Welcome back! Zach and his mother finally are home . . . Green Shirt Day moves online

ZachHome
Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, were riding high on Saturday as they headed home for the first time in almost three months. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

There was some good kidney news on Saturday as Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, headed home to Robson, B.C., after spending almost three months in Vancouver.

Zach, who turned 17 while they were living at Ronald McDonald House, was transitioned from peritoneal dialysis (PD) to hemodialysis while in Vancouver.

Zach had been doing PD at home in Robson, which is across the Columbia River from Castlegar. However, as 2019 wound down there were some issues and his medical team decided that PD was losing its efficiency. So they changed him over to hemo.

Unable to do hemo at home in Robson meant that he would have to travel to Trail and the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital there. However, the unit there wasn’t able to free up room until now. Zach will be travelling three times a week to Trail for hemo, with his first run on Tuesday.

Jana announced their departure via Facebook:

“So this is happening!! Homeward bound with Dad!! Trail is ready for Zach so we are home to stay for now. Thank you all for your love and support over the past few months.

“We appreciate each and everyone of you.”

Now . . . if only we can find a kidney for Zach.

——

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





Odelein doing ‘super well’ . . . Minor hockey coach has date with transplant surgeon

Today, we have a sports-themed posting for you, as we check on a retired hockey player, a minor hockey coach and a retired CFL/NFL player. . . .

——

Lyle Odelein played three seasons (1985-88) with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. At the time, I was at the Regina Leader-Post, so I often was able to watch him play. He wasn’t an enforcer; he just didn’t believe in taking prisoners when he played. In fact, there may not have been a tougher player in the WHL at the time. . . . He went on to play 1,056 regular-season games in the NHL, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . He retired in 2006. . . . Almost two years ago, Odelein contracted a blood infection. In the end, he needed a triple transplant — aortic valve, heart and kidney — to keep him alive. . . . Today, Odelein, 51, says, “Everything is going super well.” . . . Matt Cudzinowski of canadiens.com has more right here.


Stephen Gillis, a minor hockey coach from Vancouver, has a date for surgery. If all goes according to plan, he will get a kidney from friend Michael Teigan on Feb. 18. . . . You may recall that it was Gillis’s peewee team that mounted a campaign — ‘Help us help our coach’ — in January in the hopes of finding a live kidney donor for him. . . . “I am so grateful for Michael, he is truly a hero,” Gillis said. “I hope he is an example to everyone that one selfless act can change the world or save a life for another. I ask you all to consider being organ donors as well. I am one of the lucky ones. There are many who are still waiting for their Michael.” . . . There is more on this story right here.


Ben Williams is a big, burly man who once played defensive end for the CFL’s Shreveport Pirates (remember them?), the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the U of Minnesota Gophers. He also is proof that kidney disease isn’t at all selective. In his playing days, he was 6-foot-2 and in the neighbourhood of 290 pounds. But size doesn’t matter to this disease. . . . He was on the list for a transplant for six years and admits that he was starting to lose hope. But the wait ended late in November when he had a kidney transplant at the M Health Fairview U of Minnesota Medical Center. . . . What is really interesting about this story is that Williams is from Belzoni, Miss., which is located two hours from the nearest dialysis unit. He has a foundation that provides support for people with CKD and, through that foundation he bought eight mobile units for his hometown. . . . Adrienne Broaddus of KARE-TV has the story right here.



A note for transplant recipients as BC Transplant changes brand on immunosuppressive drug

If you have been the recipient of an organ transplant, you need to be aware that BC Transplant, as in the tweet below, “is changing brands of immediate release tacrolimus from Prograf to Sandoz . . .” Tacrolimus is an immunosuppressive drug that works to keep the body from rejecting the new organ that really is from a foreign body. . . . For more information on the change and information sessions that have been scheduled, check the link that is available through this tweet.




Scattershooting on a Tuesday night as Cranbrook celebrates the birth of the Bucks . . .

Scattershooting

As of Saturday evening, Const. Mike Seel of the Regina Police Service Traffic Unit, who goes by the nickname Hawkeye, had written 1,097 cell-phone related tickets in 2019 and, he told me via Twitter, “over 1,500 total tickets for the year.” Think about those numbers for a moment. . . . What’s with the nickname? According to a story by Michaela Solomon of CTV News Regina, it was “given to him by the former face of RPS traffic, Const. Curtis Warnar, for his ability to catch drivers on their cell phones.” . . . Meanwhile, more than 2,000 speeding tickets were handed out to drivers in Regina school zones in the month of September, with the speed limit having been dropped from 40 km/h to 30. . . . “It is ridiculously high,” Sgt. Rob Collins of the RPS’s Traffic Safety Unit told Lynn Giesbrecht of the Regina Leader-Post. “In all reality, most of the tickets that I’ve seen issued would’ve been a ticket even if it was still 40, so we’ve still got a lot of work to do.” . . . It seems the drivers of Regina have a lot of work to do, too.


If you are a follower of the WHL, there was good news on Friday when Corey Graham revealed via Twitter that “I’m back calling Edmonton Oil Kings home games on TSN 1260.” . . . Graham, who continues his recovery from some major health issues, will handle home games, with Andrew Peard providing analysis. Peard will call the play of all road games. . . . Graham added that he is “really excited to get back in the booth!” . . . Corey, we’re all excited for you. Welcome back!


YogiFork


“Jim (Mattress Mack) McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston, placed a $3.5-million bet on the Astros to win the World Series,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “And, doubling down, he rolled out his latest mattress, the George Springer.”

——

Perry, again: “Scientists at the National Defense Medical College in Japan say they’ve created artificial blood that works better than the real stuff. Didn’t pro rasslers already do that?”


Is the WHL thumbing its nose at Hockey Canada, while at the same time inviting 15-year-whlolds to come to its teams and play at least 30 games? . . . According to a story by Jason Bell of the Winnipeg Free Press, the WHL has granted an exemption to the Winnipeg Ice so that F Matt Savoie, 15, can play 34 games this season. Ordinarily, 15-year-olds are allowed to play five games before their club team’s season ends, at which time they may join the WHL team on a full-time basis. . . . Prior to this season, Hockey Canada rejected the Savoie family’s application for exceptional status. . . . Savoie played his third WHL game of this season on Friday night; he wasn’t in the lineup on Saturday.



The Winnipeg Ice played two home games, its second and third of this season, last weekend. The announced attendances were 1,373 (7-0 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings) and 1,327 (4-0 loss to the Vancouver Giants). . . . In its home-opener, the Ice announced 1,621 for a 4-2 loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . If you were wondering, the Kootenay Ice announced crowds of 2,862, 2,375 and 2,287 for its first three home games last season. . . . You remember the Kootenay team, don’t you? It played out of Cranbrook.


Bucks1 2
The brand new Cranbrook Bucks of the BCHL have merchandise ready for fans at Western Financial Place.
Bucks2
The Kootenay Ice sign on a wall at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook is gone, marking the end of an era.
Bucks3 2
Hockey fans in Cranbrook gathered Tuesday morning to welcome the junior A Bucks to their Kootenay community. (Photos: Darren Cottingham/Taking Note)

Speaking of Cranbrook, a group headed by former WHL G Nathan Lieuwen announced Tuesday that it will bring the junior A BCHL to the city next season when the Bucks begin operation. . . . In reading the story by Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Townsman, I was struck by this: “The city was left reeling after a messy break-up with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice last January. After 21 years in Cranbrook, new ownership relocated the team to Winnipeg and still (has) an outsanding lease agreement valid until 2023. (Mayor Lee) Pratt confirmed the city remains in negotiations with the Ice over the agreement.” . . . The WHL and the Ice announced on Jan. 29 that the franchise was relocating to Winnipeg. Of course, observers had realized long before then that the Ice owners were going through the motions and that they were done with Cranbrook. . . . Here we are, almost nine months later, and the lease still hasn’t been settled. You are free to wonder if anyone in the WHL is embarrassed by any of this.


Hey, Edmonton, that 100 km/h speed limit on Anthony Henday Drive . . . that’s not the speed limit; it’s a guideline. Right?


After driving more than 4,000 km through the Prairies and back, I can tell you that the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding contains far more election signage than any other one we passed through. . . . Yes, it’s all a blight on the scenery.


After the Chicago Cubs dumped manager Joe Maddon, Bob Molinaro of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot pointed out just what a horrid job Maddon had done: “In five seasons under Maddon, Chicago won 58 percent of its games, reached the playoffs four times and celebrated a long-awaited World Series victory. What a failure he was.”



ToryDeer
OH DEER! Bob Tory, the GM of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, posted the evidence on his Facebook site after hitting a couple of deer while on a scouting trip.

A note from Bob Tory, the general manager of the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, to accompany a couple of photos that he put on his Facebook page: “That time of year. Two deer down. One car down.” . . . Thankfully, Tory wasn’t injured in the collision. Word is that Trader Bob, as he once was known, did put brothers John and Jim Deer on the trade wire, though. No word yet on whether he found any takers.


Saw this in a column by Steve Simmons of Postmedia: “If Guy Carbonneau is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame, why not Dale Hunter? And if you want to go back a few years, why not 86-year-old Claude Provost, who won more and scored more playing a defensive role with the great Montreal Canadiens teams back when the Canadiens were great.” . . . I was absolutely flabbergasted to realize that Provost isn’t an honoured member of the Hall. Seriously. Had there been a Frank J. Selke Trophy back in the day, Provost would have owned it.


Headline from @SportsPickle: Have to think we could be a game or two away from Odell Beckham demanding a trade to the Giants.


If you aren’t a fan of the analytics that are sweeping through the world of sports, you just might be a fan of Bill Belichick. Asked the other day how much of a role analytics play in his game-planning, the New England Patriots head coach replied: “Less than zero.”


Scattershooting on a Wednesday night and, hey, it’s George Reed’s birthday . . .

Scattershooting

Hey, we’re scattershooting from the road so we’re doing some catching up . . .


You know that you might be in Regina when you pick up a copy of The Leader-Post and the major headline above the fold reads: RIDER LEGEND HITS 80. . . . And the sports section front and second page are both all George Reed all the time. . . . Hey, not complaining. Just sayin’ . . . Hey, George, happy birthday and here’s to many more!



Brad Flynn is an assistant coach with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels. His fiancee, Christine, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April and is undergoing treatment. The other day, all of the Rebels players had their heads shaved in a show of support for her. Well done, Rebels! Well done! You can bet that really means a lot of Christine and Brad.


When old friend Bob Ridley walked into the broadcast booth in the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge a couple of Friday’s ago, he began his 50th season of calling the play-by-play of games involving the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Going into the game, the Tigers had played 3,936 regular-season, playoff and Memorial Cup games, and Ridley had been on the air for 3,935 of them. (Yes, there’s a story behind the game he missed and it involves women’s curling. Ask him about it the next time you see him.) . . . As blogger Darren Steinke points out, “If you called 80 games a season . . . for 49 campaigns, you would still fall short of Ridley’s current total.” . . . And let’s not forget that Ridley was the Tigers’ bus driver for the vast majority of those seasons, too. . . . Steinke has more right here in a blog posting.



Here’s a plug for old friend Dickson Liong’s podcast — Two Peas in a Pod . . . cast. He and Jon Guarin talk about, in Liong’s own words, “topics that society is afraid to talk about, including mental health, relationships and everyday struggles.” . . . Check it out right here.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Tearful Justify holds press conference blaming failed drug test on contaminated salt lick.


IceCream


Thanks to Rod Pedersen, whose new show is available via Facebook, for the kind words: “The WHL and CFL lost two huge media figures when Gregg Drinnan and Drew Edwards walked away from their blogs (Taking Note and 3DownNation). They left for different reasons, but now a huge hole has been created in coverage of both leagues. 3DownNation will be okay because Justin Dunk has assumed control but as far as the Dub goes, there will never be another Gregg Drinnan. He doesn’t just belong in a Hall of Fame for WHL Writers; it should be named after him. Teams and head offices sometimes saw these guys as a pain, but we’re going to see now why the media is so important to what happens on the field, the ice, in the stands and at the turnstiles.”


From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “For you big believers in Bad Things Happen in Threes, Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) is out for the Steelers, Drew Brees (thumb) is out for the Saints and Christie Brinkley (broken arm) is out for Dancing With The Stars.”

——

One more from Perry: “The Cowboys opened as 20-point favorites over the Dolphins earlier this season— the largest opening spread in 30 years. Stealing a page from the college-football book, Miami asked to be paid a $950,000 appearance fee.”

——

Perry, again: “The NCAA banned Georgia Tech’s basketball team from postseason play for one year because boosters provided impermissible benefits to a recruit — including clothing and a strip-club visit. Which certainly puts a whole new spin on ‘shirts and skins’.”



Can anyone explain how ex-Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon became so dumb so quickly? As Jack Finarelli, aka The SportsCurmudgeon, writes: “Joe Maddon’s teams in Chicago accumulated a five-season record of 471-340, which is a winning percentage of .581. To put that in perspective, there are 25 managers in the Baseball Hall of Fame whose career records are below .581.”

——

If you haven’t already read it, Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times spells out right here what went wrong at Wrigley Field.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Overwhelmed Dolphins GM asks players to please use automated email form when making trade requests.



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 disease hasn’t slowed own our girl Maggie. . . . Take a moment for PKD Awareness Day

Allow me to introduce you to our good friend Margaret (Maggie) Thompson.

She and my wife, Dorothy, have forged quite a friendship, one that began because they have something in common — both have had kidney transplants.

Dorothy had one six years ago; Maggie underwent one more than eight years ago.

A few years ago, they got together, along with Edna Humphreys, and started the Kamloops Kidney Support Group in an attempt to help others who are dealing, directly or indirectly, with kidney disease. To say the KKSG has been a success would be something of an understatement.

Dorothy and Maggie both did peritoneal dialysis before being cleared for transplant, and both are representative of how having kidney disease doesn’t have to slow one down.

Having said that, though, Maggie is in a league of her own.

Maggie2
Maggie Thompson, with the Blue Bomb before parting with it last week. (Facebook photo)

In brief, here is a definition of peritoneal dialysis from kidneyfund.org: “Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a treatment that uses the lining of your abdomen (belly area), called your peritoneum, and a cleaning solution called dialysate to clean your blood. Dialysate absorbs waste and fluid from your blood, using your peritoneum as a filter.”

A catheter is surgically implanted into our peritoneum that will allow you to do fluid exchanges. You learn how to do PD manually four times a day before being given a cycler that allows you to do it while sleeping at night. And the only way it limits your ability to travel is if you allow it to, something Maggie wouldn’t do.

A Harley-Davidson rider and owner, Maggie took a lengthy trip with friends into the U.S. a few years back. She drew up a travel schedule and arranged with Baxter, the company that provides PD supplies, to make fluid drops at various stops. Friends constructed a trailer that she towed behind her Harley; it contained other needed supplies.

As the friends travelled, then, they would stop to allow Maggie to do her exchanges.

Since having her transplant in July of 2011, Maggie hasn’t slowed down at all. She moved to Edmonton early in 2018, but makes regular visits to Kamloops, where she had lived for 30 years. Earlier this summer, she took two grandsons to the Calgary Stampede — yes, she also has a car — and then on a tour around Vancouver Island that included a stop in Tofino.

Maggie
Maggie Thompson, with her new ride, Sassy Sapphire. (Facebook photo)

Late last week, Maggie rode her Harley — she called it the Blue Bomb — to Kamloops, where she visited the local dealership and traded it in on a Freewheeler Trike that she has dubbed Sassy Sapphire.

After a few days with us, Maggie climbed aboard Sassy Sapphire on Tuesday morning and headed home to Edmonton. She arrived early last evening having been on the road for almost 12 hours.

No, kidney disease hasn’t slowed down Maggie Thompson in the least.


It is National Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Awareness Day in various parts of the world today (Wednesday, Sept. 4).

According to a news release:

“Since 2014, Health Canada has recognized September 4 as National Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Awareness Day – a special day devoted to raising awareness of this life-threatening, genetic disease.

“Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a chronic, genetic disease causing uncontrolled growth of fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys, often leading to kidney failure. With 66,000 Canadians and millions worldwide living with PKD today, chances are high that you know someone with the disease.

“The more who know about PKD, the more resources we can dedicate to finding treatments and a cure. PKD Awareness Day is our opportunity to step up our efforts and gives us a platform to widely spread the word, share stories and encourage others to learn more. On PKD Awareness Day, let’s come together as a united front to spread the word about this disease further than we ever have before!

“Since its creation in 1993, the PKD Foundation of Canada has raised more than $1 million towards research, support and help for families living with PKD. From the first research grant awarded in 1999, the PKD Foundation of Canada has set up chapters and support groups across the country, built an expansive and passionate volunteer network, and connected with PKD groups around the world to support our most notable fundraising event – the Walk to END PKD.

“Today, the PKD Foundation of Canada is the only national organization solely dedicated to fighting PKD through research, education, advocacy, support and awareness.”

In Kamloops, locals involved in the PKD Foundation will appear before City Council on Sept. 10 in an attempt to spread awareness.


Here in Kamloops, preparations are well underway for the annual Kidney Walk, which is scheduled 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, you may do so right here.