McLennan celebrates two years with friend’s kidney . . . Kamloops woman finally gets her transplant

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Two years ago, Hugh McLennan (second from left) and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor were roaming the halls at Vancouver General Hospital, along with Hugh’s wife, Billie. The big question: Where in the big city did they tie up their horses? (Photo: Hugh McLennan/Facebook)

Happy anniversary to Hugh McLennan, who has been living for two years with a transplanted kidney, courtesy of his good friend Louis (Big Rig) McIvor.

Here’s what Hugh wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday:

“Two years ago (Friday) this guy gave me one of his kidneys! We’re both doing fine and we’d encourage you to look into being an organ donor and if you know someone on dialysis look into getting tested as a living donor.”

Now that is really sound advice.

Hugh and his wife, Billie, own and operate a ranch near Pinantan Lake, just outside of Kamloops.


Best wishes to Melissa Wells of Kamloops, who underwent a kidney transplant on Nov. 9.

Melissa has a kidney disease — Type 3 Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) — that resulted in kidney failure. She spent more than six years waiting for a transplant, all the while doing dialysis.

In July, her husband, Marty, wrote:

“She’s been through countless failed surgeries, successful surgeries, and even had a direct line put into her heart just so she was able to get treatment to stay alive.”

Marty also added something that, with all that Dorothy has been through, I think of regularly. It has to do with the number of people walking around who live with kidney disease but don’t give any appearance of being ill.

“If you saw Melissa today she would seem totally normal,” Marty wrote in July. “She goes about her daily life — visiting family, hanging out with friends, going shopping. What you don’t see is her strength. She fights through constant headaches, nausea, fatigue, shooting pains through her arm, and overall pain of having major organ failure. The constant needling of her arm almost every day and the perpetual surgeries she has to deal with in Kamloops, Kelowna, and Vancouver are exhausting and expensive.”

The good news is that Melissa has a new kidney now. Here’s hoping that all goes well.


What happens when an organ or organs come available for transplant? How quickly does the window of opportunity close? When there is a death, how many organs might be available for transplant? What about tissue, corneas, etc.? . . . Shawn Logan of Postmedia has an excellent look at all of that and a whole lot more right here.


Susan Bell and Dorothy Stewart of CBC News have produced a story that includes Colleen Atsynia, a single mother of five.

According to the story, she “was in her mid-40’s when kidney disease forced her to leave her job, her family and her northern Quebec community of Wemindji for dialysis treatment in Montreal.”

As Atsynia told the reporters: “When you first find out you need a transplant, to me it felt like, ‘OK, that’s it. I’m done. I’m just going to die.”

According to the story, Atsynia’s life changed when “someone she doesn’t know gave it all back to her by donating a kidney” in May 2018.

“I was extremely happy because I knew I was going to finally come home,” she said. “My kids were happy . . . they were really happy.”

That story is right here.




This doesn’t have anything to do with transplants or kidney disease, but it is a great watch . . .


Kidney Walk: Of grandparents, grandchildren, good friends and transplants

A couple of former sports writers were walking on Rivers Trail, taking part in Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk on Sunday, when they were joined by Hugh McLennan.

Just minutes earlier, McLennan had been saluted by organizers, participants and volunteers as one of two honourees for this edition of the Kidney Walk. He had undergone a kidney transplant on Nov. 22, 2019, at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. His long-time friend, Louis (Big Rig) McIvor, the other honouree on Sunday, had given McLennan one of his kidneys.

McLennan, the host of the Spirit of the West radio show, is well-known in the ranching community in B.C. — he and wife Billie run cattle near Pinantan Lake, northeast of Kamloops. He also is easily recognizable, what with the 10-gallon hat, walrus moustache and cowboy boots.

By now, though, the cowboy boots were gone, replaced by a pair of sneakers.

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Tammy Mathieu and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor give grandchildren a ride alongside Hugh McLennan on Sunday during the Kidney Walk along Rivers Trail near McDonald Park. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

It had been apparent early on that McLennan was thrilled to have been selected as an honouree. While doing hemo-dialysis, he had always been more than willing to help out by taking a turn at the microphone and also supplying musical entertainment at past Kidney Walks. He and McIvor also have been quick to promote organ donation and transplantation when given the opportunity.

As thrilled as McLennan was with that honour, though, he wore an even bigger smile as he told the story of a phone call he and Billie had received the previous day.

Their grandson, Reed, who will turn 16 on Nov. 20, is playing midget hockey in Winfield, B.C., which is located between Vernon and Kelowna on Highway 97.

Hugh’s voice was bursting with pride as he talked about the phone call.

A goaltender, Reed’s junior B rights belong to the Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. It seems that the Eagles were scheduled to play the host Spokane Braves on Friday and found themselves short a goaltender, thanks to an issue involving a passport.

So . . . a call went out to Reed, who joined the Eagles in time to ride the bus to Spokane. He was looking forward to what he was looking at as a learning experience and expecting to take in the game from the cozy confines of the bench.

Except that the Eagles found themselves trailing, 3-0, just 3:49 into the game. Shortly after, the call came from head coach Ty Gunn: “McLennan . . . let’s go!”

With Reed in goal, the Braves added two more goals and took a 5-0 lead into the third period. It was 6-1 just 1:02 into the final period.

In the end, I’m sure the Eagles will tell you that they simply ran out of time. They lost the game, 6-5, scoring their fifth goal late in the third period.

Reed more than did his job, though, turning aside 39 of 41 shots in 54 minutes 20 seconds, in his junior B debut.

While Hugh was relating the story of a grandfather and his grandson, McIvor and fiancée Tammy Mathieu also were on Rivers Trail. They weren’t alone as they had two grandchildren in tow — or was it the other way around?

Regardless, with grandchildren in the conversation and on Rivers Trail, I couldn’t help but think about what it must mean to Hugh to be able to be part of his grandson’s life. After all, had Louis not given Hugh a kidney almost two years ago, well, who knows?

My wife, Dorothy, received a kidney six years ago Monday — Sept. 23, 2013. Our only grandchild, Kara, turned three in July. Dorothy had done peritoneal dialysis for almost four years before having her transplant. Again, without that kidney, who knows?

When we got home after Sunday’s Kidney Walk, we spent some time on a video chat with Kara.

Grateful doesn’t begin to explain what that kidney means to our family. You can bet it’s the same with the McLennans and anyone else who has needed a kidney and been fortunate enough to get one.

——

If you are thinking about being a donor, feel free to call the donor nurse co-ordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital (604-806-9027 or 1-877-922-9822), or email donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca.



2019 Kidney Walk: Wet day can’t douse spirits. . . . Goal surpassed. . . . Stop thief!

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A Kidney Foundation information booth (back left) was set up at Sunday’s Kidney Walk, while beneath the Lordco canopy you were able to find merchandise after first checking in at the registration table. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

We awoke Sunday to cool weather (12 C) and showers.

The cool wasn’t a problem because warm weather and people with kidney disease aren’t a good match.

But the drizzle . . .

KWlogo2Well, if you have been, or are being, impacted by kidney disease, what’s a little rain? Right?

And so it was that more than 100 people were at McDonald Park on Kamloops’ North Shore on Sunday for the city’s 10th annual Kidney Walk.

Not all of them took part in the walk, which always follows Rivers Trail for more than one kilometre to McArthur Island, but they all were there to show support to people in our community who are dealing with kidney disease or to remember friends and loved ones.

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Larry Read, the Kidney Walk’s emcee, kept folks informed and everything on time. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

We couldn’t have done it without Larry Read, the sports information guru for the WolfPack at Thompson Rivers U. He is our emcee, and he brought along six athletes from the WolfPack swim team and, oh boy, what a big help they were. This wasn’t the first time Larry brought volunteers from TRU, and it is a tremendously positive feeling to see these young people so eager to help at an event like this one.

With Larry at the controls, we saluted Hugh McLennan and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor as the honourees for the 2019 Walk. Hugh, a rancher, is the host of the Spirit of the West podcast and a familiar figure in the cowboy world in Alberta and B.C. When he needed a kidney almost two years ago, he got

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Hugh McLennan (left) and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor, the honourees of Kamloops’ 2019 Kidney Walk, address the crowd. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

one from Big Rig, a long-time friend who is a former long-haul driver and radio personality.

They were introduced by Edna Humphreys, the executive director of the Kamloops chapter of the B.C. and Yukon Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Hey, if there’s a renal-related event in Kamloops, you can bet that Edna is the push behind it.

We went into this walk with a goal of raising $20,000. By the time the counting is done, we will be somewhere around $24,000, which is unbelievable. In all of our pre-walk chatter, I don’t once remember anything close to that figure being mentioned.

In 2018, we raised $21,764, after bringing in $16,736 in 2017.

——

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Allan Dodds (right) returns money that had been lifted from the Brock Central Lions Club’ breakfast table on Sunday. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

There was some excitement late in the program, too.

The Brock Central Lions Club was there, again, to provide us with a pancake breakfast, along with sausages and coffee, all by donation.

So with most of the folks already eating and a few in line to fill their plates, a cry went up: “Stop her! Stop her! She took the money box.!!”

It seems that a person had appeared on the scene, got in line for breakfast, then grabbed the cash box and took off on the run.

However, her plan hadn’t accounted for Allan Dodds, who when he isn’t playing Superman works at Lordco in Kamloops. His connection with us? His wife, Julie, has kidney disease and is in need of a transplant.

Anyway . . . Allan took off after the thief, caught up with her and brought back the money.

As Julie wrote on her Facebook page: “My husband not only helped set up . . . and with the delivery of chairs and tables, he helped present a large cheque, and also chased down a would-be thief.”

In the end, the Lions Club raised $326.90, all of which, thanks to Allan, was there to be donated to the Kidney Walk.

If we were to give out an MVP award this year, it would go to Allan. As a member of the Southern Central B.C. branch of the CIM (Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum), he presented the Kidney Walk with a cheque for $5,000 in late August.

Through Lordco, he was able to provide us with a truck with which he picked up tables and chairs from the good folks at TRU. He also supplied, again through Lordco, a large canopy that really came in handy considering the weather.

And, of course, he topped it all off by jumping into a phone booth — OK, there aren’t any of those these days; he just went behind the Lordco truck — where he donned the Superman suit and went on to rescue the money.

Thanks, Allan!

——

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Dorothy Drinnan (right) and friend Leona Backman enjoy a rainy time during Sunday’s Kidney Walk. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

Dorothy says: Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

With help from so many of you, she was able to raise $3,230 for Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk, which was held on Sunday morning.

With such great support from so many terrific people, she was the leading fund-raiser for a sixth straight year, and she now has raised more than $16,000 in total.


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Julie Dodds (in red jacket) has kidney disease and is in need of a transplant. She poses with friends and family, all of whom were there to support her at Sunday’s Kidney Walk. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

 

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Not all of the participants in Sunday’s Kidney Walk were of the human variety. This pooch got into the spirit of things by donning a Kidney Walk t-shirt, too. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

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)