Boulet asks unvaxxed to take one for the team: ‘We need you now’ . . . COVID-19 puts SJHL team’s season on hold . . . WHL adds first female on-ice official

TobyBoulet
The number 6 means a lot to Toby Boulet, a leading advocate for organ donation. (Photo: Toby Boulet/Facebook)

Toby Boulet, perhaps Canada’s best-known advocate for organ donation, is asking people who aren’t yet vaccinated to take one for the team.

Boulet’s son, Logan, was one of 16 people killed in the crash involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos on April 6, 2018. Logan, who was 20, had registered as an organ donor a short time before the accident and his organs ended up helping six different people.

Now, with transplantation surgery having been halted in Saskatchewan —only living-donor kidney transplants are performed there — Boulet told Global News that he really wants people to pull together to help us get through this.

“If you can think of what happened with the Humboldt Broncos tragedy and what you did and how you responded,” he said in an interview with Global News, “how your love went out to the families of the Broncos and the families and the community of Humboldt . . . we need you now to help other families, other people.”

Boulet, who lives in Lethbridge, also pointed out that “organ transplants are a critical service and the fact that they’re being shut down is devastating and there will be loss of life because of the decisions of some,”

At the same time, he didn’t pull any punches when looking at the overall situation.

“I firmly believe it’s the selfishness of people that don’t see the community as being first,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about the team. And the team needs you right now.”

The Global News story is right here.

Earlier in the day, in an interview with Saskatoon radio station CKOM, Boulet asked those who are waiting for transplants not to give up the fight.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) shut down transplantation surgery on Thursday, a move that Boulet told me made him “feel physically ill.”

Lori Garchinski, SHA’s executive director, said that with COVID-19 hospitalizations surging in her province, staff normally involved in transplants has had to be transferred to intensive care units.

Boulet told CKOM the shut down is “an absolute tragedy.”

Libby Giesbrecht of CKOM has more right here.



Dr. Hassan Masri of the U of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine was mentioned here yesterday because of his tweet about that province having to halt organ transplantation.

Later, he posted this on Facebook and his words say everything:

“Most patients that come to the ICU come in a very critical condition and without any immediate and aggressive intervention most would die in a few short minutes to hours.

“Luckily most patients do make it out of the ICU and go on to their homes eventually and it brings all of us in the ICU a lot of joy to see that recovery.

“A small number of patients unfortunately don’t survive their disease and illness and they pass away. Many of those who pass away go on to become organ donors and in turn they save the lives of other people.

“Organ donation is a critical part of my job and it’s a role that brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction. More importantly, organ donors saves people’s lives because of the generosity of those who have died and their families. Being a small part of this process and facilitating this process is mind-blowing and it’s a feeling that I can’t describe to you in words.

“Effective (Thursday), Saskatchewan’s organ donation programs are shut down until further notice because of the pressure that COVID-19 has put on our ICUs. This means that no one can donate their organs and that is a shame, but it also means that no one will receive any organs and that is an equally big shame.

“Reading the email (Thursday) morning about the donation program being shut down was extremely painful and sad to me as I am sure it is sad and devastating to so many other colleagues who fought hard to have this program and to the families of those who have been waiting for an organ.

“The medical community and the SHA will continue to do their best to care for our citizens but the delay in taking any actions for weeks has a very tragic price.

“The impact of the COVID-19 fourth wave will be painful and this is just the beginning.

“I have said this and I will say this again. Fighting COVID-19 effectively cannot happen by adding more beds. It can happen by having our Saskatchewan government mandating vaccines for all who are eligible to receive it and by enforcing masks on everyone.”


Meanwhile . . .

The SJHL’s regular season was to have opened on Friday night with six games. sjhlBut, said COVID-19, “not so fast, my friends.” . . . Even before the league got to opening night it had to shut down the Melville Millionaires until further notice due to a positive test somewhere within the organization. . . . “The decision for postponement did not come easy, but we all feel that this is the best decision to make at this time to mitigate the potential risks,” read an SJHL news release signed by Bill Chow, the commissioner. “The SJHL will work with the Melville Millionaires and teams affected by the postponement in rescheduling and will announce when that information is available. Any health matter is private in nature, the SJHL and the Melville Millionaires will have no further comments at this time.” . . . The Millionaires had played eight exhibition games in 14 days through Sept. 19. They were to have opened the regular season in Weyburn against the Red Wings on Friday night and then played in Weyburn on Saturday. . . . The SJHL’s original schedule had Melville playing three games through Sept. 29 and six more from Oct. 1 through Oct. 9. That included four games in five days from Oct. 1 through Oct. 5.


When the Regina Pats met the Warriors in Moose Jaw in an exhibition game on Friday night, Alex Clarke of Weyburn was to be one of the on-ice officials, becoming the first female to work the lines in a WHL game. This comes after Clarke, 28, worked the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Calgary in August. . . . From a WHL news release: “Clarke boasts extensive international experience, having been assigned to the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship, 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship (Division 1, Group B), 2018 4 Nations Cup, and 2018 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship (Division II, Group B).” She also has worked various leagues on the Prairies, including the SJHL and U Sports women’s games. . . . BTW, the WHL news release announcing that Clarke has joined the league’s officiating team referred to her as a linesperson. Does that move linesman/linesmen out of the vernacular? . . . The Pats won the game, 4-1. Unfortunately, the online scoresheet doesn’t list Clarke as one of the on-ice officials — there isn’t a Linesman 1 shown. Hopefully the league is able to get her name in there so that this moment in WHL history is right there on the website.


Wolf


JUST NOTES: The Vancouver Giants will wear a patch on their sweaters this season in memory of Elizabeth Toigo, the mother of majority owner Ron Toigo, after she died on Friday morning. . . . The Ontario government and health officials announced some adjustments to restrictions on Friday, so OHL games played in Ontario arenas now can be opened up to 50 per cent capacity. . . . The CHL has cancelled the Canada-Russia series because of the pandemic. The six-game series last was held in 2019. . . . F Connor Zary, who played 203 regular-season games over four seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, will be out for a while — the NHL’s Calgary Flames show him as week-to-week — with a fractured ankle. Fortunately, the injury won’t require surgery. Zary, who turns 20 today (Saturday), was injured when he blocked a shot in a rookie game against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. He has signed with the Flames and likely is ticketed for their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat.


Organizers of the 2022 Manitoba Games announced Friday that they won’t be held. The Games were scheduled for Niverville, from Feb. 27 through March 5, and would have involved around 1,500 participants and about 1,000 volunteers. . . . From a Sport Manitoba news release: “Over the last 18 months, inconsistencies in competition and training opportunities had an effect on athlete development. Without regular training, conditioning, and recovery routines in this crucial stage, the risk of injury, mental fatigue, and overtraining were also factors in making this decision. Along with continued uncertainty about the pandemic, and public health restrictions, it became clear it would not be possible to host an event of this magnitude and execute a safe and successful multi-sport Games experience.”


Work


Andrew Wiggins, who is from Thornhill, Ont., was the first overall selection in the NBA’s 2014 draft. However, he really hadn’t had much of a career until last season when he joined the Golden State Warriors. But now it turns out he’s an anti-vaxxer and, well, here’s Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle . . .

“If Wiggins carries through with his rejection of the COVID-19 vaccine, leaving the Warriors with a part-time player who had been counted upon to start, his career is essentially over. Remember Draymond Green’s unbridled fury at Kevin Durant because he might not be fully committed to the franchise? Imagine how Green, and the rest of the Warriors, will react if Wiggins joins the list of selfish, isolated professional athletes who choose principle — even if it’s something they can’t adequately explain — over the team dynamic and the health of others.”

Jenkins also reported that Wiggins, if he isn’t vaccinated, won’t “be able to play in any home games at Chase Center, due to San Francisco’s updated policy for large indoor gatherings.”

On Friday, the NBA announced that it had denied Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Health’s order requiring vaccination for anyone 12 and older at large indoor events.

Wiggins is scheduled to make something like US$29.54 million for 2021-22.


The Chicago Blackhawks were missing two players from Friday’s on-ice sessions because of COVID-19 protocols. G Kevin Lankinen and F Mike Hardman. That doesn’t mean either player tested positive; perhaps they were in contact with someone who did. No further details were released. . . . The Blackhawks are 100 per cent vaccinated, according to GM Stan Bowman.


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.


Born

Eighth anniversary of kidney transplant dampened by news from Saskatchewan . . .

Bridge


It was a small gathering — there were three of us — but we celebrated anyway.

It was the eighth anniversary of Dorothy’s kidney transplant. So we picked up some food from Señor Froggy — that’s the Kamloops restaurant whose owners gave its staff last week off with pay as a mental health break — and then we went to a dear kidney friend’s home for lunch.

The friend had a small ‘Happy Anniversary’ cake ready and we were able to devour three-quarters of it.

Yes, a good time was had by all.

And then we returned home to discover that Saskatchewan is on the verge of shutting down organ transplantation surgery, as Dr. Hassan Masri of the U of Saskatchewan College of Medicine tweeted, “due to the pressure on ICU and redeployment of staff.”

He added: “It simply means that those who pass away and generously want to donate their organs will not be able to. It also means that no one will be able to receive one. Tragic.”

Upon reading this I felt physically ill.

You know why the Saskatchewan health system is having to do this, and you know that other jurisdictions won’t be far behind.

Good grief, people . . . if you aren’t vaccinated, get it done. Now! Please.

The fact that people have registered as organ donors and now won’t be able to have that wish recognized is beyond belief. There now are families among us who will go through the grief of losing loved ones, but won’t ever feel the positive emotions that come with knowing that other people benefited from their losses.

This is . . . actually, there just aren’t words . . .

KaraDor-092020
Dorothy and granddaughter Kara playing a tune in a Burnaby park in September 2020.

Let me tell you what organ donation has meant in our lives . . .

At the time of Dorothy’s transplant, she had been doing peritoneal dialysis for almost four years. Every night, every single night, she hooked up to a machine and did dialysis while she slept.

Eight years ago, our son wasn’t married. He was living in a one-bedroom apartment in Burnaby near Metrotown. There weren’t any grandchildren.

Today, he is married with two happy and always excited daughters. Kara is five; Averi is one. The four of them now live in a wonderful new home in Coquitlam.

Pic2
Dorothy and Averi last month in Coquitlam. It was only the second time they had been together in 11 months.

Without a transplant, chances are Dorothy never would have known her granddaughters. She never would have been able to sit in a park and play duelling harmonicas with Kara. She wouldn’t have known what it’s like to sit at the dinner table with Averi and have the little one make faces at her.

Dorothy also wouldn’t have co-founded the Kamloops Kidney Support Group, through which we have made a lot of friends. She wouldn’t have taken part in any of the annual kidney walks; this year, she participated in her eighth one. She has raised $23,846 in that time, a lot of it through people like you who visit this website.

Without a transplant . . . well, I could go on and on because we’ve done and seen a lot over the past eight years, at least before the pandemic came along and disrupted our lives.

And now we’re at a stage where hospitals are having to stop doing transplants. This is 2021 and this is absolutely unbelievable.

It’s unbelievable because it’s all so avoidable.

As Ryan Switzer, a Swift Current city councillor, put it on Thursday afternoon: “Unvaccinated people are tying up the healthcare system to the point where people will needlessly die. This is no longer about just you. Vaxxed people have the power to save lives. Unvaxxed . . . the opposite.”

If you aren’t already, get vaccinated. I am begging you.

BTW, Dorothy got her third inoculation on Monday morning. As a transplant recipient, she takes anti-rejection drugs that result in a compromised immune system. Research shows that a third shot for people in her situation will spur her immune system to create more anti-bodies.

If you’re wondering, she had a sore arm for one day. It was a small price to pay.


Childhood


Meanwhile . . .

D Bode Wilde, 21, has confirmed that he is the one unvaccinated player who isn’t in training camp with the New York Islanders. “Hoping my human rights are enough to let me play,” he tweeted. “What a world.” . . . Bode, my wife would like to have a word with you. . . .

G Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets told reporters on Thursday that he had concerns about getting vaccinated because he doesn’t have a spleen. But then along came August and the COVID-19 virus found him. Once recovered, he got vaccinated. He now is fully vaccinated and feeling fine. . . . The spleen? It was removed via emergency surgery in 2012 after it ruptured following a fall while playing road hockey. . . .


The Alberta-based Heritage Junior B Hockey League has lost another team for the 2021-22 season. This all comes after the league revealed on Monday that all players, coaches and support staff must show proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours before partaking in any team activity. . . . The Stettler Lightning pulled out Wednesday, saying that the restrictions cost them some players. . . . The Ponoka Stampeders actually opened their season with a pair of weekend losses. “Due to the new covid measures,” the team wrote on Twitter, “we found ourselves in a position of not having enough eligible players to continue the season.” . . . Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate has more right here.


The CFL had a Wednesday night game on its schedule this week — the Hamilton Tiger-Cats dumped the Ottawa Redblacks, 24-7 — but some viewers weren’t too enamoured.

Sorry, but I wasn’t among the viewing audience. I was too busy with baseball’s stretch drive. Go Giants! . . . But let’s not forget that David Ayres, that Zamboni driving goaltender who beat the Leafs, is a kidney transplant recipient.


Coldblood


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.


Mask