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!”






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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.









Kidney donor: If you want to have a good community, you have to give to that community

So . . . how was your day?

As good as it might have been, there isn’t any way it was as great as was mine.

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about it.

I was present at an event on Wednesday morning at which a woman said: “If you want to have a good community, you have to give to that community.”

She was three weeks from having donated a kidney to a stranger.

——

The Kamloops Kidney Support Group gathers on the second Wednesday and second Saturday of each month. We are there to provide support and share experiences with others who are or have been impacted by kidney disease.

On Wednesday, we were 15 people strong. One attendee has been doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) for a few months as he awaits a transplant. Another is preparing to start PD dialysis as he, too, waits for a transplant. There were others on hand who are dealing with kidney disease in one stage or another, one of whom does hemo-dialysis three times a week. There also were two people there, including my wife, Dorothy, who have had transplants.

Understand that these gatherings are completely informal. We meet in the Barside Lounge and Grill inside Chances Casino, have coffee, maybe some breakfast, and talk about our kidney-related experiences.

This time, as we were getting comfortable, a stranger strolled to our table and pulled up a chair. As we do in these instances, we went around the table, introducing ourselves and telling our stories.

When it got to the new person, I am sure the others were like me, expecting to hear from someone who recently had been diagnosed with kidney disease.

Instead, she started with: “I donated a kidney . . . three weeks ago today.” Her voice touched by emotion, she proceeded to tell us that she had given a kidney to a complete stranger.

After making the decision to be a living donor, she had begun the process by sitting down at her computer and Googling “BC Transplant living donor.” That led to her giving a kidney to a stranger — he isn’t a stranger any more — at Vancouver General Hospital.

“He’s a single father of two,” she said, “and I’m touched by that.”

One of the attendees asked: “How are you doing?”

“I’m doing well,” she replied. “A little discomfort . . . but I had a knee replaced last year and this was a breeze compared to that.”

When asked why she had decided to be a living donor, she responded: “I feel like I’m the luckiest person . . . it wasn’t a religion thing or anything.

“If you want to have a good community, you have to give to that community.”

Think about that for a moment or two.

And now she wants to be an advocate for organ donation and transplantation.

She wants to have a good community, so she will give to that community.

Yes, there are good people among us. Sometimes you don’t even have to go looking for them; they come to you.

It was a great day, indeed.




Pearlman, Valdez talk about kidney transplant from experience. . . . BC Place lights up for PKD Awareness Day

Catherine Pearlman was in a Los Angeles-area coffee shop one day when she saw a flyer involving a man she had never met. That man, Eli Valdez, was in desperate need of a kidney transplant. . . . Pearlman ended up donating a kidney to Valdez. . . . If you have ever wondered about the thought process involved in giving a kidney or what it means to be on the receiving end — like, what does it mean to have someone else’s organ in your body? — give this right here a listen because it is absolutely awesome. . . . Valdez especially bares his soul over the 45-minute conversation. I can tell you from experience that my wife, Dorothy, who had a transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, had many of the same feelings as did Valdez.

If you aren’t familiar with this story, Catherine’s husband, Jeff, who is a writer of note, posted a piece on his website shortly after the transplant. That piece is right here.

A couple of weeks later, Catherine wrote a piece for the Los Angeles Times in which she described all that she and Eli had gone through. That piece is right here.


PKD Awareness Day takes place on an annual basis, always on Sept. 4. Millions of people worldwide, including more than 66,000 Canadians, live every day of their lives with PKD, or polycystic kidney disease. As the above tweet mentions, PKD “causes uncontrolled growth of cysts in the kidneys, often leading to kidney failure.” . . . According to the BC Renal Agency’s website, “autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease is the most common inherited renal disorder, and is the fourth-leading cause of end-stage renal disease in Canada.”

Watch for PKD Awareness Day in your community.





Kidney Condo unveiled in Nanaimo. . . . Getting set to Walk in Kamloops. . . . Boulet award goes to Alberta man

There is big news out of Nanaimo where out-of-town kidney patients who are taking dialysis training now have a place to stay free of charge. They are calling it the Kidney Condo, and it is backed by the Vancouver Island Kidney Patients’ Association and the Kidney Foundation of British Columbia and Yukon. . . . Nicholas Pescod of the Nanaimo Bulletin has more right here.


Here in Kamloops, preparations are well underway for the annual Kidney Walk, which is KWlogo2scheduled for Sept. 22 at McDonald Park. . . . If you would like to take part, we register at 10 a.m., with the walk to follow at 11. Some of us will walk a couple of kilometres, but there isn’t a defined distance. In fact, you don’t need to walk at all. Just come and join us for the breakfast — pancakes, bacon and coffee, by donation — with the Brock Central Lions Club doing the cooking. . . .

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 efforts with a donation, you may do so right here.


Dan McLaughlin of Riverview, N.B., needed a new kidney, so he put a sign on his car that indicated he was looking for a donor. Just over three weeks ago, he got the call and immediately headed for Halifax. . . . He had the transplant and, hey, how did it go? He told Shelley Steeves of Global News that when he woke up “colours were brighter, somehow it was easier to breathe, the air was fresher and a day later I walked almost a kilometre, which I couldn’t do before.” . . . There is more on McLaughlin’s story right here.





Morris Irvine underwent a lung transplant in 2011. On Sunday, the Albertan was the first recipient of an humanitarian award named in honour of the late Logan Boulet, who was killed in the bus crash involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . There’s lots more right here.

What happens when a donor and recipient meet? . . . 2019 World Transplant Games set to open. . . . Interesting project underway in Winnipeg

If you have been impacted by kidney disease, please keep in mind that the Kamloops Kidney Support Group gathers this morning (Wednesday, Aug. 14), 10 o’clock, at the Barside Lounge and Grill inside Chances at 1250 Halston Ave. . . . Feel free to join us. . . .

If you are in the vicinity of downtown Kamloops on Monday (Aug. 19), organizers of the 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk are holding a news conference, 2 p.m., at St. Andrews on the Square, 159 Seymour St. Join us as we announce particulars of this year’s Walk, and also introduce the event’s honourees.


What’s it like when the recipient of a kidney transplant meets the donor? Well, Chris, 21, a recipient, met his donor, Abraham, 19, on Good Morning America recently and, as you might expect, things got emotional. . . . Abraham, whose mother has started the process of becoming a donor, was asked what he would say to anyone considering it, and he responded: “I would say go for it. Reach out to a hospital and see if you’re eligible and if you are eligible, really consider it. I was in the hospital for two days. I was off painkillers in five days. I feel great.” . . .  The whole story is right here.


A lexophile, thanks to a contest in The New York Times: England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.


Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune has a story right here about Doug Little, now 68, who was a 6-foot-3 forward on the Oregon Ducks basketball team in the early 1970s. . . . Today, Little is on the list and hoping for a kidney transplant.



The World Transplant Games open Saturday and run through Aug. 24 in NewcastleGateshead in the north-east area of England. . . . “The youngest participant,” reports Catherine Priestley, “is a six-year-old Argentinian girl who will compete in the ball throw, long jump and 50-metre sprint, with the oldest an 84-year-old French man taking part in the cycling, swimming and athletics.” . . . Priestley’s story is right here. . . . The Games’ website is right here. . . . It’s worth noting that the 2020 Canadian Transplant Games are scheduled for Winnipeg, Aug. 10-15.



There is an interesting project underway in Winnipeg with two doctors working to educate health care providers about how “to use a match equation than can pretty accurately predict a person’s risk of kidney failure, according to Michelle Gerwing of CTV News. . . . This all is aimed at early diagnosis of kidney disease. . . . As Dr. Navdeep Tangri, a nephrologist, explains: “If you have diabetes and kidney disease today there is a treatment out there that can delay dialysis by up to two decades and potentially prevent it all together, but all of that is non-applicable, we can’t start people on that treatment once their kidney function drops below 30-per cent.” . . . Gerwing’s story is right here.



Introducing the Kamloops Kidney Support Group — we’re here for you. . . . 2019 Kamloops Walk to hold news conference

Early each month, I post a message to Twitter that goes something like this:

Nearly 49,000 Canadians are being treated for kidney failure. If you are one, the Kamloops Kidney Support Group will gather Saturday, Aug. 10, 9 a.m., and Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m., at Chances (Barside Lounge and Grill), 1250 Halston Ave. Join us for breakfast and conversation. #kamloops @KidneyBCY

——

I also post a similar message to Facebook and send a PSA (Public Service Announcement) to various media people and outlets in the Kamloops areas.

——

So . . . allow me to tell you a bit about the Kamloops Kidney Support Group (KKSG).

It was founded by three women — Edna Humphreys, who has a son who has had a kidney transplant, Dorothy Drinnan and Margaret Thompson, both of whom are enjoying life after kidney transplants. Margaret has since moved to Edmonton, however, so we carry on while she watches with interest from afar.

The KKSG doesn’t have any affiliations, medical or otherwise. We are a bunch of folks who come together twice a month, over coffee and/or breakfast, and talk about our renal-related experiences.

No one has kept track, but I would guess that we have had contact with upwards of 50 different people over the time that we have been around. People come and people go; some are regulars and others show up perhaps when they feel a need for some support or when they have a question or two.

We meet twice a month — on the second Wednesday and second Saturday — and had 17 people attend our last gathering.

Two regulars recently have started dialysis — one hemo and the other peritoneal — as they wait for the phone call that hopefully will come soon, telling them there is a match and that a transplant is in the works.

There are other people in our group who are dealing with one type of kidney issue or another, all under medical care. We have one couple who have joined us a couple of times as they seek all the information they can find, their son having been diagnosed with kidney disease.

Dorothy, who was born with one kidney, had her transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Prior to that, she spent almost four years doing peritoneal dialysis. At that time, there wasn’t a support group or anyone she could chat with — outside the medical community — or ask questions of in a search for information.

You are asking: What kind of information?

It could be answering questions about the interview process one goes through at St. Paul’s Hospital or Vancouver General Hospital in the lead up to a potential transplant.

It could be pointing out that there isn’t a cure for kidney disease — just because someone undergoes a transplant and gets a new (used) kidney doesn’t mean he/she is cured. Yes, it’s true. While there are cures for various kinds of cancer and other diseases, there isn’t a cure for kidney disease.

The trick is to learn how to live with it. Those of us involved with the KKSG hope that we are able to help people do just that.

If you have been impacted by kidney disease, feel free to check us out.

If you live in a community other than Kamloops and wonder if such a group really is worthwhile, I highly recommend it. If you would like more information, get in touch with us.

If you are in the Kamloops area, we will be at the Barside Lounge and Grill in Chances on Saturday, 9 a.m., and Wednesday, 10 a.m.



2019 KAMLOOPS KIDNEY WALK

NEWS CONFERENCE

WHAT: Organizers of the 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk have scheduled a news conference.

WHEN: Monday, Aug. 19, 2 p.m.

WHERE: St. Andrews on the Square, 159 Seymour St.

WHO: Organizers will outline plans. . . . Two honourees will be introduced. . . . Organizers will introduce and thank the largest single donor in the event’s 10-year history.

We look forward to seeing you there.

FMI: Edna Humphreys, 250-376-6361 (ednahumphreys@shaw.ca); Dorothy Drinnan, 250-573-2988 (ddrinnan52@gmail.com).