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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


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


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


Happy birthday to Ferris . . . How about a new kidney for a belated birthday present?

Ferris Backmeyer of Kamloops turned three years of age this week, and we all are hoping that this is the year in which she gets a new kidney.

FerrisJan2020
Here’s hoping that this is the year in which Ferris Backmeyer, 3, of Kamloops gets a new kidney. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

On the occasion of Ferris’s third birthday, her mother, Lindsey, posted an update on Facebook:

“Happy Birthday sweet girl!

“Ferris has officially completed all her transplant assessment and we will hear more about listing and what the next several months will look like next Friday.

“I am not able to donate and we learned that Pat (Ferris’s father) is not a blood match for Ferris. We are reaching out and spreading her story in hopes that we may find just the right kidney for her!

“Our consult with the surgeons went about as I suspected it would. They are wanting her to be even bigger. For her to transplant at the size she is now we would need the perfect-sized kidney for her little body.

“I’m anxious that this process might take a long time. Our first year on dialysis was hard. She was really sick. The past eight months have been great and I worry we will miss our transplant window. She is strong and ready now.

“Please . . . help us find a kidney for our sweet girl!”

——

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


Flu shots. Get them. Period.

What follows is from Interior Health’s website, under the headline 2019-20 Seasonal Influenza Campaign:

“Flu shots are safe, easy to get, and free for those at risk and their household contacts.

“The people at the greatest risk of influenza-related complications are adults and children with underlying health conditions, residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities, people 65 years of age and older, children under 60 months of age, pregnant women, and Aboriginal peoples.

“It’s important that those who have loved ones that are most at risk of complications from influenza get vaccinated. This will help to build a wall of protection around your loved one and reduce their chances of acquiring influenza illness.”

Get a flu shot. Every single year. Transplant recipients and others who are at risk will appreciate it.


If you are going to be in the Pittsburgh area on May 12, you may want to take in the MLB game between the Pirates and San Francisco Giants. It will be Organ Donation Awareness Night at PNC Park. A portion of ticket sales will go to support CORE.

From a news release:

“The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) is one of 58 federally designated not-for-profit organ procurement organizations (OPOs) in the United States. CORE works closely with donor families and designated healthcare professionals to deliver the gift of hope by co-ordinating the surgical recovery of organs, tissues and corneas for transplantation. CORE also facilitates the computerized matching of donated organs, tissues and corneas. With integrity and compassion, our goal is to bridge the gap between donor families, health care providers and transplant recipients so that we may forever transform lives.”

——

Teghan Simonton of triblive.com reported in mid-January that CORE “facilitated 661 transplants in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia last year — an increase from 2018 by nearly 10 per cent.” . . . She added: “There were 253 deceased organ donors in the region, nearly 20 per cent more than in 2018. Of those, 198 donors were in Western Pennsylvania. That’s up from 2018, when there were 162.” . . . There were 226 living donors involved in transplants, up from 191 in 2018. . . . As of mid-January, there were 112,693 people in the U.S. waiting for transplants. . . . Simonton’s story is right here.

——

BC Transplant hasn’t released its 2019 numbers yet, but there is word of a record 2019 from the Universal Health Network (UHN), which is based in Toronto and bills itself as “one of the largest organ transplant centres in North America.”

In 2019, they did 201 kidneys, 202 livers, 209 lungs, 40 pancreas and 40 hearts. That adds up to 701 patients.

Checking on Ferris Backmeyer and Zach Tremblay, two young people dealing with kidney disease . . .

It’s time to check in with a couple of our favourite young people — Ferris Backmeyer and Zach Tremblay — each of whom is dealing with kidney disease and is in need of a transplant.

Both are regular visitors to B.C. Children’s Hospital. Ferris and her mother, Lindsey, have just returned to Kamloops from their most recent trip, while Zach and Jana have been in Vancouver for a few days now, and are likely to remain there for a while yet.

Lindsey and Jana both took to Facebook on Wednesday to update friends as to the latest happenings. Hopefully, these will provide some insight into what people have to deal with they as they and/or their loved ones deal with kidney disease.

——

Ferris, who is about to celebrate her third birthday, does peritoneal dialysis on a daily

FerrisJan2020
Ferris Backmeyer, soon to be three years of age, loves nothing more than to spend time drawing and smiling. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

basis. She needs to gain weight, and maintain that weight, in order to have a transplant.

Here is a bit of what Lindsey posted:

“The take home from this trip is that she’s been managing pretty well from a dialysis perspective. Things are going well and our focus yet again seemed to be on growth . . . We have our wrapup from the assessment meeting with the transplant nephrologist Feb. 7. Our dialysis team is hopeful she will be ready to list/look into live donors by March.

“For the past few months we have seen audiology and ent each time we go down. Ferris’s hearing tests are abnormal. This took me by surprise as I’m fairly certain she can hear some stuff. She follows instructions and has conversations with us daily. However, I am starting to think that she likely can’t hear as well as we think and it’s likely why she isn’t speaking yet. And I mean no clear words . . . except no . . . and yah. She’s also increasingly frustrated that we don’t know what she’s saying (as she’s most definitely trying to talk) although learning some basic signs has helped with this.

“Anyway, they are taking it quite seriously and have put her on an emergent list and I’ve been told we will be back down likely within the next month for a hearing test done under general anesthetic and probable placement of tubes. After that, they will discuss whether she will need hearing aids. I’m hopeful that this might help her in the communication realm as we all know she is sooooo smart!

“She loves to draw and is practising her smiley faces. Her imaginative play is so incredible to watch. She will pretend her baby is hurt, sign for sad and then pull an imaginary Bandaid out of thin air and pretend to put it on, then say happy! She loves to dance and her favourite songs right now are ‘Me Too’ by Meghan Trainor and Dance Monkey.

“In just a couple short weeks, little miss will be 3 and I can’t wait to see how she grows!”

——

Lindsey ended her latest post with this:

“We also got to meet my friend Jana (Tremblay) and her kidney friggin warrior Zach!! Was by far the best part of this trip for me!! It was so nice to chat with people who are dealing with something similar to us! I hope to meet up with them again sometime soon, and hope even more that Zach gets the kidney he so desperately needs!!”

It is tremendous news that Lindsey and Jana finally met and you can bet that they will continue to communicate with each other. This kind of support is invaluable and is the reason why we started the Kamloops Kidney Support Group. Words can’t express the importance of being able to meet and talk with people who can relate to what you have dealt with and are going through.

(BTW, the KKSG’s next meetings are Feb. 8 and 12; we meet on the the second Saturday (9 a.m.) and Wednesday (10 a.m.) of each month.

——

Jana and Zach, who are from Robson, B.C., remain at B.C. Children’s Hospital as Zach, 16, is transitioned from peritoneal dialysis to hemo. On Wednesday, Jana posted:

“We have had a few big changes and a few tough days. Our boy is a rock star though, as always, and seems to be handling these things with courage and more grace than most adults would.

“Peritoneal dialysis is no longer working for Zach. On Friday, he had surgery to have a hemo catheter placed, and we will be transitioning over to hemo dialysis permanently until we can find his match.

“We have no time frame on coming home atm. We are just working to get him successfully running hemo, and to be a healthier him.

“I don’t have many more answers than that at the moment .

“Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as we make this leap into the adult world of dialysis. We can’t move here for him to have treatment 3x per week, and the local dialysis unit in Trail is not connected to Children’s in any way, so our dialysis time here, and with our team, will come to an en . . . Bittersweet, but life.

“Please keep sharing his story in hopes it reaches the right set of eyes!”

——

If you would like more info on being a living kidney donor:

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 Ministry of Health is seeking a contractor to build an organ and tissue donation registry, and it’s leaving its options open in case the province later adopts an opt-out donation model,” Arthur White-Crummey of the Regina Leader-Post wrote earlier this month. “Health Minister Jim Reiter revealed the government’s plans for an online registry in March of last year, signalling that the system should be up and running by the end of the fiscal year in April.

“The plan is now moving forward after a slight delay. The Ministry of Health posted tender documents Thursday seeking proposals to build the system. It is now hoping for the registry to be available to the public, “ideally,” by mid-June of this year.”

The complete story is right here.





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.

A mother’s plea: Please share and help us find Ferris a kidney!

If you have been impacted by kidney disease, you will have some understanding of what is involved in living with something for which there isn’t a cure.

My wife, Dorothy, has kidney disease, and underwent a transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Prior to that, she did peritoneal dialysis (PD) for almost four years. That involved being hooked up to a cycler and doing a fluid exchange for seven or eight hours every night — seven nights a week, 52 weeks a year.

This week, Lindsey Backmeyer of Kamloops, whose daughter, Ferris, is in need of a kidney transplant, took to Facebook to provide some insight into their situation.

Ferris-Nov19
Ferris Backmeyer, 2-1/2, has chronic kidney disease (CKD) and her family is searching for a live kidney donor. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

Ferris is 2-1/2 years of age. She has had problems gaining weight and keeping that weight on, so only recently has her family been given the OK by their medical team to begin looking for a live donor.

In the meantime, Ferris continues to spend 13 hours overnight doing PD at home.

What follows is Lindsey’s post from Facebook . . .

“I am reminded daily just how hard living with ckd (chronic kidney disease) is for my sweet girl. Like this fine morning where she woke up way earlier than usual and we get to hang out on the bed for 2.5 hours to finish up dialysis.

“Most days are started with fits of vomiting and low energy levels. I’ve come to learn that this doesn’t necessarily depict a good or bad day. In fact most of our days are filled with smiles, afternoon/evening energy and cheeky toddler behaviour. The relentless vomiting is very normal for a pediatric dialysis patient — I say this only because I don’t know the adult world nearly as well.

“As of our last trip to Vancouver I’ve been informed Ferris is almost done the assessment process making her one step closer to a life-saving kidney transplant. Somehow, four weeks has almost passed and we are preparing to head down again next weekend. I am fairly certain the bulk of assessment will be completed and this discussion of living/deceased donors will be brought up yet again.

“I was informed that my health history of gestational diabetes and kidney stones in pregnancy makes me unsuitable for organ donation. The sobering realization that my girl’s chance at a better quality of life is completely out of my hands hit me harder than I had expected.

“A living kidney donor is Ferris’s best shot. Due to her age, she will likely need a couple of transplants over time. The first one is always the easiest to match and subsequent ones become harder due to the development of antibodies.

“Kidney’s from live donors are on the whole more successful and last longer than a kidney from a deceased donor. This means we want her first transplant to be the best kidney we can possibly find for her. The best kidney would be from a young healthy live donor.

“We are beyond ready, excited and terrified for transplant. I am hopeful we will see less vomiting, better energy levels, development in speech and language, oral eating and physical growth. These are the things other parents of transplanted toddlers have seen and I so badly want these things for Ferris.

“I can’t wait to say goodbye to 13 hours per day on dialysis. The freedom to stay out late, sleep wherever and have baths with her sisters will be nice, too.

“We are actively looking for a live kidney donor. It’s truly the most selfless act of life-saving kindness. Please share and help us find Ferris a kidney!”

——

If you are interested in more information about becoming a live kidney donor, here you go:

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




About pediatric kidney transplants, flu shots, curried turkey casserole . . .

I wrote earlier this week about Ferris Backmeyer, and you may be wondering how in the world someone who is only 2-1/2 years of age is able to undergo a kidney transplant.

Ferris, who lives in Kamloops with her mother, father and two sisters, has kidney disease. She has been doing peritoneal dialysis at home for 18 months now.

Her mother, Lindsey, recently revealed on Facebook that they have been given the OK to

Ferris
Ferris Backmeyer, 2-1/2 years old, needs a kidney transplant. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

look for a living kidney donor for Ferris.

“We have been told the donor process can take just as long as the transplant workup for Ferris,” Lindsey wrote, “so starting the search now is recommended.”

Obviously, Ferris isn’t going to get a kidney from a three-year-old living donor. So let’s look at a few things . . .

First, from the Kidney Foundation of Canada (kidney.ca):

“A living kidney donation comes most often from a family member such as a parent, child, brother or sister. A donor can also be a spouse, friend or co-worker. Or it can be a stranger. A genetic link between donor and recipient, although beneficial, is not always required. This is largely due to improved anti-rejection medications.

“A good living donor candidate is someone who is healthy, well-informed and makes a voluntary decision to donate one of their kidneys. Living donors must be over 18 and usually less than 70 years of age. They must be in good general health . . .”

So if you are older than 18, you are eligible to be a kidney donor.

While it is preferred that donors be under the age of 70, there are stories of donors who have been older. Health, both physical and mental, plays a huge role in donor eligibility, no matter the age.

When it comes to children, it would seem that having a live donor is the best option.

A 1982 report published in The Journal of Pediatrics reached this conclusion:

“We conclude that because of donor availability, capacity for good donor-recipient matching, and minimization of time on dialysis, transplantation of adult kidneys into pediatric patients is preferable to awaiting the relatively uncommon pediatric cadaver donor. We further conclude that the procedure is warranted.”

Despite the passage of time, it doesn’t seem that there has been any change to that conclusion.

Meanwhile, there is this from webmd.com:

“The reason most hospitals suggest an age minimum of 18 for kidney donors isn’t because a young kidney is too small. Studies have shown that a kidney from a six-year-old is all right to transplant into an adult.

“Instead, the main reason is that people under 18 are minors and can’t legally give their ‘informed consent’ proving that they agree to the procedure. Also, some genetic kidney diseases won’t have started to cause symptoms yet in young children and teenagers, so it’s hard to know if their kidneys may be affected by disease. . . .

“Kidneys from younger donors seem to work better over the long term. But people who get older kidneys are just as likely to be alive five years after a transplant as those who receive younger kidneys. Plus, the chances of complications from the procedure, and of organ rejection — when someone’s immune system attacks their new kidney — are the same with kidneys from all age groups.

“The takeaway from these studies is that kidneys from older donors can work, but younger people in need of a kidney may want to consider being matched with younger donors.”

There also is this, from stanfordchildrens.org: “A child older than age two can generally receive an adult kidney. There is usually enough space in the child’s belly for the new kidney to fit.”


Yes, it is that time of the year, again.

I am married to a woman who had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. That doesn’t mean she has been cured of kidney disease; there isn’t a cure.

Having had a transplant, she must take anti-rejection medications in order to keep her system from rejecting the foreign object that now lives in the lower right side of her abdomen. Some of those medications — she takes them every 12 hours — are immunosuppressants, so her immune system is compromised.

So, yes, I get an annual flu shot. In fact, I got poked on Friday.

You have no idea how many people who are walking around out there have suppressed immune systems or are unable to get a flu shot for medical reasons.

Here is Nicole Basta of the U of Minnesota, the senior author of a study on “herd immunity,” in a story by Lisa Rapaport of Reuters:

“The more people who are vaccinated in a community, the lower the risk that influenza will be able to spread even if the vaccine does not perfectly protect against the disease.

“Influenza spreads by creating chains of transmission whereby one infected person infects additional people and those individuals infect others with whom they come in contact.”

Rapaport’s story is right here.

Flushot





Kamloops family given OK to search for kidney donor for daughter . . . Ferris Backmeyer, at 2-1/2, in need of transplant

Faceoff2
Ferris Backmeyer joined her father, Pat, along with Dorothy Drinnan (left) and Margaret Thompson for the ceremonial faceoff at a Kamloops Blazers game on Feb. 1. (Photo: Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)

If you were in attendance on Feb. 1 as the Kamloops Blazers played host to the Prince George Cougars, you may have seen Ferris Backmeyer at centre ice.

Ferris took part in the ceremonial face-off prior to what was the second annual RE/MAX Presents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation game.

Ferris and her father, Patrick, were at centre ice, along with Dorothy Drinnan and Margaret Thompson, two women who have grown to be close friends since both have had kidney transplants.

Ferris and her family are hopeful that she soon will join that club, too.

Yes, Ferris, who is 2-1/2 years of age, needs a kidney, and her mother, Lindsey, has turned to Facebook to announce that the search for a donor officially is underway. In other words, potential donors now are able to contact the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver

Ferris
Ferris Backmeyer, at 2-1/2 years of age, is in need of a kidney transplant. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

First, though, you should get to know Ferris, who made quite an impression when she and her father joined us a while back for a gathering of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group.

Michael Potestio of Kamloops This Week wrote about Ferris in April 2018.

“A few weeks after she was born,” Potestio wrote, “Ferris, now 14 months old, was informally diagnosed with Mainzer-Saldino syndrome, a disorder characterized by kidney disease, vision loss and misshapen bones.

“The disease is caused by gene mutations and is so rare there are only about 20 known cases, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
“After she was born, Ferris wasn’t gaining weight and subsequent blood work showed abnormalities with her kidneys and liver.”

At that time, Lindsey told Potestio:

“The scariest part in the first few weeks was we didn’t know what was going on. And she was admitted to (B.C.) Children’s Hospital back when she was three weeks old and nobody really knew what was going on.

“It’s a bit disconcerting when the medical professionals can’t give you a diagnosis for your kid.”

Genetic testing later confirmed the diagnosis, and it wasn’t long before Ferris’s kidneys failed.

The Backmeyers, who also have two older daughters, have spent a lot of time at BCCH in Vancouver with Ferris, especially in the early days of kidney failure as medical staff got her started on dialysis. She has been doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) and it took a lot of testing to see just how much of the dialysis fluid her body comfortably could hold. Ferris now has been doing PD at home for 18 months.

In PD, the patient is hooked up to a cycler every night — yes, seven nights a week — and fluids are used to absorb and drain toxins from the body via a catheter that is implanted in the peritoneal cavity. The patient carries fluid all day in that cavity, then repeats the draining process nightly.

Ferris has struggled to gain weight, which has complicated her situation. She needs to get to 10 kilograms before a transplant can take place.

But now it seems that she is making progress in that area.

Lindsey recently posted this on Facebook:

“We just got back from B.C. Children’s Hospital from one of our biggest trips ever and it was the first time I didn’t have (husband) Pat with me the whole time and first solo trip back with a 2 year old that doesn’t nap!

“She let them do all the things and the only tears we saw were with labs. She had the patience of a saint and literally seemed to be handling things better than I was. Hours of different consultations, 2 sets of labs, a bunch of X-rays, a dentist appointment and a hearing test!

“The initial screening for kidney transplant has officially begun!

“Little miss remains on the lowest side for weight and height that they will transplant, and growth has slowed again considerably. Praying for more growth!

“As for the donor part of things, we have been given the go-ahead to have any interested donors contact the St. Paul’s living donor program at 604-806-9027, citing Ferris as the intended donor.

“Her blood type is ‘B’ but they encourage all interested donors to contact St. Paul’s directly. They then mail out a package.

“Ferris’s side of the process is completely separate from the donor side and the donor side is 100 per cent up to the donor. We have been told the donor process can take just as long as the transplant workup for Ferris, so starting the search now is recommended.

“I am sharing this publicly because I want to get the word out. She deserves to live a healthy life and we are sooo ready to move on to the next phase. Social media has proven to be successful and altruistic donors is totally a thing! So let’s do it!! Let’s find Ferris a kidney!!”

Understand that you don’t have to be a match in order to help Ferris get a kidney. If you aren’t a match, the Living Donor Paired Exchange program will be used to match you with another donor/recipient pair in a similar situation.

The age and size of a donor isn’t a big deal, either. What is important is the health of the donor and his/her kidneys.

There is more information available right here at Providence Health Care’s website.

If you are interested in more contact information, here you go:

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