Goodbye to a dear friend . . . Kamloops Kidney Support Group is back and here for you . . . What about that fifth shot? What about Evusheld?

2016Walk1
Dorothy with long-time friends Sue and Ron Burt, and their pooch Ralphie, at the 2016 Kamloops Kidney Walk.

Sue and Ron Burt have been there for Dorothy in each of her nine Kamloops Kidney Walk fund-raising efforts. And they were there to walk with her when possible, such as here in 2016 at McDonald Park.

Unfortunately, we lost Sue a few days ago, taken from us after a battle with cancer. She was a good friend and neighbour for more than 20 years, and our little corner of the world definitely is a poorer place without her.

We solved a lot of the world’s problems, Sue and I, usually at our favourite table at Señor Froggy on Kamloops’ north shore and most times without raising our voices. But, you know, we never could understand why the power brokers didn’t seem to be listening to us.

Thanks for letting us into your life, Sue, and the time will come when we’ll meet again on the other side.


The Kamloops Kidney Support Group is back after a pandemic-related absence of more than two years.

If you have kidney-related issues and questions, and would like to chat with someone who has been there, we’re here for you.

The KKSG gathers on the second Wednesday and fourth Saturday of every month, always at 10 a.m., and always at the Barside Lounge and Grill at Chances Casino, 1250 Halston Ave. These are informal get-togethers over breakfast, with lots of coffee and plenty of conversation.

The next meetings are scheduled for on Aug. 27, and Sept. 14 and 24.

You won’t get any medical advice from us, but we will share our experiences with you. If you have been recently diagnosed with kidney disease or are pre-dialysis or on dialysis (hemo or peritoneal), a kidney donor or a recipient, a family member, or anything in between feel free to come and meet us.

According to figures compiled by BC Transplant, medical teams in the province completed 130 kidney transplants in the first half of 2022. As of June 30, there were 460 people in B.C. awaiting kidney transplants, while 3,733 recipients were being followed post-transplant.

For more information, call one of the KKSG’s co-founders — Edna Humphreys at 250-376-6361 or Dorothy Drinnan at 250-573-2988.


After Cayden Desjarlais died in a motorcycle crash last year, five of his organs ended up being donated, with his heart going to a 28-year-old mother of a six-year-old son. Now Cayden’s mother, Deanna, is working to get more people to register as organ donors. . . . “I couldn’t think of a better place to be honouring him and I know he wouldn’t want to have it any other way,” Deanna told Kelly Sinoski of the 100 Mile Free Press. “It’s bittersweet for me. I’m sad but you live life and pass it on and knowing that his organs have saved five lives is super important.” . . . Sinoski’s story is right here.



Perhaps the most frustrating thing I have discovered during the pandemic that has been with us for going on three years is the apparent inability of provincial health officials to get on the same page. I mean, do these people not speak to each other on a regular basis? . . . We have a friend who is a kidney recipient and now lives in Edmonton. She already has had her fifth shot (third booster) and also received two shots of Evusheld the other day — one in each butt cheek. . . . Evusheld? It was approved by Health Canada on April 14 “for use in adults and children (12 years of age and older, weighing at least 40 kg) who are not currently infected with COVID-19 and have not had recent known contact with someone infected with COVID-19, and who are immune compromised and unlikely to mount an adequate immune response to COVID‐19 vaccination; or, for whom COVID-19 vaccination is not recommended.” . . . Meanwhile, Quebec will be offering a fifth dose to those in long-term care homes and private seniors residences starting on Aug. 29. . . . In Manitoba, however, some folks who are under 50 years of age and had their third shot more than nine months ago can’t yet get a fourth dose. . . . And in B.C.? Crickets. Not a mention of Evusheld. Nothing on a fifth shot (third booster) for the immuno-compromised. In our province, independent modellers said last week that the number of COVID-19 cases could be at least 100 times greater than what is being reported by the NDP government. From a Vancouver Sun story: “The B.C. modelling group — which includes experts from the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the private sector — warned that under-reporting of COVID-19 cases makes it challenging for the public to understand the risks.” . . . And, of course, there isn’t an elected official anywhere in North America who has enough courage of his/her convictions to push for mandating masks in public facilities, never what the medical/scientific community believes. . . . And so those in our society who are immuno-compromised and have made it this far by mostly solo-navigation will continue to mask-up, social distance and wash/sanitize their hands. If you respect them and care about them, you will wear a mask, too.







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

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

Kamloops man turns to TAP as search for kidney donor continues . . . Morin exploring all avenues in hopes of having success

Vic Morin of Kamloops has become a friend through his participation in the Kamloops Kidney Support Group. My wife, Dorothy, is a co-founder of the group.

Vic needs a kidney and has needed one for a while now. These days, he is doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) at home and also undergoes hemodialysis once each week.

If you are a Kamloops resident or perhaps a visitor to the city, you may have seen Vic in his vehicle with the decal in the back window.

Vic1
Should you happen to encounter Vic Morin in your travels around Kamloops, stop and chat with him. Who knows . . . you might end up giving him a kidney.

That decal has resulted in a handful of inquiries, but nothing that has turned into a living kidney donor.

Now Vic and his wife, Colleen, have turned to the latest thing — Transplant Ambassador Program (TAP) — in trying to find a donor. TAP has a website that includes a section titled Patients Seeking Donors. If you are looking for a donor, you are able to visit the site to post a photo and something of a biography explaining your situation. And that’s exactly what Colleen and Vic have done.

“Here’s our latest plea for a kidney for Vic,” Colleen wrote on Facebook. “If you’ve ever considered being a donor, please consider Vic and his situation.

“We have been struggling with this for years now and unfortunately haven’t found a compatible match for a donor. We are pleading from the bottom of our hearts to please consider being a donor for Vic as we are in desperate need of a kidney!!

“We also would greatly appreciate it if you would share/forward our plea.

“Thank you everyone for your help in finding a kidney for my best friend, my partner and my true love.”

If you click right here, it will take you to Patients Seeking Donors and you will be able to read Vic’s entry.



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

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Time is everything. This is why we promise registering as an organ donor should only #TakeTwoMinutes. That’s faster than microwave popcorn! #Register2Give

Backmeyers need living donor for Ferris . . . Zach graduates, still looking for kidney . . . John’s new kidney looks to be a hit


The Backmeyer family of Kamloops is about to begin a search for a living kidney donor for their daughter, Ferris, 4.

You will recall that Ferris underwent a transplant in Vancouver on March 6, but there were complications and the kidney was removed mere hours after it had been put in place.

FerrisLind
Ferris and Lindsey Backmeyer: The search for a living donor is about to begin. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

After meeting with the medical team in Vancouver earlier this month, Ferris’s mother, Lindsey, wrote on Facebook that “there were a lot of factors that likely played a part in the failed transplant. The big one is that the kidney had two arteries — one that was apparently hidden and not identified when retrieved. . . . One of the requirements the surgeons had along with it needing to be small was that it be a single-artery, single-vein organ.”

One thing led to another, and clotting led to other issues creating “back pressure and bleeding.” Thus, the transplanted kidney had to be removed.

All of that, though, is in the past.

“For now,” Lindsey said, “the plan is to try and find her a living donor kidney.”

At the meeting in Vancouver, various options were discussed and Lindsey said the plan now is to “have her ready to be transplanted again by September.” That would be six months after the previous attempt.

Going into the Vancouver meeting, Lindsey didn’t think that a living donor would be an option. However, the medical team “expressed a strong desire for a living donor for Ferris . . . there are way too many benefits for a live-donation transplant.”

And so the search for a donor is about to begin.

“They will be incredibly selective in who they will test, but live-donor testing will resume right away!” Lindsey wrote.

Having been down this road with my wife, Dorothy, I can tell you that it isn’t easy asking someone for a kidney. It’s not like asking for a $20 loan, I can tell you that. And that is what the Backmeyers are going through.

As Lindsey put it, “I really don’t like canvassing for a kidney. It feels so weird to me, but her life depends on this . . . so be ready for all the Ferris poster spam!!”

Bring it on, Lindsey, bring it on!


Zach
Zach Tremblay and his date, long-time friend Taylor Martens, got ready to graduate from Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar last Friday. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

Meanwhile, Zach Tremblay, a young man who has been mentioned in this space on a few previous occasions, is just off a big weekend. Zach, who lives in Robson, B.C., has graduated from high school.

That is quite an accomplishment, when you consider that he has been making three trips a week down the highway to Trail where he undergoes hemodialysis for about four hours at a time.

Yes, Zach is waiting and hoping for a kidney transplant. Graduating from high school doesn’t put an end to any of that. He will continue to make the trek to Trail, and he still needs a kidney.

If you’re able to help, the contact info is further down on this post.


John
Marlene and John Casey, swinging in the pre-transplant days. (Photo: Kathryn Van Kommer/Facebook)

That brings us to John Casey, a happy part of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group.

He was released from St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sunday after having undergone a kidney transplant on May 31, three days after he and his wife, Marlene, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

“I’m finally out of the hospital and the new kidney seems to be doing well,” he wrote on Facebook. “We will have a long period of recovery and I hope to continue to gain strength. We will be forever grateful to our medical system for pulling me through all this and the amazing personal care I got in the hospital.”

John had been doing peritoneal dialysis — hooking up to a cycler every night at home and letting it run its course while he slept — for more than two years prior to the transplant.

As things turned out, John encountered some cardiac-related issues while his medical team was doing the kidney transplant. This meant that he spent time in the cardiac ward before being transferred to the renal ward.

Things have since stabilized and John now has started his trip along the road to recovery. We eagerly look forward to having him and Marlene back with us in Kamloops.


The Kamloops Kidney Support Group also is feeling sadness after the death of Norm Naylor on Sunday morning at the Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice Home in Kamloops. . . . Norm had kidney issues, but also was fighting cancer, and it was the cancer that finally took him after a long, hard battle. . . . Whenever the pandemic recedes and allows the KKSG to resume its monthly gatherings, Norm’s smile and dry sense of humour really will be missed. . . . Condolences to his dear wife, Evelyn, and their family.








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

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

Friends waiting for kidney transplants forced to wait even longer by pandemic . . . We thought three were getting close to getting THE phone call

The Kamloops Kidney Support Group, which used to meet twice a month, hasn’t held a get-together since March 11. And we don’t have any idea when we next will see each other.

Look, the novella coronavirus is horrible, absolutely terrible, but, gee, it’s timing could have been better, at least for a few kidney friends.

Prior to the arrival of the virus and everything it brought with it, we had hoped that three of our regulars— each of them battling kidney disease — were nearing an eagerly awaited new chapter in their lives.

Two of them are doing peritoneal dialysis at home, meaning they hook up to a unit known as a cycler that performs a fluid exchange while they sleep. This procedure takes about eight hours every single night. There aren’t any nights off.

The other person is doing hemodialysis, a procedure that calls for three visits a week to the dialysis unit at the local hospital, with each run taking about four hours.

Two months ago, when our group last met, all three were alive with nervous anticipation as they looked forward to impending medical appointments in Vancouver. The medical community is extremely tight-lipped when transplants hang in the balance, and rightfully so, but we all were feeling (hoping?) that these meetings meant that the end of depending on a machine to keep them alive was nigh.

Then came the coronavirus and cancelled appointments, and, yes, disappointment. And now, with organ transplants seemingly on hold, at least for the short term, it is back to the waiting game.

But there isn’t a kidney patient out there who hasn’t had to deal with adversity and who doesn’t live one day at a time.

These friends also have to deal with the fact that they have weakened immune systems so are high-risk at the best of times, never mind when something like this coronavirus may be lurking around the next corner.

My wife, Dorothy, was one of the lucky ones, having had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Now she takes anti-rejection medications twice a day. These meds stop her body from rejecting the kidney that really is a foreign body making a home inside her.

But those same life-saving meds leave her with a compromised immune system, so, yes, we are extra careful these days. We order groceries online and pick them up. We get meat from a butcher shop by phoning in an order and picking it up. We’ve ordered wine online . . . and jigsaw puzzles . . . and crossword books . . . and on and on.

Meanwhile, Ed Warkentin of Oliver, B.C., drives to Penticton three times a week to undergo hemodialysis. His wait for a new kidney has been ongoing for years and he hasn’t any idea as to what lays ahead.

Annick Lim of Penticton underwent a kidney transplant more than 20 years ago. She has been self-isolating for more than 50 days and, although she has been called back to work, she can’t go because of her compromised immune system.

She also is dealing with something with which my wife has had to come to grips. Nephrologists monitor transplant patients through regular bloodwork. As long as you’re feeling OK, better not to venture into such situations these days, they both were told.

Chelsea Powrie of castanet.net has more on Warkentin and Lim 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


With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.


In a perfect world, every single person in need of a kidney transplant would get one pre-emptively, meaning before he or she had to experience dialysis. So why aren’t there more pre-emptive transplants? . . . Jim Myers, a National Kidney Foundation advocate in the United States, writes about that right here.


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.





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