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

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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





Message from a loving Mom: Photos of her son show why we need to stay home . . . #Flattenthecurve

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By now, if you are a regular here, you know Zach and Jana Tremblay’s story. . . . From Robson, B.C., Zach and his mother have been in Vancouver since early January while Zach was transitioned from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis. . . . They now are living at Ronald McDonald House while Zach does his dialysis runs at B.C. Children’s Hospital. . . . In time it is hoped two things will happen: They will be able to return home with Zach doing his dialysis runs at a hospital in Trail and Zach will undergo a kidney transplant.

Zach2In the meantime, here’s a message from Jana to accompany the two photos of Zach:

“This is what Intubation ICU Life Support looks like! Please listen and stay home.

“Have you ever seen your child Intubated?

“I have and trust me . . . you want to stay home.”

#STAYHOME #TeamZach #SocialDistancing

——

Rita Lowe Bowen is one of Jana’s many friends. She posted this note on Facebook this week, to accompany the above photo:

“We talk about our sweet friend, Zach, and how he needs to find his donor, but today Zach gave his mom, Jana, permission to share a different picture. This isn’t Zach’s face in a picture, smiling across the table from you. This is Zach in September, in critical care, where he has been twice in the last 6 months. When you need some motivation to stay home, think of Zach and Jana. Stay home. #Flattenthecurve.”

——

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


The Kamloops Kidney Support Group has cancelled its next get-togethers that were scheduled for April 8 and 11 at Chances (Barside Lounge and Grill), 1250 Halston Ave., due to the COVID-19 situation. . . . The KKSG meets on the second Wednesday (10 a.m.) and second Saturday (9 a.m.) of every month, always at the Barside Lounge and Grill.


The Kidney Foundation, BC & Yukon Branch annual general meeting will be held online on May 2. If you are a member of the foundation, you will be able to participate via Skype or conference call. . . . If you aren’t yet a member, you are able to update your membership prior to the meeting, but have to do it before April 24.



Happy birthday, Zach, and here’s to many more . . . Robson teen just keeps on smiling . . .

Cake

Zach Tremblay turned 17 on Wednesday.

Celebrate?

Well, he was in Vancouver. But, of course, a lot of places for celebrations in the big city are shut down or takeout only.

Oh, and he also had to spend part of his day doing dialysis.

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Zach Tremblay had to interrupt his birthday celebration on Wednesday in order to do a dialysis run. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

But there still was cake and goodies and lots of fun at Ronald McDonald House.

Zach is from Robson, B.C., which is across the Columbia River from Castlegar. He and his mother, Jana, have been in Vancouver since early in January. He spent some time in B.C. Children’s Hospital, where they transitioned him from peritoneal dialysis (PD) to hemodialysis.

Now that he’s on hemo, he won’t be able to do dialysis at home, something he did while he was doing PD.

The reason he and his mother haven’t been able to return home is that Zach will have to travel to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail to do hemo, but . . .

“We were told Trail doesn’t accept patients who are not 17 years old plus a day,” Jana told Gord McIntyre of Postmedia in February. “Zach turns 17 on March 18.”

The dialysis unit in Trail has eight chairs and there apparently have been discussions about adding a ninth, which would ease some of the load there.

Of course, in a perfect world, Zach would have gotten word on his birthday that a donor had been found. As it is, we still wake up every day hoping that a match has been discovered.

In the meantime, Zach and Jana remain in Vancouver. But, as Jana points out, considering the situation in which we find ourselves these days that may not be a bad thing.

“We are thinking he’s safer here for now where he is still child priority,” she told me. “Going home means doing dialysis in a unit of older people mostly and it’s not the safest place for him to be. Here he gets good dialysis and is near a children’s hospital as this virus spreads.”

——

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




Zach Tremblay: Negative thoughts equal negative outcomes . . . I try to be as positive as I can . . .

It was World Kidney Day on Thursday, which may have gotten lost in everything that was going on in this suddenly bizarro world in which we live.

But our friend Zach Tremblay was featured on the CTV News out of Vancouver, and it was a terrific piece.

If you aren’t aware, Zach is from Robson, B.C., which is just across the Columbia River from Castlegar. He and his mother, Jana, have been in Vancouver since the first week of January. While there, he was transitioned from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis.

Zach, soon to turn 17, has been fighting kidney disease for years and is need of a transplant.

“Become a donor,” he says in the CTV story, “Not just for me but there’s other people who need it just as much as I do.”

And then there was this:

”I’ll always have the mindset of negative thoughts equal negative outcomes . . . .so I try to be as positive as I can.”

Take a couple of minutes out of your day and watch the story on this remarkable young man. It is right here.

——

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



The kidney experience, according to Coyle . . . Zach makes more friends during Vancouver stay . . . Michael Teigen: Actor, comedian and kidney donor

Michael Coyle, a volunteer with Coquitlam Search and Rescue, was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and later went public with his need to find a kidney donor.

So . . . what’s it like to find out that you have kidney disease? What goes through your mind when the medical staff suggests that you turn to the public in an attempt to find a donor? And what happens when you get THE call, informing you that a donor has been found?

Coyle took to Facebook to explain all of this to his friends, and you are able to read it all right here.

If you are being impacted by kidney disease, I cannot recommend this enough.


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Travis Green, the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, took some time to visit with Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, on Friday. The Canucks entertained the Colorado Avalanche that evening. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, remain in Vancouver where they are staying at Ronald McDonald House. From Robson, B.C., they have been in the city since the first week of January and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to their stay.

Zach, 16, began his stay at B.C. Children’s Hospital, where he was transitioned from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis. The closest hospital to Robson that is equipped to do hemp is in Trail, and there isn’t a dialysis chair open at this point in time.

Boeser
Zach Tremblay is all smiles after Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks presented him with an autographed sweater on Friday. Below, the Tremblays spent some time in front of the CTV cameras earlier Thursday. Watch for them on TV on World Kidney Day, March 16.  (Photos: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

In the meantime, Zach and his mother are making the best of their time in Vancouver.

On Friday, Jana posted on Facebook about their latest adventure:

“So a week or so ago, a former Castlegarite, Anita, messaged me and asked if Zach and I would like a tour of CTV, and to watch her husband Jason, who is one of the hosts of CTV Morning Live, tape the show and have a tour after. We were thrilled to go watch. Jason then offered to interview Zach and I and feature Zach’s story on World Kidney Day, March 16th!

“Jason also arranged for us to attend today’s Vancouver Canucks’ practice, which was so much more! We got to watch them practice, go down below into the change room . . . met Brock Boeser, who gifted Zach with an autographed jersey! We met Elias Pettersson and Zach got his jersey signed, and Zach MacEwen. Bo Horvat came over and said hello again and asked how Zach was doing. It was all very exciting!

 

“We also got to tour the retired jerseys and CTV 2player sticks area. We got to attend the press conference and watch (head coach) Travis Green address the media. Travis also came out and met with us — a thrill of a lifetime for us both!!

“Huge thanks to Anita, Jason and the Canucks organization for an amazing day filled with incredible memories.”

Green is from Castlegar, which is across the Columbia River from Robson. When he was a mere youngster, Jana actually babysat Green and his younger brother, David, on occasion.

After returning to Ronald McDonald House, Zach and Jana discovered they had won tickets to that evening’s game. So they were in the stands, no doubt cheering loudly, as the Canucks beat the Avalanche, 6-3.

Pettersson
Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks stops to chat with Zach Tremblay in the NHL’s team’s dressing room on Thursday afternoon. Zach is wearing a Pettersson replica sweater, which he got autographed. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

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It was Wednesday evening and I was watching the Vancouver Canucks playing against the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

The game went to a commercial break during the second period and one of the spots was for Pacific Blue Cross travel insurance. I’m not a great commercial watcher but, dang, that guy’s face looked familiar.

In fact, I was so sure that it was Michael Teigen that I sent an inquiring note to Stephen Gillis, who has had one of Michael’s kidney’s in the lower right quadrant of his torso for more than two weeks now.

Sure enough, my eyes hadn’t deceived me.

As Stephen responded: “He is an actor, improviser and comedian. Been in commercials and movies you probably saw but never knew.”

Well, I will be watching for him now.





Emotions of a kidney mother: ‘I go from being so sick of dialysis and ready for a better life to full-on terrified.’

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a parent to a youngster with kidney disease? Here’s an emotional posting from Lindsey Backmeyer of Kamloops, whose daughter, Ferris, 3, is in need of a transplant and continues to do daily peritoneal dialysis at home:

“So it’s pretty official and looking like Ferris will be listed on a deceased donor list in early March!!

FerrisJan2020
Ferris Backmeyer, 3, is about to go on a deceased donor list in the hopes of finding a kidney match. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

“I can’t accurately put into words how that makes me feel but I’ll try. I go from being so sick of dialysis and ready for a better life to full-on terrified.

“Literally as soon as a month from now our whole world can get blown apart. Sounds dramatic but that’s how it’ll feel. I’ll have to hand my daughter’s life over to surgeons hoping they do some of their most amazing work. We will fear for her life. Full on fight or flight mode. I don’t know how anybody can feel ‘ready’ for that.”

Lindsey added that her husband, Pat, “should know by end of April whether or not he (can) donate through the paired exchange program. If he is approved we will likely temporarily come off the (deceased donor) list and do a round of that to see if a match can be made.

“A live donor really is what’s best for Ferris so we remain hopeful one can be found. As of our meeting on Friday there aren’t any living donors approved to donate to Ferris.

“Please share to help find my girl the kidney she so desperately needs!”

——

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


If you’re a regular here, you are well aware of the travails of Zach Tremblay, 16, and his mother, Jana. They are stuck in what Jana calls “IHA limbo” as they wait until the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital gives the OK for him to begin hemo-dialysis treatments there. . . . They have been in Vancouver since Jan. 6 and it seems they may be there until at least the end of March. . . . Gord McIntyre of Postmedia has more on their story right here.


Dr. Anson Cheung, one of two heart surgeons at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, performed four heart transplants in a 60-hour stretch in the autumn of 2019. . . . “I even did open-heart surgeries during that time,” Dr. Cheung told Susan Lazaruk of Postmedia for a wonderful story that is right here. . . . One of the heart transplants involved Prem Sagar of Surrey, who underwent surgery on his 68th birthday.


Zach, Jana enjoy night to remember with Canucks . . . Albertan hoping billboard helps search for kidney

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Jana and Zach Tremblay got to cheer on the Vancouver Canucks from almost front tow seats at Rogers Place on Monday night. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, remain ensconced in Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver, although they did venture out on Monday night to watch the Canucks beat the St. Louis Blues, 3-1, in what was an entertaining game.

Zach, all decked out in an Elias Pettersson sweater, and Jana took in the action from near the penalty box in Rogers Arena.

Zach, 16, and Jana are from Robson, B.C., which is across the Columbia River from

ZachTanev
After Monday’s NHL game in Vancouver, Zach Tremblay got to spend some time with Canucks defenceman Chris Tanev. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

Castlegar, which just happens to be the hometown of Canucks head coach Travis Green.

Yes, it’s a small world. How small? The Greens lived across the street from Jana, who tells me that she used to babysit Travis and his brother David.

After Monday’s game, Zach and Jana were taken to the players’ area for a meet-and-greet where he visited with Canucks defenceman Chris Tanev.

“What a great guy he was,” Jana posted, “so friendly and just chatted with Zach.”

And how did Jana sum up the whole thing when it was over.

“It was so cool to see (Zach) take this all in,” she wrote. “Overwhelming really. And when Zach16we got home the emotions of it all hit me, and I was the messy mom.”

If you’re a regular here, you will know that Zach and Jana have been in Vancouver for a few weeks now. They started out at B.C. Children’s Hospital, then moved to Ronald McDonald House as Zach transitions from peritoneal dialysis (PD) to hemodialysis, all of this while he waits and hopes for a new kidney.

Earlier Monday, Jana reported that “hemodialysis is going very well. He is tolerating it very well, his numbers are fantastic and he feels better than he has in a long time . . . eating more, lots of energy. So good to see . . . our boy is back.”

Prior to this stint in Vancouver, Zach had been doing PD at home in Robson. When they get back home, he will be doing hemo at the hospital in Trail; however, there doesn’t seem to be any hint as to when that will happen.

“Trail’s (dialysis) unit is full right now — eight chairs and a full schedule with people on the wait list,” Jana noted. “They are currently installing a ninth chair and training new staff.”

Jana continued: “This of course takes time, so we are literally in IHA (Interior Health Authority) limbo while this all happens and they have room for Zach in their schedule . . . patience is apparently a virtue . . .”

——

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