Former NFL defensive POY needs kidney . . . Campbell River volunteer honoured . . . How do vaccines work?

If you are a sports fan, especially a football fan, you will remember Albert Haynesworth, a big, bad pass-rushing maniac who was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 2008 while with the Tennessee Titans. . . .These days, Haynesworth does hemodialysis three times a week five hours at a time, starting at 6:15 a.m. . . . “He shares this cramped space with people from all backgrounds: white and black, young and old, successful and otherwise . . . diverse but depressingly the same, in that they each desperately need a kidney,” writes Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated. “Haynesworth’s doctors have made that clear to him. Even this mountainous man, once as feared as any in football, finds himself worrying about dying young, about all the graduations and weddings and milestones he would miss.” . . . A friend is well along in the testing process, and Haynesworth just may get that kidney this year. . . . Bishop’s complete story — it’s a good one and it’s a long read — is right here. . . . (Thanks to long-time friend Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, for passing along the link to this story.)


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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


It was in late November when Shawn Logan of Postmedia put together a story on how an organ gets from a donor to a recipient. It’s a good story and, if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look. . . . Logan opens the story: “A critical window opens for only a short period of time when a family makes the life-changing decision to allow a dying loved one to become an organ and tissue donor. The window can only open during two types of deaths, which allow for doctors to harvest vital organs and tissue that can be used to save or improve the lives of others. The first death is one in which the brain stops functioning (neurological death), but other vital functions remain operative. The second is cardio-circulatory death, in which life is not sustainable without a ventilator.” . . . The complete story is right here.

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Meanwhile, Shraddha Chakradhar of statnews.com wrote an interesting piece this week on a major development in the area of heart transplants in the U.S. “A new method of ‘reanimating’ donor hearts from those who have died from cardiac failure is currently being tested in the U.S.,” Chakradhar reports, adding that this program “may soon ease” the burden on the more than 250,000 Americans who are at the end stages of heart failure. . . . “Last month, a team at Duke University was the first in the U.S. to perform the procedure in an adult as part of a multicenter clinical trial,” the story continues. “And just last week, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the University of Wisconsin in Madison, which are also a part of the trial, reported their first such transplant.” . . . This enlightening and newsy story is right here.







McLennan celebrates two years with friend’s kidney . . . Kamloops woman finally gets her transplant

Hugh
Two years ago, Hugh McLennan (second from left) and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor were roaming the halls at Vancouver General Hospital, along with Hugh’s wife, Billie. The big question: Where in the big city did they tie up their horses? (Photo: Hugh McLennan/Facebook)

Happy anniversary to Hugh McLennan, who has been living for two years with a transplanted kidney, courtesy of his good friend Louis (Big Rig) McIvor.

Here’s what Hugh wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday:

“Two years ago (Friday) this guy gave me one of his kidneys! We’re both doing fine and we’d encourage you to look into being an organ donor and if you know someone on dialysis look into getting tested as a living donor.”

Now that is really sound advice.

Hugh and his wife, Billie, own and operate a ranch near Pinantan Lake, just outside of Kamloops.


Best wishes to Melissa Wells of Kamloops, who underwent a kidney transplant on Nov. 9.

Melissa has a kidney disease — Type 3 Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) — that resulted in kidney failure. She spent more than six years waiting for a transplant, all the while doing dialysis.

In July, her husband, Marty, wrote:

“She’s been through countless failed surgeries, successful surgeries, and even had a direct line put into her heart just so she was able to get treatment to stay alive.”

Marty also added something that, with all that Dorothy has been through, I think of regularly. It has to do with the number of people walking around who live with kidney disease but don’t give any appearance of being ill.

“If you saw Melissa today she would seem totally normal,” Marty wrote in July. “She goes about her daily life — visiting family, hanging out with friends, going shopping. What you don’t see is her strength. She fights through constant headaches, nausea, fatigue, shooting pains through her arm, and overall pain of having major organ failure. The constant needling of her arm almost every day and the perpetual surgeries she has to deal with in Kamloops, Kelowna, and Vancouver are exhausting and expensive.”

The good news is that Melissa has a new kidney now. Here’s hoping that all goes well.


What happens when an organ or organs come available for transplant? How quickly does the window of opportunity close? When there is a death, how many organs might be available for transplant? What about tissue, corneas, etc.? . . . Shawn Logan of Postmedia has an excellent look at all of that and a whole lot more right here.


Susan Bell and Dorothy Stewart of CBC News have produced a story that includes Colleen Atsynia, a single mother of five.

According to the story, she “was in her mid-40’s when kidney disease forced her to leave her job, her family and her northern Quebec community of Wemindji for dialysis treatment in Montreal.”

As Atsynia told the reporters: “When you first find out you need a transplant, to me it felt like, ‘OK, that’s it. I’m done. I’m just going to die.”

According to the story, Atsynia’s life changed when “someone she doesn’t know gave it all back to her by donating a kidney” in May 2018.

“I was extremely happy because I knew I was going to finally come home,” she said. “My kids were happy . . . they were really happy.”

That story is right here.




This doesn’t have anything to do with transplants or kidney disease, but it is a great watch . . .


Billboards paid off for Calgary teacher. . . . Hemodialysis patients enjoying some exercise

Ryan McLennan, a teacher in Calgary, needed a kidney. So his wife mounted a billboard campaign. . . . Tony Timmons, a FedEx driver, saw one of the billboards. . . . Timmons, originally from Gander, Nfld., answered the call. . . . Shawn Logan of Postmedia has the entire story — and it’s a good one — right here.


I have been hearing about people doing hemodialysis and getting some exercise at the same time for a year or so now. I’m thinking this is going to become more and more common in dialysis units.



Facing The Facts About Organ Donation 2019


From the website photosforkidneys.com: “If you’re waiting for a kidney transplant, or have had one in the past, or if you’re a kidney donor yourself, please feel free to contact us if you would like to participate in our photo project. We would love to meet you!”