Big day drawing closer for Gillis, Teigan. . . . Transplant, donation records in Ontario

If you wonder what it’s like for someone who is staring at a kidney transplant and watching as the date for surgery quickly approaches, well, Stephen Gillis is providing a look into what he is going through.

Gillis, who coaches a minor hockey team in Vancouver, is scheduled for a transplant on Tuesday at Vancouver General Hospital, with a friend, Michael Teigan, as the donor. You may be aware that Gillis’s hockey team put together a video a while back as part of the search for a donor.

With Transplant Day drawing ever closer, Gillis’s Facebook posts provide some insight into his thoughts and feelings . . .

“With one week till our kidney transplant, my donor Michael’s awesome girlfriend and my dear friend, Denise, held a ‘Kidney Relocation Party’ with some of Michael’s dearest friends.

“Van Minor Atom A1 parents and players, who have gone above and beyond supporting us, gave Michael some amazing gifts including a t-shirt and card made by our awesome manager, Tara Rodas, and personal cards from each player and a lovely donation to Michael’s recovery time.

“Friends were tasked to bring kidney-related items to the party, which included cooking lamb kidney (which is the only kidney I hope to reject), an original 19-page Kidney screenplay, poems, and an unbelievable kidney donation-themed rendition of ‘The Downeaster Alexa’ by Billy Joel. A special night with special people.

“Thank you to all who have supported our journey together and know that you too can be a hero by registering to be an organ donor to save a life one day. It takes 30 seconds,


Later came another post . . .

“(Wednesday) was a special day for Michael & I as we march toward Transplant Tuesday.

We had a lovely interview with the great Robin Gill (that will run on) Global National news on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m., and then will also run on Global BC’s morning show with our friends @paulyhays & @soniasunger. Thanks to Global News for their continued support of our story and raising awareness for organ donation and the Kidney Foundation of BC & Yukon.

“We also, surprisingly, ran into our transplant surgeon Dr. Dave, who is an absolute beauty. ‘We are going to make sure you are both okay and by 4 p.m. Tuesday it will all be over.’

“I am starting to feel calm for the first time in years. Literally, service dogs run up to me lately as they can tell my energy. The only time the worry leaves me is when I am at the rink with the kids, until Dr. Dave gave me our pre-game talk. I think I am finally ready to let go and have this miracle happen.

“Check out our interview Sunday evening on @globaltv and please consider becoming an organ donor and have the conversation with your family. Know you don’t have to be a living donor, just think: Do you really need to take anything with you when you go on the next part of your journey on the other side?


Gillis and Teigan also were to be busy on Saturday night.

As Gillis, who spent Friday night at WWE Smackdown in Vancouver, posted:

“Michael and I will be on stage for a very special Kidney/Organ Donation-themed Vancouver Theatre Sports show at 9:30 p.m. at the Improv Centre.

“Please consider coming out and laughing with us and possibly donating to The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon Branch.”


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


The Trillium Gift of Life Network reports that the province of Ontario set a record for organ donations and transplants in 2019. . . . All told, organs from 684 deceased and living donors resulted in 1,386 transplants. . . . One of the reasons for the increases is that donors who in times past wouldn’t have been eligible because of one medical condition or another now are able to donate because of medical advancements. From a news release: “Transplants of healthy and suitable organs from donors with hepatitis C, for example, can now safely occur, expanding the pool of potential donors and decreasing wait times for recipients on the list.” . . . Jessica Patton of Global News has more right here.

Odelein doing ‘super well’ . . . Minor hockey coach has date with transplant surgeon

Today, we have a sports-themed posting for you, as we check on a retired hockey player, a minor hockey coach and a retired CFL/NFL player. . . .


Lyle Odelein played three seasons (1985-88) with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. At the time, I was at the Regina Leader-Post, so I often was able to watch him play. He wasn’t an enforcer; he just didn’t believe in taking prisoners when he played. In fact, there may not have been a tougher player in the WHL at the time. . . . He went on to play 1,056 regular-season games in the NHL, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . He retired in 2006. . . . Almost two years ago, Odelein contracted a blood infection. In the end, he needed a triple transplant — aortic valve, heart and kidney — to keep him alive. . . . Today, Odelein, 51, says, “Everything is going super well.” . . . Matt Cudzinowski of has more right here.

Stephen Gillis, a minor hockey coach from Vancouver, has a date for surgery. If all goes according to plan, he will get a kidney from friend Michael Teigan on Feb. 18. . . . You may recall that it was Gillis’s peewee team that mounted a campaign — ‘Help us help our coach’ — in January in the hopes of finding a live kidney donor for him. . . . “I am so grateful for Michael, he is truly a hero,” Gillis said. “I hope he is an example to everyone that one selfless act can change the world or save a life for another. I ask you all to consider being organ donors as well. I am one of the lucky ones. There are many who are still waiting for their Michael.” . . . There is more on this story right here.

Ben Williams is a big, burly man who once played defensive end for the CFL’s Shreveport Pirates (remember them?), the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the U of Minnesota Gophers. He also is proof that kidney disease isn’t at all selective. In his playing days, he was 6-foot-2 and in the neighbourhood of 290 pounds. But size doesn’t matter to this disease. . . . He was on the list for a transplant for six years and admits that he was starting to lose hope. But the wait ended late in November when he had a kidney transplant at the M Health Fairview U of Minnesota Medical Center. . . . What is really interesting about this story is that Williams is from Belzoni, Miss., which is located two hours from the nearest dialysis unit. He has a foundation that provides support for people with CKD and, through that foundation he bought eight mobile units for his hometown. . . . Adrienne Broaddus of KARE-TV has the story right here.

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