Kamloops Kidney Walk to honour recipient, donor. . . . Organizers get largest single donation in event’s 10-year history

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Katherine Ray of Molycop (left), Edna Humphreys of the Kamloops Kidney Walk, honourees Louis (Big Rig) McIvor and Hugh McLennan, and Allan Dodds of Lordco Auto Parts with the biggest donation in the 10-year history of the event. Ray and Dodds were representing the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), South Central Interior Branch, which made the donation. (Photo by Murray Mitchell of Murray Mitchell Photography)

KAMLOOPS (Aug. 19) — The 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk will be held on Sept. 22 at McDonald Park, organizers announced at a news conference today.

   Participants can register at 10 a.m., with the Walk to begin at 11 a.m.

   Each year, organizers honour someone who has been involved in the fight against

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Hugh McLennan (left) and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor, the honourees for the 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk. When McLennan found himself in need of a kidney, longtime friend McIvor was there for him and the transplant took place on Nov. 22, 2017. (Photo by Murray Mitchell of Murray Mitchell Photography)

kidney disease and the promotion of organ donation. This year, the co-honourees are Hugh McLennan and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor.

  McLennan, 76, is a working rancher — he and his wife, Billie, work the McLennan Ranch near Pinantan Lake, northeast of Kamloops.

   McLennan also is the host of Spirit of the West, a weekly one-hour radio show that is  syndicated and streamed on the Internet. He also is an emcee, keynote speaker and a guitar-playing musician.

   When McLennan found himself on dialysis — he dialyzed three times a week in the North Shore CDU — and in need of a kidney, McIvor, a long-time friend, was quick to offer his help. McIvor is a former long-haul truck driver who later became a Kamloops-based radio personality. He is a familiar face on the local entertainment scene.

   After testing proved McIvor was a match, the two wound up in Vancouver General Hospital and the transplant took place on Nov. 22, 2017.

   It wasn’t long before both men had returned to living their lives . . . McIvor as he had before surgery and McLellan as he had before being forced onto dialysis.

   Also attending the news conference were Alan Dodds of Lordco Auto Parts and Katherine Ray of Molycop, both of whom are with the South Central BC Branch of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM). They, along with Tyler Thompson of New Gold Inc., who is the chair of the South Central Interior executive officers, are responsible for getting the 2019 Kidney Walk off to a roaring start with a donation of $5,000. This is the largest single donation received in the event’s 10-year history.

   As of mid-August, in the region served by RIH, there were 1,378 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) being monitored by nephrologists. Of those, 140 have undergone transplants, and 114 are on dialysis.

   The annual Kamloops Kidney Walk is in support of kidney transplantation and organ donation. It uses the River’s Trail from McDonald Park to the entrance to McArthur Island.

   Following the walk, the Brock Central Lions Club will have pancakes and sausages available, along with coffee, by donation.

  The Kidney Walk raises funds for programs and services to support those affected by CKD and donors when a transplant is arranged, as well as supporting vital research. To donate to a team or an individual, please visit kidneywalk.ca.

  The 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk’s goal is $20,000.

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NOTES: FMI, contact Edna Humphreys (250-376-6361), or Dorothy or Gregg Drinnan at 250-573-2988 (ddrinnan52@gmail.com, gdrinnan@telus.net).

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Emcee Larry Read, with Dorothy Drinnan (left) and Edna Humphreys, the two lead organizers of the 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk. (Photo by Murray Mitchell of Murray Mitchell Photography)
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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

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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.

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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).