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.







Yukon politicians need to do better with dialysis file . . . More on Zach Tremblay . . . Fraser Valley hotdog king makes great decision

Allow me to throw a few words in the direction of politicians in the Yukon: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) isn’t going away. In fact, as time goes on medical advancements are going to mean more diagnoses, meaning CKD is only going to take a bigger and bigger bite out of your population, as it is everywhere else. . . . In the medical community, it is generally accepted that one in 10 Canadians is living with kidney disease or is at risk, and most of those people are unaware of their situation. . . . I would suggest that Yukon isn’t a statistical anomaly, so I also would suggest that the fact there isn’t a community dialysis unit in your area of our country is something of an embarrassing tragedy. . . .

If you are a regular here, you will be aware that Terry Coventry, 74, died in Whitehorse General Hospital on Jan. 3. He had kidney disease and was doing hemodialysis in Vancouver until, plagued by loneliness, he chose to return home even though he knew he was facing certain death.

He invited media to visit with him in hospital in Whitehorse on Dec. 10, telling them: “I’m not afraid (of dying). I’m just kind of pissed off that there’s nothing they can do for me . . . I sure hope it’ll help the next person, you know? For whatever reason, we should have a dialysis here at the hospital. We don’t.”

Jackie Hong of Yukon News has reported that Coventry’s sister, Kelly, is picking up the torch that her brother had been carrying.

“Terry has gone peacefully and the way that he wanted to, and that gives me a great deal of joy,” Kelly told Hong earlier this week. “It also gives me a great deal of joy knowing we were able to kind of tick all of the boxes that he wanted to get accomplished before his passing, and the only thing left is getting a hemodialysis machine here in the Yukon. . . .

“The success is going to have a hemodialysis machine here in the Yukon so that people don’t have to experience what he experienced and when that happens, and I say when, not if . . .  then Terry’s last wish will be completed.

“Hopefully things will move quickly once everything is settled and I can sort of get the push on again.”

Here’s hoping that there are politicians in the north country who are paying attention and prepared to make a difference.

Hong’s complete story is right here.


Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, finally got to Vancouver on Monday. You will recall that they are from Robson, B.C., and that Zach, 16, is in need of a kidney transplant. Late last week, he began having some issues and the decision was made to get him to

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.

Vancouver so his medical team could take a look.

Just to complete the story that began then. . . .

Unable to fly out of Trail, B.C., due to inclement weather in various locations, Zach and Jana ended up making the trip to Kelowna via ground ambulance. Jana posted late Sunday night/early Monday morning:

“Kelowna — safe and sound — BUT, and that’s a mighty big butt, there’s nothing nice to be said about travelling facing backwards and not being able to see where we were going. 🤢

“Settled in for the night , and onward to Van tomorrow

“We truly love you all.”

——

On Monday morning, she posted:

“We are still in Kelowna. We woke to a huge snow storm and I don’t think planes are moving right now. His BP was pretty stable overnight and he’s resting well . . . no idea when we will get to Van but eventually we will.

“Thanks for staying on this crazy ride.

“Love to you all.”

——

Later Monday, she wrote:

“We have FINALLY arrived in Van — no real updates — he’s getting the care he needs and we are where we need to be for now.

“We thank you all for the love and support and for just loving our boy and our family.

“#TeamZach is one of a kind of and we are blessed to have each and every one of you a part of it.”

——

On Thursday night, Jana told me that Zach’s medical team has decided that peritoneal dialysis “isn’t working well for him anymore and he will be having a hemo catheter placed” on Friday.

Once Zach’s situation stabilizes, he and Jana will return home, after which his care will be placed in the hands of the staff at a hospital in Trail, B.C., which is about 30 km south of Robson.

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If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, perhaps to help Zach or anyone else in need of a kidney, 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


“Skully White is known around Abbotsford as a charitable guy,” wrote Vikki Hopes of the Abbotsford News. . . . Hopes then went on to chronicle many of White’s contributions to the community and, believe me, there are a lot of them. . . . Now, though, Hopes is taking charity to a whole new level. . . . “He’s donating a kidney to one of his customers, Tim Hiscock,” Hopes wrote. . . . Hopes’ story of how this all came about is right here.




Zach’s search for kidney continues . . . Coventry hoped his death will bring change to Yukon

Gord McIntyre of Postmedia chatted with Jana Tremblay the other day and the result — a story on Jana’s son Zach — was in Vancouver’s two daily papers on Friday. . . . The hunt is on for a kidney for Zach, 16, who spends 14 hours a day undergoing dialysis. The Tremblays live in Robson, B.C., just across the Columbia River from Castlegar. . . . McIntyre’s story is right here.

I first wrote about Zach in October. That piece is right here.

NOTE: Just as I posted this on Saturday morning, Jana Tremblay was putting a note on Facebook . . .

“Because life just likes to keep us on our toes, we are currently sitting in Trail Hospital, awaiting air transport to Vancouver. Zach has very high BP , and needs some TLC from his team.
And just to throw an extra kink into things , weather in Van has our flight on hold … that’s a switch 😜
Keep good thoughts for our boy.”

We’re thinking about you, Zach.


Terry Coventry lived in Whitehorse for 61 years; he died of kidney failure in Whitehorse on Friday at the age of 74. . . . Coventry died four weeks after a final dialysis treatment. . . . He had ended up at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver in July and spent four months there. With dialysis treatment unavailable in Whitehorse and not wanting to relocate to Vancouver, Coventry returned to the Yukon city to die.

On Dec. 10, Coventry called reporters to his bedside in Whitehorse General Hospital. “Maybe my death, and my complaint here, will trigger something in the government so the next guy coming along can be here and won’t be shipped down south,” Coventry told reporters. “I’m going to die. That’s it . . . I’m not afraid, I’m just kind of pissed off.”

Steve Silva of CBC News has more right here.

Gabrielle Pivonka of the Whitehorse Star was among the reporters at Coventry’s bedside on Dec. 10. Her story, which is right here, helps to explain why hemo-dialysis isn’t available in Whitehorse.


Those involved with The Kidney Project feel that they are moving ever closer to eliminating the need for dialysis. . . . The team reported in November that U of California — San Francisco “scientists have successfully implanted a prototype kidney bioreactor containing functional human kidney cells into pigs without significant safety concerns. The device, which is about the size of a deck of cards, did not trigger an immune reaction or cause blood clots in the animals, an important milestone on the road to future human trials.” . . . Team member Shuvo Roy, PhD, said in a news release: “This is the first demonstration that kidney cells can be implanted successfully in a large animal without immunosuppression and remain healthy enough to perform their function. This is a key milestone for us. . . . Based on these results, we can now focus on scaling up the bioreactor and combining it with the blood filtration component of the artificial kidney.” . . . The complete news release is right here.