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

Zach1

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.



KKSG has two gatherings on tap . . . Gillis to take “short” coaching break to get kidney transplant

The Kidney Foundation of Canada reports that 850 million people worldwide, including four million Canadians, are estimated to be living with chronic kidney disease.

If you are someone who has been impacted by kidney disease, the Kamloops Kidney Support Group is here for you. We meet on the second Saturday and the second Wednesday of every month. We will gather on Saturday, Feb. 8, 9 a.m., and Wednesday, Feb. 12, 10 a.m., at Chances (Barside Lounge and Grill), 1250 Halston Ave.

There isn’t anything formal about KKSG. We have breakfast and talk about life and kidneys. You won’t get any medical advice, but we will share our experiences and offer our support, whether you are pre-dialysis or on dialysis, a kidney donor or a recipient, a family member, or anything in between.

For more information, call Edna Humphreys at 250-376-6361 or Dorothy Drinnan at 250-573-2988.


Stephen Gillis’s big day is almost here.

Gillis is the Vancouver minor hockey coach who was in the headlines when his peewee team mounted a campaign, including a video that went viral, in an attempt to find him a kidney.

On Feb. 18, Gillis is to get a kidney from long-time friend Michael Teigen, who saw the video, offered to donate and was proved to be a match.

At the time Gillis, 39, got his surgery date, he wrote on Instagram: “Eighteen has always been my favourite number. It was my jersey number as a kid and now it’s my transplant date!”

Last weekend, as Gillis and his team wrapped up their regular season, he discovered another surprise.

As he wrote on Facebook:

“I was taken back and surprised to find our team, as well as the other Vancouver Minor Hockey Association Atom rep and Peewee rep teams, have placed stickers (made by our amazing manager, Tara Rodas) on their helmets that feature a kidney and No. 18 (my old jersey number) in support of my upcoming kidney transplant. Even our opponents and friends at Burnaby Winter Club added them to their helmets for (Sunday’s) game. I am humbled, honoured, and very touched by this beautiful gesture by my team, our parent group, all the other teams and my association.

“I am receiving a kidney thanks to the efforts of last year’s amazing team and parent group, and my current outstanding team and parent group have been such an amazing support system throughout this year, keeping my spirits high with their endless support. I am so thankful and grateful for my hockey family and their unwavering support, without them I truly may not be here.”

Gillis and his team are scheduled to play this weekend in an outdoor tournament — the Apex Winter Classic in Hedley, B.C.

“We then prepare for the playoffs,” he wrote, “with a short break for a transplant. Let’s go squad!”






KKSG set for two meetings this week . . . The latest on Ferris and family . . . Meet a donor from Saskatoon

According to BC Transplant, 303 kidney transplants have been performed in the province in 2019, through Dec. 2. Of those, 109 involved living donors. There now are 600 people waiting for transplants.

If you are one of those people, or someone else who has been impacted by kidney disease, the Kamloops Kidney Support Group is here for you. We meet on the second Wednesday and the second Saturday of every month. We will gather on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m., and Saturday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m., at Chances (Barside Lounge and Grill), 1250 Halston Ave.

The chances are good that in attendance will be: (a) someone who has had a transplant; (b) someone who is doing peritoneal dialysis while awaiting a transplant; (c) someone who is doing hemo-dialysis; (d) others in various stages of chronic kidney disease; and (e) people who have been there to support kidney patients through it all.

There isn’t anything formal about KKSG. We have coffee, maybe some breakfast, and talk about life and kidneys. You won’t get any medical advice, but we will be there to share our experiences and offer our support, whether you are pre-dialysis or on dialysis, a kidney donor or a recipient, a family member, or anything in between.

For more information, call Edna Humphreys at 250-376-6361 or Dorothy Drinnan at 250-573-2988.


Ferris Backmeyer has yet to turn three years of age, but she needs a kidney. Ferris, who is from Kamloops, and family members, including her Mom and Dad, Lindsey and Pat, have spent a whole lot of time at BC Children’s Hospital during her short life, and they were there again a short time ago.

Ferris has had trouble putting on weight and keeping it on, something that has slowed the process of getting a transplant.

Her mother, Lindsey, posted this update on Facebook after returning from Vancouver:

“They are already wrapping up her assessment for transplant. We will have our final meeting in early January. From there they will reach out to St. Paul’s (Hospital in Vancouver) to see if there are any living donors in the works!

“I got asked several times this trip about potential donors and the reality is I don’t know if there are any. Pat has a set back right from the first step with BC Transplant saying he might not hear anything for 5-7 weeks!! I’m not sure if anyone else has had a similar experience or not. It’s a yucky feeling knowing it’s completely out of our hands.

“The surgeon would prefer to have her grow more and specified he will be super picky on the kidney he takes for Ferris. He’s hoping for months of good growth. Size will be a major factor. This is unfortunate but will be critical for a successful transplant!

“A live donor is preferable as they typically do better and last longer, but also because the surgical date can be planned. They also typically happen faster than going on a deceased donor list.

“I can’t even think about how ‘getting the call’ would look like for our world, but know we will deal with it when the time comes. For now, I’m pretty jazzed to not have to go back for five weeks this time.”

Here’s hoping the Backmeyers can enjoy a quiet Christmas!



Have you ever wondered how women who already are dealing with chronic kidney disease are able to handle pregnancies? . . . Dr. Michelle Hladunewich, the physician in chief at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, is The Miracle Worker; at least, that’s what many of her patients call her. . . . Cristina Howorun of citynews.ca has her story right here, and it’s a good one.


If you are from Pennsylvania, this tweet is for you:


I would like you to meet Marie Green of Saskatoon. She is another one of those special people who populate the world of kidneys; only she is there by choice. . . . Marie, 66, was going to give a kidney to a friend, Monica Goulet. They turned out to be a match, too, but Monica was found to have a better match in a nephew. She got one of his kidneys in March. . . . Marie, meanwhile, chose to go ahead and donate through the Kidney Paired Donation program and will have surgery later this month. “If I was going to do it for Monica, I can certainly do it for somebody else,” she told Jason Warick of CBC News. “You know, there are a lot of people out there. Even if I don’t know them, they’re somebody’s loved one. They’re somebody’s Monica.” . . . Warick’s story is right here.

Kidney donor: If you want to have a good community, you have to give to that community

So . . . how was your day?

As good as it might have been, there isn’t any way it was as great as was mine.

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about it.

I was present at an event on Wednesday morning at which a woman said: “If you want to have a good community, you have to give to that community.”

She was three weeks from having donated a kidney to a stranger.

——

The Kamloops Kidney Support Group gathers on the second Wednesday and second Saturday of each month. We are there to provide support and share experiences with others who are or have been impacted by kidney disease.

On Wednesday, we were 15 people strong. One attendee has been doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) for a few months as he awaits a transplant. Another is preparing to start PD dialysis as he, too, waits for a transplant. There were others on hand who are dealing with kidney disease in one stage or another, one of whom does hemo-dialysis three times a week. There also were two people there, including my wife, Dorothy, who have had transplants.

Understand that these gatherings are completely informal. We meet in the Barside Lounge and Grill inside Chances Casino, have coffee, maybe some breakfast, and talk about our kidney-related experiences.

This time, as we were getting comfortable, a stranger strolled to our table and pulled up a chair. As we do in these instances, we went around the table, introducing ourselves and telling our stories.

When it got to the new person, I am sure the others were like me, expecting to hear from someone who recently had been diagnosed with kidney disease.

Instead, she started with: “I donated a kidney . . . three weeks ago today.” Her voice touched by emotion, she proceeded to tell us that she had given a kidney to a complete stranger.

After making the decision to be a living donor, she had begun the process by sitting down at her computer and Googling “BC Transplant living donor.” That led to her giving a kidney to a stranger — he isn’t a stranger any more — at Vancouver General Hospital.

“He’s a single father of two,” she said, “and I’m touched by that.”

One of the attendees asked: “How are you doing?”

“I’m doing well,” she replied. “A little discomfort . . . but I had a knee replaced last year and this was a breeze compared to that.”

When asked why she had decided to be a living donor, she responded: “I feel like I’m the luckiest person . . . it wasn’t a religion thing or anything.

“If you want to have a good community, you have to give to that community.”

Think about that for a moment or two.

And now she wants to be an advocate for organ donation and transplantation.

She wants to have a good community, so she will give to that community.

Yes, there are good people among us. Sometimes you don’t even have to go looking for them; they come to you.

It was a great day, indeed.




Cree rapper opens up about kidney situation. . . . Victoria preschool owner donating to stranger

Karmen Omeasoo is known in the music world as Hellnback. He is a Cree rapper who made quite a name for himself as an Indigenous performer. When he was 19, he learned that he had Type 2 diabetes; now he’s nearing 40 and about to go on dialsyis. . . . “My kidney function right now is at seven per cent,” he told Lenard Monkman of CBC News. “Seven per cent out of 100.” . . . Omeasoo is referring to his GFR (glomerular filtration rate). As a point of reference, my wife’s GFR was 11 when she began dialysis; six years after transplant, it’s in the mid-60s. . . . Monkman’s piece on Omeasoo is right here, and it is terrific. It is worth reading as Omeasoo details the symptoms and what he has been through to this point.


Three cheers to Kim Thorsen, the owner of Ross Bay Preschool in Victoria. She is preparing to donate a kidney, and she knows that it will go to a complete stranger. According to a story by CHEK-TV in Victoria: “Altruistic donors are incredibly rare. Of the 335 kidney transplants in B.C. last year, 100 were from living donors. But only four of those donations went to total strangers.” . . . More from this story: “As a living donor, Thorsen would go to the top of the transplant list in the rare event she needed a transplant. And even though she had no doubts before, Kim recently learned her kidney will most likely go to a child.” . . . “I’d be okay helping anyone,” Thorsen said, “but knowing it might help a child is amazing.” . . .

If you are contemplating being a kidney donor, it is important for you to understand that should you have issues with your remaining kidney at any time post-surgery, you would go to the top of the list. That is something is stressed in the preparatory period leading up to surgery.

CHEK-TV’s full story is right here.



Dorothy Drinnan had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Now she is preparing to take part in her sixth straight Kidney Walk. We will walk in Kamloops on Sept. 22 at McDonald Park, with registration at 10 a.m., and the walk at 11. . . . If you would like to be part of Dorothy’s team by supporting her with a donation, you are able to do so right here. She has been Kamloops’ No. 1 individual fundraiser each of the past five years.


Having transplant in Vancouver? Kidney suite might be for you. . . . KKSG gatherings set for September

If you or someone you know is a candidate for a kidney transplant and lives outside of Vancouver, you will learn in the lead-up that a stay of at least a couple of months in the big city will be necessary after surgery.

And with the cost of accommodations being what they are in the big smoke, well, you might have questions.

You should know, then, that there are kidney suites available in Vancouver . . .

The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon Branch offers seven kidney suites within Vancouver. These are for post-kidney-transplant recipients who have come to Vancouver from outside the Lower Mainland and need to stay in town for up to two months after surgery. These suites are fully furnished, and are located near major transit lines.

These suites are free for those who meet our financial criteria (low income) and just $35 per night for those who do not.

There is more right here.


If you happen to live in Kamloops and area, you may be wondering about the next gatherings of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group (KKSG). . . . We get together on the second Wednesday and second Saturday of every month. In September, that will be Sept. 11, 10 a.m., and Sept. 14, 9 a.m. . . . All coffee drinking and eating of eggs takes place at the Barside Lounge and Grill at Chances Casino, 1250 Halston Ave. . . . Believe me when I say that these gatherings are informal.


SOME ODDS AND ENDS . . .

One in 10 Canadians live with kidney disease or are at risk – most are unaware of this. . . .

You can lose up to 80 per cent of your kidney function before experiencing symptoms. . . .

As of mid-August, in the region served by Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, 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. . . .

As of December 2018, there were 665 people in B.C. waiting for organ transplants, with 528 of those being kidney patients. In 2018, 335 kidney transplants were performed in B.C.


Some numbers from a piece by the editorial board of The New York Times from earlier this week:

About 20 Americans die each week waiting for organs. . . .

More than 100,000 people in the United States are currently waiting for organs, and only about 35,000 will receive them in 2019. . . .

That piece also included this:

“Far too few people are donating organs to begin with, and far too few of the organs that have been donated are making their way to patients in waiting. Experts say that misconceptions about donor eligibility requirements and, in some states, cumbersome registration processes are preventing nearly half of those who support organ donation from becoming registered donors. Outdated standards are causing transplant surgeons to reject some 75,000 usable organs every year, according to a Washington Post analysis. And an astounding lack of accountability and oversight in the nation’s creaking, monopolistic organ transplant system is allowing hundreds of thousands of potential organ donations to fall through the cracks.”

The complete piece is right here and it’s well worth your time if you are interesting in the American transplantation system.





What happens when a donor and recipient meet? . . . 2019 World Transplant Games set to open. . . . Interesting project underway in Winnipeg

If you have been impacted by kidney disease, please keep in mind that the Kamloops Kidney Support Group gathers this morning (Wednesday, Aug. 14), 10 o’clock, at the Barside Lounge and Grill inside Chances at 1250 Halston Ave. . . . Feel free to join us. . . .

If you are in the vicinity of downtown Kamloops on Monday (Aug. 19), organizers of the 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk are holding a news conference, 2 p.m., at St. Andrews on the Square, 159 Seymour St. Join us as we announce particulars of this year’s Walk, and also introduce the event’s honourees.


What’s it like when the recipient of a kidney transplant meets the donor? Well, Chris, 21, a recipient, met his donor, Abraham, 19, on Good Morning America recently and, as you might expect, things got emotional. . . . Abraham, whose mother has started the process of becoming a donor, was asked what he would say to anyone considering it, and he responded: “I would say go for it. Reach out to a hospital and see if you’re eligible and if you are eligible, really consider it. I was in the hospital for two days. I was off painkillers in five days. I feel great.” . . .  The whole story is right here.


A lexophile, thanks to a contest in The New York Times: England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.


Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune has a story right here about Doug Little, now 68, who was a 6-foot-3 forward on the Oregon Ducks basketball team in the early 1970s. . . . Today, Little is on the list and hoping for a kidney transplant.



The World Transplant Games open Saturday and run through Aug. 24 in NewcastleGateshead in the north-east area of England. . . . “The youngest participant,” reports Catherine Priestley, “is a six-year-old Argentinian girl who will compete in the ball throw, long jump and 50-metre sprint, with the oldest an 84-year-old French man taking part in the cycling, swimming and athletics.” . . . Priestley’s story is right here. . . . The Games’ website is right here. . . . It’s worth noting that the 2020 Canadian Transplant Games are scheduled for Winnipeg, Aug. 10-15.



There is an interesting project underway in Winnipeg with two doctors working to educate health care providers about how “to use a match equation than can pretty accurately predict a person’s risk of kidney failure, according to Michelle Gerwing of CTV News. . . . This all is aimed at early diagnosis of kidney disease. . . . As Dr. Navdeep Tangri, a nephrologist, explains: “If you have diabetes and kidney disease today there is a treatment out there that can delay dialysis by up to two decades and potentially prevent it all together, but all of that is non-applicable, we can’t start people on that treatment once their kidney function drops below 30-per cent.” . . . Gerwing’s story is right here.