Boulets take message to Pittsburgh . . . Saskatoon woman example of someone impacted by surgical waiting times . . . Poppy Family singer dies at 73


You know what’s mind-boggling? Well, let me tell you . . . the work that Bernie and Toby Boulet are doing to promote organ donation is mind-boggling. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where their efforts defy description. They are two great citizens of this world and there can be no debate about it. . . . This week they were in — wait for it! — Pittsburgh at the Center for Organ Recovery.

——


As you travel around in your world, you likely are encountering a goodly number of folks who are carrying on as though the pandemic is over. After all, that seems to be what provincial governments and their health officials want us to believe.

But . . . you know what? It’s not over. Of course, that’s the take of the medical and scientific communities, which the pooh-bahs choose to pretty much ignore.

Look, we hear a lot about how hospitals are struggling to keep up, healthcare workers are out of gas and people who need surgeries have had them postponed and postponed and postponed, again and again and again.

So let’s take a moment or two and put a name and a face to one of those people who has been waiting for badly needed surgery.

Terry Rebalkin of Saskatoon has been fighting kidney disease since 2008. She needs a transplant, but first has to have parathyroid surgery, a procedure that will result in a hospital stay of up to five days.

But there aren’t any hospital recovery beds available in Saskatoon.

“Rebalkin said she was able to keep the kidney disease at bay until 2019 through dialysis and healthier living,” reported Cory Coleman of CBC News. “However, things took a turn for the worst that year when her kidneys started filling up with fluid.

“She said she has been in and out of hospitals ever since, but hasn’t been able to get adequate help, especially in emergency rooms.”

Rebalkin told Coleman: “I’ve been treated horribly when I’ve gone to the emergency room, not getting the care that I need, not getting a bed, being septic and being sent home when you’re supposed to be in the hospital.

“It seems like nobody cares because they’re so overworked and they’re tired. The staff and the health region are exhausted.”

Rebalkin now needs a walker to get around, and she and her husband have had to change residences in order to accommodate her needs.

Coleman wrote: “Rebalkin said she believes the province’s handling of COVID-19 — especially the decision to drop all mandates — is one of the reasons for ongoing surgery delays.”

As she explained to Coleman: “They’ve made COVID the most important thing, and I understand, but then they act like it’s not here. So there’s more and more beds being taken up by people that have had COVID, and I understand they’re sick, but what about the rest of us? I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do and what have I gotten out of it? Not a thing.”

Today, she has a tentative date for surgery — May 25 — but she’s been down this road before so is quite prepared for another delay.

“I’m just hoping that my surgery will be done on the day that I need, otherwise, I mean, it doesn’t give you a good outlook on life,” she said.

“I’m not gonna lie, I’m scared . . . I just want my life back.”

So next time you hesitate to put on a mask or take any other precautionary measure stop and think about Terry Rebalkin and so many others who are in the same kind of predicament.

Coleman’s story is right here.


Susan Jacks, the lead singer for the Poppy Family, has died in a Vancouver hospital while awaiting a second kidney transplant. Jacks, who died in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, was 73. . . . She underwent a kidney transplant in 2010 with her brother, Bill, serving as the living donor. In recent days, she was suffering with infections that had her on the waiting list for a second transplant. “She was overwhelmed by infection, and her heart stopped,” Rick Pesklevits, another brother, told The Canadian Press. . . . Jacks was once married to Ted Dushinski, an all-star defensive back with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. He died of cancer in 2005. . . . Camille Bains of CP has more right here.








Dorothy-040719Dorothy, my wife of more than a few years, is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. She has participated in every one since she underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Sept. 23, 2013. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so 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

——

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

Susan talks organ donation . . . What does it mean? Dad will be there on wedding day . . . You only have to register once

I previously have written here about Susan Duncan, a long-time friend and former co-worker, and how she came to donate a kidney. She recently appeared on CBC Radio in Kamloops to talk about her experiences and it certainly is worth a listen. . . . Warning: It’s an entirely positive listen! . . . You are able to do that right here.


What does kidney donation mean? Well, it means that my wife, Dorothy, is here to enjoy two granddaughters. The oldest, Kara, will be six in July. Dorothy had her kidney transplant in 2013.

To Kennedie Maidment of Kamloops it means that her father, Tony, will be part of her wedding party this month. . . . Kennedie has been a push behind organ donation ever since her father underwent a liver transplant.




Cayden Desjarlais was 28 years of age last summer when he was involved in a motorcycle accident near 100 Mile House, B.C. A short time later, his parents, Deanna and Dan, were told by doctors at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops that their son wouldn’t survive. His parents also learned that their son had registered as an organ donor. . . . You may recall that there were numerous forest fires raging in this area at that particular time. . . . Still, medical teams were able to put together a plan that resulted in Cayden’s heart, liver, kidneys and islet cells being transplanted. . . . This really is a remarkable story and Melissa Smalley of the 100 Mile Free Press has it all 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

——

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

Fourth annual Green Shirt Day is almost here . . . Boulets continue to work tirelessly for organ donation

It is almost four years since the lives of Bernadine and Toby Boulet were changed forever.

Their son, Logan, was one of the 16 victims of the bus accident that involved the Humboldt Broncos, a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team that was on its way to Nipawin on April 6, 2018, for a playoff engagement with the Hawks.

Following Logan’s death, his organs were donated to six recipients. Since then, Bernadine and Toby have become tireless advocates for organ donation.

They were in Winnipeg last week where Mayor Brian Bowman presented them with a key to the city.

“It is profoundly moving and compassionate for a person to let the end of their life be a catalyst for the continuation of other lives,” Bowman said at a news conference as he described Bernadine and Toby as “incredible and selfless.”

They are that and then some.

In fact, if there were such a thing as a key to Canada, I would suggest that it be awarded to them. Yes, these are special people.

The work they have done, and continue to do, on behalf of organ donation and the Logan Boulet Effect is mind-boggling.

Their focus these days is on April 7, which will be the fourth annual Green Shirt Day. An untold number of Canadian structures will be lit up in green in honour of the occasion. As well, a number of Canadian jurisdictions have issued proclamations declaring April 7 as Green Shirt Day.

So consider yourself warned . . . get your green shirt ready. It’s just over a week away.

If you’re interested, there is more on Green Shirt Day right here.

Kayla Rosen of CTV News in Winnipeg has more right here on the Boulets receiving a key to the Manitoba capital.









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

Kamloops kidney community mourns loss of Bailly, Calibaba to COVID-19 . . .

The kidney community in Kamloops has lost two prominent members, both of whom had transplants in their past, to COVID-19.

Stan Bailly, a long-time musician and much-loved radio personality and DJ, died on Saturday after a four-month battle.

Dale Calibaba, who once biked across Canada wanting to raise awareness of kidney disease and organ donation, died on Nov. 26. He was 53.

Bailly, who was from Kamloops, retired in October 2018, ending a radio career

Bailly
Danielle Bailly, with her father Stan. (Facebook photo)

that began in Williams Lake, B.C., in 1968. He had been back in his hometown at CIFM since 1987.

Bailly also owned Stan Bailly DJ Services in Kamloops and had played a whole lot of weddings in the area.

He had undergone two kidney transplants, both involving live donors. The first one failed, but he underwent a second about a year later and this kidney, from a sister-in-law, worked just fine.

“I am so blessed!,” he wrote on Facebook in April 2020, 19 years after the second transplant. “It gave me an appreciation for family and life.  “Sometimes the hardest things can become the best things!”

Earl Seitz, the long-time sports director at CFJC-TV in Kamloops, worked with Bailly for years. Seitz posted on Facebook:

“Stan Bailly was a cherished friend, broadcast colleague for close to 48 years, and most of all just a great person. He will be missed immensely by (his wife) Debbie, family and his many, many friends. Being a small part of the CIFM mornings with Stan and Henry (Small) for many years are among my most cherished memories.”

Seitz is retiring at the end of this month.

Tara Holmes, another long-time radio friend, posted:

“He hated Trump

“He respected Covid

“He loved his wife, kids, and family

“He was grateful for his kidney donation

“He had a hoot DJ’ing weddings and events

“He enjoyed socializing

“He always had a shit-eating grin on his face!

“He loved his co-host Henry Small

“When I saw the disrespectful protest outside of Royal Inland Hospital while this man was fighting for his life I was disgusted. When I hear people say ‘Oh well, if they are compromised they will die anyway’ it infuriates me. Stan had a lot of life left to live.”

On Saturday afternoon, Danielle Bailly, Stan’s daughter, began a Facebook post with . . .

“He’s gone.

“It is with the most profound sadness and intense grief I just need to let you know my dad Stan Bailly passed away peacefully today.

“He was the kindest man and fought so hard. I am so very proud to be his daughter and to have had all this time with him.  God, this is so hard. I didn’t know my heart could shatter this much.”

Meanwhile, according to an obituary, Calibaba died on Nov. 26 “in the ICU at Royal Inland Hospital . . . after his month-long fight with COVID-19.”

Calibaba was born with Alport Syndrome, a genetic disorder that necessitated a kidney transplant at the age of 19, a couple of years after his kidneys began to fail.

Calibaba
Dale Calibaba and his bicycle saw a lot of Canada. (Photo: Dale Calibaba)

That first transplant was good for 18 years, but the ‘new’ kidney started having issues in 2005 and it wasn’t long before he was back doing dialysis.

In 2015, despite being in need of another kidney, Calibaba decided that he wanted to bike across Canada — east to west — because he had a desire to shine a spotlight on what people with kidney disease went through.

He started on June 1, 2015, in St. John’s, Nfld., and hoped to finish in Victoria on Sept. 4.

All the while he was doing peritoneal dialysis, meaning that he hooked up to a cycler every night and allowed those treatments to remove the toxins from his system, a job normally handled by healthy kidneys.

However, he developed a catheter-related infection and had to pause the ride in order to allow it to heal. At that point, he had been riding for 85 days and had covered about 6,600 km.

While he was at home in Kamloops, he got THE phone call.

“It was almost surreal because I was on hold on the (transplant) wait list,” Calibaba told Adam Donnelly of CFJC-TV in June 2017 while preparing to resume his cross-country ride. “When I received a phone call to come down to Vancouver, that they had a kidney for me, I wasn’t believing it at first, because I thought when you’re on hold, you won’t get a call.”

He underwent that second transplant, got healthy enough to resume his ride, and away he went, completing the ride in Victoria later that summer.

A complete obituary is right here.


The story of Calgary’s Jenna Ursu is one that hits awfully close to home and absolutely breaks my heart. Why? Because this could have been my wife, Dorothy. . . . Jenna’s health has gone downhill since she was diagnosed with Stage 5 kidney disease a year ago. She’s 30 now, a married mother of two young children, and needs a kidney. But these days the wait list in Alberta isn’t moving at all quickly for her, even though her sister, Whitney, has been deemed a potential living donor and has gone through all the tests. . . . Jenna’s husband, Kyle, told Jordan Kanygin of CTV News in Calgary: ”My wife’s health has basically gotten to the point where she won’t survive a kidney transplant because of the delay due to COVID. It’s very hard. I feel like the health care system has let my family down and I just have zero faith in it. I feel like we were put to the back burner over and over and over again.” . . . The complete story 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

——

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

Zach takes a pill, and another one, and another one and . . . Dorothy on TV . . . Drone delivers for double-lung transplant

ZachMeds

The picture above these words?

Those are the meds that Zach Tremblay, a 17-year-old from Robson, B.C., takes every single week as he waits and hopes for a kidney transplant.

Here’s what his mother, Jana, wrote on Facebook recently:

“This is what it takes for him to stay alive — meds every day x2, plus 4 more pills at meal times! He does dialysis 3x per week, 4-hour runs, has major dietary and fluid restrictions (none of the fun yummy stuff, and 1 litre of fluid, meals included, every 24 hours).

“Please share his poster/story and help us find his match.”

Zachposter2


According to numbers provided by BC Transplant (as of Sept. 30, 2021) . . .

Number of registered organ donors in B.C.: 1,564,489.

Number of organ transplants performed in B.C. in 2021: 383 (189 involving kidneys from deceased donors; 58 involved kidneys from living donors).

Number of patients awaiting transplants: 645.

Number of those needing a kidney: 509.

Number of post-transplant patients being followed: 5,666.

Number of deceased organ donors in 2021: 107.

Number of donor organs imported: 11.

Dylana Kneeshaw of CFJC-TV in Kamloops has more on this year’s organ transplants in B.C. 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

——

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

Caseys are home and looking for nature . . . Did you hear about the man born with four kidneys? . . . Co-workers donate to husbands

John
Before returning to Kamloops and the comforts of home, Marlene and John Casey stopped off to pay their respects at a large wreath in support of healthcare workers near Vancouver General Hospital.

A warm welcome home to two of our favourite people — Marlene and John Casey.

They arrived back home in Kamloops late last week after an event-filled three months in Vancouver.

John underwent a kidney transplant at Vancouver General Hospital on May 31. As he went through recovery, he ran into a few issues, but was in good hands. And he came out the other end in good shape.

As he wrote on Facebook before heading for home: “We really feel we owe a lot of gratitude to all the nurses and doctors who got us through this. A number of the nurses gathered round this morning to say goodbye. We wished we could hug them.”

Upon their return, Marlene and John couldn’t wait to get back to McArthur Island, an area on Kamloops’ North Shore where they love to walk. John knows his way around a camera and has an eye for wildlife, as the photo below of a fishing heron proves — check out the shadow, too.

Here’s to happy trails to you two!

Heron


There is important news from the UK where, as part of a groundbreaking trial, potential organ donors are being given a dose of simvastatin before their organs are removed. This is expected to result in more and better-quality organs being available for transplant. . . . Andrew Gregory has more right here.





Susan Ellis and Tia Wimbush both work in the IT department of Atlanta’s Children’s Healthcare. But they have more than that in common — both of their husbands have been battling kidney disease. . . . But guess what? It turns out that Susan was a match for Tia’s husband, Rodney. And, yes, Tia was a match for Susan’s husband, Lance. . . . The transplants occurred on March 19, 2021. . . . Their remarkable stories are 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

——

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

Thinking about Ferris and Zach as clown cars pull up in front of hospitals . . .

While so many selfish folks chose to spend at least part of their Wednesday afternoon making fools of themselves in front of and around various hospitals, I couldn’t help but think of Ferris Backmeyer and Zach Tremblay and their families.

FerrisZach 2
Ferris Backmeyer and Zach Tremblay, new best friends waiting for kidney transplants. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

Ferris, 4, is from Kamloops; Zach, 18, is from Robson, B.C., which is across the Columbia River from Castlegar.

Both of these young people are awaiting kidney transplants. Each already has undergone one transplant, only to have it fail almost immediately.

Ferris has been on dialysis, either hemo or peritoneal, almost all of her young life; Zach does hemo-dialysis three times a week, but has to make the 65-kilometre round trip to Trail in order to get his treatment.

They both are at high risk of infection from any number of viruses, including COVID-19, as, of course, are thousands of others.

Of course, yesterday’s protesters lack the ability to see past the end of their noses, so they wouldn’t be aware of the number of immunocompromised people who live in their communities. If you want to protest about having your freedoms taken away, maybe you should speak with a few people who live with compromised immune systems and maybe learn what they have been going through while trying to stay alive during this pandemic.

(As an aside, you really have to wonder just how goofy some of these people can get. One week they are wanting to get horse medicine into their guts to help them fight this dastardly virus, and you shake your head and think that’s rock bottom. But then the clown cars show up in front of hospitals and it becomes obvious that, hey, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.)

But we digress . . .

Kidney disease and the wait for a transplant often means sessions in Vancouver with members of a medical team. Such was the case recently for Ferris and Zach.

Zachgirls
Zach Tremblay got to hang out with the Backmeyer sisters — Tavia (left), Ferris and Ksenia — during a recent trip to Vancouver. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

Zach was being transitioned from a team at B.C. Children’s Hospital to one at Vancouver General Hospital that works with adults who are awaiting transplants. At the same time, Ferris and her mother, Lindsey, were at BCCH.

Yes, Ferris and Zach finally met. In fact, Lindsey reported that Zach “is Ferris’s new bestie. He’s such and amazing kid and just connected with my girls instantly.”

When Lindsey writes about the medical issues being experienced by Ferris the pain oftentimes cuts the reader almost like a scalpel.

Earlier this year, Ferris underwent a kidney transplant in Vancouver, but the new kidney was removed almost immediately after being transplanted.

Since then, well, it really is a game of wait and see, except that it’s hardly a game.

This week, Lindsey offered an update via Facebook, as she is wont to do, and this one hurts. . .

“Well when it rains it always pours in our world. We got what feels like devastating news (Tuesday) morning from Ferris’s transplant nephrologist.

“Her Anti off testing was repeated and it’s shown that Ferris has become highly sensitive. Not sure at all when the 30% antibodies were drawn but she is now sitting at 99%. From my understanding they have a fancy calculation that looks at all the organs that were donated in the past 5 years across Canada and all age groups. What percentage would have been a match for Ferris . . . 1 friggin percent.

“It’s changed everything. They are going to increase immunosuppression to try and prevent them increasing to 100% because, as he reminded me, it can always be worse.

“This terrifies me in the season of a friggin pandemic against a respiratory virus that my child doesn’t have any protection against. In a climate where now not only one but both of her parents will be working in close contact with patients that are infected.

“Her future is so incredibly uncertain . . . more so than it already was??  How can that even be a thing.

“Their goal still is to get her transplanted but the odds are NOT in her favour. I have never felt more confident in our decisions to making memories our number one priority. Everything needs to shift and her quality of life will come above everything else.

“I feel shattered and it’s hard to breathe. It’s just been so incredibly overwhelming and the constant feelings of fight or flight are wearing me down.

“It’s so important for us to really embrace where we are at right now because the reality of our situation is that this is likely the ‘good’ and I hope to keep things this way for as long as it takes!”

I should mention that Lindsey is a registered respiratory therapist at Royal Inland Hospital, while Pat is in nursing school at Thompson Rivers U.

That won’t mean anything to the protesters who got their 15 minutes on Wednesday afternoon in front of and around RIH. But it should.

Ferrisposter

Zachposter2



If you are able to help, our friend Vic Morin of Kamloops is in need of a kidney transplant . . .

Vic1


——


Mike




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

Major breakthrough involving anti-rejection meds . . . Kidney foundation calls for third dose for immuno-compromised

A Vancouver Sun headline jumped off my laptop screen and hit me square between the eyes the other day. It read: B.C. researchers discover way to reduce organ rejection following a transplant. . . . It carried this subhead: “Finding has the potential to eliminate need for drugs on which transplant recipients rely to prevent their immune systems from attacking a new organ as a foreign object.” . . . Gordon McIntyre of Postmedia wrote that UBC’s team “found that by using a special polymer to coat blood vessels on the organ to be transplanted, organ rejection in mice was substantially reduced, results confirmed by collaborators at Simon Fraser and Northwestern University in Illinois.” . . . Oh boy, this will be big, big in the transplant community if things continue to pan out. My wife, Dorothy, had a kidney transplant almost eight years ago. She takes anti-rejection drugs twice a day — 12 hours apart — every day. . . . It could be years before the process has gone far enough for clinical trials in humans, but, at least so far, the work involving mice really is looking promising. . . . The complete story is right here.


Dentist
If you are awaiting a kidney transplant, it doesn’t matter your age — there are all kinds of medical visits in your immediate future. That’s how Ferris Backmeyer, 4, of Kamloops found herself in a dentist’s chair on Thursday afternoon. Hey, is Ferris the picture of cool, or what? BTW, all went well. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)


Ferrisposter



Heron
Which one doesn’t belong? There was a stranger among a flock of geese in a hay field along Shuswap Road east of Kamloops on Thursday afternoon. The field is on the north shore of the South Thompson River where herons often spend time fishing.



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.


Do good, feel good! Register to be an organ donor and get that warm fuzzy feeling. 1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives. Taketwominutes.ca #TakeTwoMinutes

Could you give Zach Tremblay a kidney as graduation present? . . . An emotional mother updates son’s situation . . .

If you are a regular in these parts, you will be familiar with the Backmeyer family of Kamloops and their four-year-old daughter, Ferris, who is in need of a kidney transplant. Her mother, Lindsey, often shares the trials and tribulations of living with a youngster and the challenges presented by a variety of things, including kidney disease.

But what if your child is a teenager trying to make his way through high school? What if your son has to travel to another community three or four times a week for hemodialysis treatments? How do you deal with the fact that your son had one kidney transplant that didn’t work out?

For starters, you hope and pray that he gets another chance.

Zach1
Zach Tremblay, high school graduate.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Tremblay family of Robson, B.C., is going through as their son and brother, Zach, continues his fight with kidney disease.

His mother, Jana, took to Facebook the other day to provide an update on her boy, who graduated from high school last month. And if you don’t think that’s an accomplishment — getting through high school while dealing with kidney disease, a failed transplant and hemodialysis — you need to back up and think again.

Besides the pandemic, this year didn’t get off to a roaring start for Zach when a clot developed in the fistula that had been implanted in one of his arms to help with the dialysis process.

That, Jana explained, “was extremely painful both physically and emotionally for him. It could not be saved and it was a huge blow for us all, but mostly him.

Zach2“It set us all back emotionally, and we decided to just take a step back from it all. Zach then made the decision to stick with his chest catheter and won’t agree to any more surgeries, unless it’s a kidney.”

Those days in the first two or three months of 2021 were wearing.

“He struggled hard with this news and decision and, as a parent, aside from the failed (fistula), it was the hardest thing to watch him go through . . . heartbreaking to say the least,” Jana wrote.

Dealing with kidney disease oftentimes is like riding a rollercoaster. Up . . . down . . . up . . . down. And it’s never easy, especially when you are wanting so badly for there to be a transplant in the near future. And when you’re the mother of a teenager for whom you badly want a kidney, knowing that it would bring him some kind of a ‘normal’ life, well . . . you also watch as your child has to deal with the extra-curricular stuff as well.

“We did our best to push forward and stay positive, but honestly it gets harder and harder,” Jana wrote. “The setbacks are harder to accept, because we feel like he just deserves a break. It’s very hard as an adult to push through and stay positive, but it’s even harder for a kid who faces all of this kidney stuff, plus the social teenage bullshit, and, yes, it’s ABSOLUTE, ignorant bullshit that gets tossed his way as well.”

Zach3Going into March, Zach had always dealt with a medical team at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. That all changed with a meeting that month during which they learned that his file was being transferred to “the adult world” at Vancouver General Hospital.

“We were gutted,” Jana wrote, “and I cried and cried . . . 18 years of tears, pain, let downs . . . it all literally poured from my body, and his as well, I’m sure.”

Of course, this transfer meant leaving one comfort zone and moving into an unfamiliar spot and having to start over with new medical people, something that never is easy.

As Jana wrote: “Leaving our team at BCCH is terrifying . . . 18 years of care and trust and faith, and we are leaving empty-handed. It does not feel good.”

But the clouds parted in June, at least for a short time, as Zach graduated from high school in Castlegar.

“Despite many hospital stays over the years, he did it!” Jana wrote. “It was different, of course, with COVID protocols, but our guy made it, and we could not be more proud of him!”

So what’s next for the Tremblays?

Well, Zach and Jana will spend some time in Vancouver next month meeting with the transplant team at VGH “and hopefully push forward towards a transplant for our guy.”

The first half of 2021 wasn’t easy, but, as Jana put it, “we made it, we are here, and so is he.”

And they are determined to focus on the positives and wait to see what “the fresh eyes of a new team will bring” to Zach’s situation.

“We will continue to share his story in hopes of finding a match,” Jana wrote, “and we will continue to advocate for others who are waiting.”

BTW, the Tremblay family all has been “double vaxxed and are super thankful for it!” That’s important for those with kidney disease and compromised immune systems. If you haven’t been vaccinated, please get it done, if not for yourself, for the thousands of people who walk among us with compromised immune systems.







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

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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

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Or, for more information, visit right here.

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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

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