been without a speed bump or two, the latest of which has been having to deal with migraines. Cypress was back in hospital late last week because the migraines were causing severe nausea.

But, as Chantelle wrote,“she is in remission and that’s a major positive.”

It’s important to note that the new kidney “is doing incredibly well.”

“She is amazingly strong,” Chantelle said of her daughter.

Dorothy, my wife, had some health issues six weeks or so after her transplant and spent most of December 2013 in hospital dealing with them. But, as with Cypress, the new kidney just kept doing its job. Hopefully, that continues with Cypress, who is preparing to spend her third straight Christmas away from home.

Cypress is to turn nine on Jan. 22. Her dream has been to celebrate by going swimming. Here’s hoping she is able to make a big splash.



This was posted on a blog called Andrew Kai’s Adventure in Liverland. It was written by his mother:

“I wrote this in the waiting room after Kai coded. They brought him back 3 times before rushing him to the operating room. The plan was to open him up and remove the bad liver to buy him some time. The new liver was only 4 hours away. He had held on at the top of the list for 2 days. He was first in line for a liver and didn’t get one in time.

“I really believed he would make it. I pushed all the doubts out. I kept saying this over and over to myself, I knew my baby was strong and I had to believe for him.”

The post included a photo of a note on which was written:

“Pieces of me are in you

“Pieces of you are in me

“I am here

“You are here

“Kai will live!!!!”

Below the note was a small stone with a heart etched into it.

Kai’s mother continued:

“The heart stone is what they gave to me, and one to him, so that we would have something to connect us when I had to say goodbye the last time. I placed it over his heart and I haven’t put my stone down since I left him.

“HE WOULD HAVE LIVED IF HE HAD A NEW LIVER. Even if it had been just a few hours earlier.

“DONATE YOUR ORGANS. YOU DON’T NEED THEM AFTER YOU’RE GONE.”

Andrew Kai George was born on April 23, 2019. Without a new liver, he died on Dec. 2, 2019, in Indianapolis, Ind.





Celebrating 40 years with a donated kidney . . . More important news from the Cleveland Clinic

These are the kind of stories we like to read. . . . Tom Mitrovski of Toronto is 72 now. There was a time when he never thought he would see 50.

He underwent a kidney transplant on Nov. 27, 1979, thinking then that he had five to 10 years left. . . . Tom Hayes of Global News has the story right here.


Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic have successfully performed a laparoscopic liver transplant, the second time such an operation has been done in the U.S. . . . Chris Cantergiani of WKYC has more right here, and there is a lot of interesting stuff in the story.

Earlier this year, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic performed the first robotic single-port kidney transplant, doing it all through one small abdominal incision. There’s more on that story right here.






McLennan celebrates two years with friend’s kidney . . . Kamloops woman finally gets her transplant

Hugh
Two years ago, Hugh McLennan (second from left) and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor were roaming the halls at Vancouver General Hospital, along with Hugh’s wife, Billie. The big question: Where in the big city did they tie up their horses? (Photo: Hugh McLennan/Facebook)

Happy anniversary to Hugh McLennan, who has been living for two years with a transplanted kidney, courtesy of his good friend Louis (Big Rig) McIvor.

Here’s what Hugh wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday:

“Two years ago (Friday) this guy gave me one of his kidneys! We’re both doing fine and we’d encourage you to look into being an organ donor and if you know someone on dialysis look into getting tested as a living donor.”

Now that is really sound advice.

Hugh and his wife, Billie, own and operate a ranch near Pinantan Lake, just outside of Kamloops.


Best wishes to Melissa Wells of Kamloops, who underwent a kidney transplant on Nov. 9.

Melissa has a kidney disease — Type 3 Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) — that resulted in kidney failure. She spent more than six years waiting for a transplant, all the while doing dialysis.

In July, her husband, Marty, wrote:

“She’s been through countless failed surgeries, successful surgeries, and even had a direct line put into her heart just so she was able to get treatment to stay alive.”

Marty also added something that, with all that Dorothy has been through, I think of regularly. It has to do with the number of people walking around who live with kidney disease but don’t give any appearance of being ill.

“If you saw Melissa today she would seem totally normal,” Marty wrote in July. “She goes about her daily life — visiting family, hanging out with friends, going shopping. What you don’t see is her strength. She fights through constant headaches, nausea, fatigue, shooting pains through her arm, and overall pain of having major organ failure. The constant needling of her arm almost every day and the perpetual surgeries she has to deal with in Kamloops, Kelowna, and Vancouver are exhausting and expensive.”

The good news is that Melissa has a new kidney now. Here’s hoping that all goes well.


What happens when an organ or organs come available for transplant? How quickly does the window of opportunity close? When there is a death, how many organs might be available for transplant? What about tissue, corneas, etc.? . . . Shawn Logan of Postmedia has an excellent look at all of that and a whole lot more right here.


Susan Bell and Dorothy Stewart of CBC News have produced a story that includes Colleen Atsynia, a single mother of five.

According to the story, she “was in her mid-40’s when kidney disease forced her to leave her job, her family and her northern Quebec community of Wemindji for dialysis treatment in Montreal.”

As Atsynia told the reporters: “When you first find out you need a transplant, to me it felt like, ‘OK, that’s it. I’m done. I’m just going to die.”

According to the story, Atsynia’s life changed when “someone she doesn’t know gave it all back to her by donating a kidney” in May 2018.

“I was extremely happy because I knew I was going to finally come home,” she said. “My kids were happy . . . they were really happy.”

That story is right here.




This doesn’t have anything to do with transplants or kidney disease, but it is a great watch . . .


How many B.C. people are alive because of organ transplants? The numbers are in . . .

More numbers from BC Transplant: There are 1,487,323 donors registered in the province’s organ donor registry; there were 406 transplants performed in 2019, to Nov. 1; and there still were 755 patients awaiting transplants. . . . Visit the website at transplant.bc.ca for more information and lots more numbers.


Sean Delaney of Edmonton is the associate director of organ listing and allocation at Canadian Blood Services. Delaney, 48, also has undergone a kidney transplant; in fact, he had one more than 20 years ago when he got one from his brother. . . . Delaney’s story, as told by Moira Wyton of Postmedia, is right here, and it’s an interesting one. . . . “Delaney works to streamline organ donation across the country,” Wyton writes, “and create new ways to help people receive the organs they need to live and thrive.

This has included the creation of a national registry to administer new programs such as the Kidney Paired Donation Program, which has facilitated more than 700 transplants since its founding in 2009.” . . . Through all of this, he now finds himself back on the transplant list because his kidney is in failure, and he is doing peritoneal dialysis.



Check out this story from Cleveland where doctors at a clinic have used a robot to perform a kidney transplant . . . 


Kidney donor chosen to take part in Tournament of Roses Parade . . . Philly rapper Freeway talks transplant

I don’t make a habit of watching the annual Tournament of Roses Parade from Pasadena, Calif. But I plan on watching the 131st annual event on New Year’s Day.

Why?

To honour Regina Tanner and all of the other generous folks who have donated kidneys. (Hello, Susan Duncan and Cheryl Vosburgh and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor and so many others.)

Regina, who is from Fresno, Calif., will be in the Parade, walking with the Donate Life Rose Parade float. Regina gave up a kidney in 2016 so that her husband, Cary, could get one via transplant. The two of them ended up part of a paired kidney donation chain that featured 18 people.

There is more on Regina’s story right here.

That piece also includes some interesting facts and statistics regarding organ donation and transplantation.









RE/MAX, WHL partner again to help Kidney Foundation. . . . Raised more than $460,000 in two seasons

RE/MAX of Western Canada and the WHL are once again getting behind WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation, the annual promotion that benefits the whlKidney Foundation of Canada and its provincial  branches.

If you aren’t familiar with this promotion, it involves the WHL’s 17 Canadian-based teams, each of whom uses one game each season to help promote organ donation and transplantation.

I don’t have dates for all teams but the B.C. Division games will go like this: Prince George Cougars, Jan. 31; Vancouver Giants, Feb. 8; Kamloops Blazers, March 6; Victoria Royals, March 13; and Kelowna Rockets, March 14.

During the 2017-18 season, the promotion in WHL cities raised more than $265,500, making it the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation. Last season, the final total raised was $196,600.

In two seasons then, RE/MAX of Western Canada and the WHL have helped raise more than $460,000.


The 10th annual Kidney Walk Kamloops is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22, at McDonald Park on the North Shore.

Registration will open at 10 a.m., with the walk to start at 11. And we will walk in the KWlogo2rain if the forecast holds true.

If you would like to join us, you are able to walk all or part of the approximately 2.5-km pathway between McDonald Park and McArthur Island. Or you don’t have to walk at all; you might want to just sit and enjoy the company and festivities, then have breakfast. The Brock Central Lions Club will be on hand to provide breakfast — pancakes, sausages and coffee — by donation.

The Kidney Walk helps the Kidney Foundation 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.

My wife, Dorothy, will be celebrating the sixth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in her sixth straight Kidney Walk. In her six walks, she has raised more than $15,000. If you would like to support her — she reached the $3,000 mark on Thursday — you may do so right here.


A note from the Kidney E-News letter of the BC and Yukon Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada:

“The BC & Yukon Branch and the Children’s Organ Transplant Society (COTS) were excited to have 43 youth from across BC attend Camp Latona on Gambier Island in August.

“The kids got to enjoy the camp experience with other young people at various stages in their kidney disease/organ transplant journeys. The weather was fantastic and some of highlights included tubing, campfires, extraordinary food, swimming and, of course, making new friends! 

“A huge thank you to all of the gracious donors who made it possible for the kids to attend a cost-free, worry-free camp. We appreciate you!”






Ready to go Kidney Walking in Kamloops. . . . Pearlman, Valdez talk about transplant. . . . Mother wants to make late son proud, donates kidney

Almost all is in readiness for Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk.

We will gather on Sunday at McDonald Park on the North Shore, with registration at 10 a.m., and the walk to begin at 11.

Edna Humphreys is the executive director of the Kamloops branch of the Kidney KWlogo2Foundation. I can tell you from experience that without her leadership and organizational skills, the Kidney Walk would experience some difficult times.

(It’s also worth noting that if it’s a renal-related activity in Kamloops, you can bet that Humphreys is in the forefront. Among other things, she is a co-founder of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group, and also is the lead organizer of a Christmas luncheon for dialysis patients and transplant recipients. With music by old friend Jesse Jones. Yessss!)

Anyway . . . Humphreys recently took time out from her busy schedule to talk with Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week about the 2019 Kidney Walk.

That story is right here.


One of my favourite renal-related stories involves a woman named Catherine Pearlman, who walked into a Los Angeles-area Starbucks on Dec. 30, saw a poster on a bulletin board, and decided that very moment to become a kidney donor. . . . The result was that Eli Valdez, a complete stranger, received one of her kidneys. . . . They told their story to today.com, and it’s all right here.

If you missed it earlier, Pearlman wrote about her experience for the Los Angeles Times, and that piece is right here.

Catherine’s husband, Jeff Pearlman, is a writer and published author. He wrote on his blog about what all of this meant to him. Here’s how he started it:

“It’s 10:15 am, and as I write this my wife Catherine is in surgery here at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center — donating one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.

“You read that correctly, but I recommend reading it again. My wife Catherine is in surgery donating one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.”

The complete piece is right here.

BTW, if you are a sporting fan and haven’t read Jeff’s book, Football for a Buck, you’re cheating yourself. It’s all about the USFL — remember that league? — and is loaded with especially juicy anecdotes, including some involving, yes, Donald Trump.


Laura Gillum’s son, Dean, was 23 months old when he drowned in the family’s backyard pool in the Pittsburgh area in 2015. His heart, lover and kidneys were donated.

“My son was amazing,” she told Lisa Washington of KDKA-TV. “At 23 months old, he saved three people’s lives. Not many people can say that, and even though he’s gone, I try every day to do something to make him proud of me.”

On March 7, Lisa donated a kidney to Brian Cox, a complete stranger. They met early in April.

“I just can’t comprehend why someone wouldn’t want to donate their kidney, so hopefully getting the message out, more people will want to do it and that they’ll want to educate themselves to find out just what everything entails,” Gillum said.

Washington’s complete story is right here.