Lauren Herschel was Calgary’s first anonymous kidney donor . . . Here’s her story . . . Would you give kidney to husband’s ex-wife? Debby did just that

Ten years have gone by since Lauren Herschel became Calgary’s first anonymous living kidney donor. Being a living donor, she told Jill Croteau of Global News, has “exponentially changed my life in ways I didn’t think. I am far more confident. It’s deepened my empathy and made me a person to try things out of my comfort zone.” . . . Looking back at it, Herschel added: “It’s easier than you think. I was back to work in just under two weeks. It was such a small amount of time to do something that will give someone else years and years of a higher quality of life. It’s an easy trade-off.” . . . Her decision to donate a kidney also resulted in changes to the transplant system there. Amazing! . . . Her story, and it’s terrific, is right here. . . . If you are on Twitter, find the thread that she wrote and give it a read. It’s terrific, too.


Dorothy, my wife of almost 49 years, appeared on Radio NL, a Kamloops station, one day last week to talk about all things kidney-related. She had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, so is able to share some of her experiences. Mostly, she wants to get across to potential live donors that there is a way to become a living kidney donor without being a perfect blood match for a specific recipient. . . . If you would care to listen that interview, conducted by longtime Kamloops media maven Larry Read, is right here.


Here’s a story for you. . . . Mylaen and Jim Merthe of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., divorced about 20 years ago. On Nov. 22, Jim got married for a second time, to Debby Neal-Strickland. . . . On Nov. 24, Debby was admitted to hospital where she donated a kidney to her new husband’s ex-wife. . . . Yes, Debby, 56, gave up a kidney to Mylaen, who is 59 and had long battled kidney disease. . . . What this all meant is that Mylaen was able to hold her second grandson when he was born in March. . . . Kelli Kennedy of The Associated Press has the complete story right here.




A tweet from a member of the Regina Police Service Traffic Safety Unit . . .


Sharon Kidwell of Prince George can’t believe the freedoms she has in her life now that she has recovered from a kidney transplant. . . . “I still can’t believe I can do things spontaneously,” she told Christine Dalgleish of the Prince George Citizen. “Before this, my whole life was planned around dialysis — every day was planned. I would suddenly have to leave people’s house at a certain time because I had eight to nine hours of dialysis to do in the evenings. So I had to be hooked up early enough so I could get up early enough to do what I needed to do. Now I can actually start a movie at 9 at night.” . . . After more than three years on dialysis, Kidwell had a transplant in November. . . . Her story is right here.


A whole lot of thank yous to RE/MAX of Western Canada, the WHL and its teams for the three years in which they participated in the Suits Up Campaign. . . . Know that you really have made a difference. . . .


Here’s a transplant story that will brighten your day . . .


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 

Rockets at seven positives, season suspended for two weeks . . . WHL postpones 10 games . . . QMJHL puts Sherbrooke into isolation

It was a record day in B.C. on Wednesday with the announcement of 1,013 new positive tests, the highest one-day number since the pandemic began over a Rocketsyear ago.

Unfortunately for the WHL and the Kelowna Rockets, they were part of the day’s tally.

The WHL announced late in the day that the Rockets have been shut down for at least 14 days because of a total of seven positive tests within the organization. That includes one staff member from Tuesday and six more people — two staff members and four players — from Wednesday.

As a result, all Rockets team activities have been suspended at least through April 14.

According to the WHL, all test results from the four other B.C. Division teams came back negative.

While the Rockets have been staying with their billets in Kelowna, the Victoria Royals are in a hotel there. In Kamloops, the Blazers with billets, while the Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants are in a hotel.

The WHL also announced the postponement of 10 games, including Kamloops at Kelowna on Tuesday and a Wednesday game that was to have had Vancouver and Prince George meet in Kamloops. It was scrubbed out of an abundance of caution.

All told, nine games involving Kelowna have been postponed.

The Rockets last played on Sunday when they lost, 6-0, to the Giants in Kamloops. Kelowna next is scheduled to play on April 17 against the Cougars in Kamloops.

The Rockets also had someone in their organization test positive earlier in March, just prior to the start of this developmental season. That individual and someone deemed a close contact had to self-isolate but the Rockets’ schedule wasn’t impacted because it was deemed not to be in-season.

The WHL’s Wednesday news release is right here.


The NHL postponed a game between the visiting Calgary Flames and Vancouver nhl2Canucks just 90 minutes before it was to have started on Wednesday. . . . Vancouver F Adam Gaudette tested positive on Tuesday and was taken off the ice during practice. Another player whose identity wasn’t known last night has joined Gaudette on the COVID-19 protocol list, while a member of the Canucks’ coaching staff also has gone into protocol. . . . Both teams had skated and held media availabilities earlier in the day. . . . This was the 42nd game postponed by the NHL because of COVID-19. . . . Calgary’s next game is scheduled for Friday against the Oilers in Edmonton. . . . The Canucks, who just had six days off, are to play Saturday in Edmonton.


Cats


The QMJHL has put the Sherbrooke Phoenix into what it calls “preventative qmjhlnewisolation” following a positive test to a staff member on Wednesday. The Phoenix had been playing in one of the QMJHL’s “protected environment” events, this one in Sherbrooke. Because of the positive test, the Phoenix isn’t able to compete, leaving the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Olympiques to play each other on Thursday and again on Friday. . . . The Phoenix was to have played the Armada on Wednesday night, but that game was cancelled.


It was earlier in March when Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, suggested that there was room for optimism concerning a return to play for the OHL by month’s end. . . . Well, the final day of March came and went without any kind of announcement. And with Ontario apparently heading into some kind of a lockdown that likely will last at least 28 days it would seem that the OHL’s chances of having any kind of season may be in jeopardy.


If you stop off here regularly, or even on occasion, and if you like what you see here, or even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and help out the Taking Note coffee fund. Thank you in advance.


IN THE WHL ON WEDNESDAY . . .

The Saskatoon Blades ran their point streak to 10 games with a 3-2 victory over Bladesthe Winnipeg Ice in Regina. . . . The Blades (9-0-1) are off to the best start in franchise history, and now have won seven in a row. . . . Winnipeg slipped to 6-4-0. . . . G Nolan Maier earned the victory with 29 saves. He now has 86 career regular-season victories and that’s a franchise record. Maier, who is from Yorkton, now has one more victory than Tim Cheveldae (1985-88), who is from Melville. Cheveldae also was the Blades goaltending coach for seven seasons (2013-20). He tutored Maier for three of those seasons. . . . “I knew it was going to be broken and the fact that Nolan should break it, I couldn’t be more happy,” Cheveldae told Saskatoon radio station CKOM. . . . The Blades erased a 1-0 deficit on goals from F Brandon Lisowsky (4), F Kyle Crnkovic (4) and F Colton Dash (7). . . . F Connor McClennon (5) pulled the Ice to within one at 7:14 of the third period. . . . Saskatoon was without F Chase Wouters, who is serving a three-game suspension, and D Rhett Rhinehart, who is sitting out a two-game sentence. . . .

D Jeremy Hanzel broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to give the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds a 2-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . Hanzel, a freshman from Coquitlam, B.C., has two goals and an assist in six games. . . . When Hanzel scored at 10:18, it was the first time Everett (5-1-0) had trailed to this point in the season. . . . F Ethan Regnier (3) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 18:10 of the second period. . . . F Conner Roulette (4) got Seattle (4-2-0) even at 3:27 of the third via the PP. . . . G Thomas Milic stopped 32 shots to earn the victory. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf turned aside 36 shots.


Asphalt



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.


Woodpecker

Friends working to help Ferris and her family; Zyia party on now, silent auction in works . . . Join Boulets in conversation on April 6

Ferris Backmeyer and her family remain in Vancouver, where they have been since late December.

Ferris, 4, underwent a kidney transplant on March 6, but it failed and the new kidney was removed shortly after having been implanted.

Ferris
Ferris Backmeyer, 4, continues to recover from a failed kidney transplant at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

Ferris and her mother, Lindsey, along with older sisters Ksenia and Tavia have been living in Vancouver. Pat, the husband and father, has been spending time in Vancouver and in their home in Kamloops where he also is going to school.

Needless to say the expenses are mounting. At the same time, the wheels are in motion to provide the Backmeyers with some financial help.

There is a GoFundMe page right here if you would like to make a donation.

As well, Desiree Janzen has started a Zyia party to benefit Ferris and her family.

Wanting to help, Janzen, a family friend, wrote on Facebook that “the best that I could come up with is hosting a Party in Ferris’s honour. 100% of my commissions made from this party will go back to the Backmeyer family to help aid them with travel and living costs while at Children’s Hospital.

“The rewards earned for the Party will go directly to them as well to hopefully give some light during this difficult time. My hope is to gain enough sales through this event that would make it a top level party that would allow me to give back the maximum amount to the family and earn the maximum amount of rewards for them as well. And this month, I’ve hit my bonus to receive an extra 8% commission, so that would be 28% commission on the party total going right back to the family.”

It’s party time until April 3, and the link to the party page is right here.

On top of that, Elizabeth Maki, another family friend, has gotten together with some folks and is working on a silent auction to run April 23-25 to benefit the Backmeyers.

“As many of you know,” Maki wrote, “our friend and colleague Lindsey Backmeyer is living out any parent’s worst nightmare. She is having to stay in Vancouver with no income, homeschooling her kids in a rental, to stay close to BC Children’s Hospital where her youngest is frequently admitted while they wait for a kidney transplant. Some friends are putting together a silent auction for her and are asking if anyone is able to donate anything to the cause . . . it would be unimaginably appreciated.”

“Please consider supporting our event by donating gift certificates, merchandise or services,” reads a brochure explaining the event. “In exchange, you will receive some excellent community exposure and advertising. Your company will be recognized and listed in the auction.

“If you are unable to donate, please consider helping to spread the word about our silent auction with your neighbours and networks. We will gladly pick up your donation, have it remain at your location for the winner to pick up, or it can be mailed to one of the addresses listed below. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.”

For more information or to donate, feel free to contact Kelsi Manson (125 Cavesson Way, Tobiano BC, V1S 0B3, hapitreasuresco@gmail.com, 250-574-9505) or Taunya Romano (1667 Hillcrest Ave., Kamloops BC, V2B 7P8, taunyam@live.ca, 250-571-8832).


Feel free to add Mary McVeetors to your list of heroes and heroines. Why? Because she has donated a kidney to a stranger last week in Edmonton. . . . “I’ve been so lucky with my health and with the hand that I’ve been dealt in my life,” she told CBC Radio, “and I think that so many people are so unlucky when it comes to that, and it’s not their fault. I just thought I could be a small part of the solution in the grander scale, but a massive part of the solution for one person.” . . . Her 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.


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

It was big year for BC Transplant . . . One year after getting kidney, Gillis advocates for dialysis patients . . . Lots of numbers on organ donation

Yes, 2020 was a big year for organ transplants in B.C.

Figures compiled and released by BC Transplant show that there were a record 55 lung transplants. As well, 33 people, including three children, underwent heart transplants.

When it came to livers, a record set in 2017 was matched with 80 transplants — 78 singles and two in combination with kidneys.

When it came to kidneys, there were 280 transplants, with 81 of those involving living donors.

“The success of organ transplant is a transformative feat of expertise, coordination and caring through the province, in every health authority,” Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister, said in a statement.”A total of 451 people in BC received a life-saving transplant in 2020. Today, there are 5,491 British Columbians alive thanks to the incredible generosity of organ donors.”

From a BC Transplant news release: “In 2020, 110 people donated organs after death, with their families making a selfless decision in a moment of grief to gift life to others. 81 living donors donated a kidney in 2020.”

As a new year began, more than 1.5 million people had registered a decision with the province’s Organ Donor Registry. At the same time, there were 737 people awaiting organ transplants.

——

One of those who received a kidney from a living donor is Stephen Gillis of Vancouver. In fact, Thursday was the first anniversary of the transplant that also involved donor Michael Teigen. . . . On Thursday, Gillis and Teigen got together at a Vancouver track and ran five km to celebrate the good times. . . . These days, Gillis is asking the B.C. government to prioritize dialysis patients for vaccinations against COVID-19. Gillis points out that these people “are very, very vulnerable,” what with having compromised immune systems and having to visit hospitals three or four times a week to under dialysis. . . . There’s more on Gillis and Teigen right here. . . . I would suggest that the B.C. government also should be prioritizing transplant patients such as Gillis. These people all take anti-rejection drugs that suppress their immune systems so that the new organs won’t be rejected. It should be a matter of utmost importance that they, too, be among the earliest to be vaccinated.


In a story written for the National Post, Emma Jones details the story of Marit McKenzie of Calgary, who took an interest in organ donation and later got her mother to co-sign an organ donor card. In 2013, Marit died suddenly and heart was donated to Tanner Fitzpatrick, 12, of Newfoundland. . . . “Organ donation continues to be a difficult decision for Canadians,” Jones writes, “where 90 per cent of the population support organ donation, yet only 23 per cent register as donors, reports Canadian Blood Services. The low number of donors can translate into deadly consequences for the more than 4,500 people waiting for an organ donation — 260 of whom will die each year, according to The Organ Project, a not-for-profit founded by Eugene Melnyk, the owner and chairman of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club. That’s about five deaths each week, or one death every 30 hours.” . . . Of those waiting for an organ, 76 per cent need a kidney, with 10 per cent awaiting a liver, six per cent lungs and four per cent a heart. . . . According to The Organ Project, the average kidney patient will wait four years for a new organ. . . . “Marit’s heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys were successfully transplanted in four separate surgeries, according to the David Foster Foundation,” Jones writes. “Her donated corneas gave two more patients sight, while bone tissue and tendons were preserved for future reconstructive surgeries.” . . . More from Jones: “The work of researchers, doctors and volunteers, as well as the selfless acts of living and deceased donors, is making a difference. In 2019, more than 3,000 transplants were performed from 1,434 donors, an increase from approximately 2,500 transplants from 1,212 donors in 2015, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The waiting list also appears to be shrinking, down to 4,527 in 2019 from 4,712 in 2015.” . . . Her 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.


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

Backmeyers looking for rental in Vancouver. Can you help? . . . Gillis remembers good news day . . . Checking in with Julie Dodds

FerrisPat
Ferris and Pat Backmeyer. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

In what seems like another life a long time ago, Pat Backmeyer entertained hockey fans in Kamloops as Digger, the Blazers’ mascot.

In his real life, he is the father of three young daughters, one of whom, Ferris, had kidney disease. Ferris is three (yes, Ferris, I know you soon will be four) and has been on one form of dialysis or another for a lot of her young life.

Of late, she has been having issues with peritoneal dialysis (PD) and will be heading to Vancouver and B.C. Children’s Hospital early in the new year so that she can be switched over to hemodialysis, at least for a while.

With so much uncertainty and in an attempt to make things easier, Pat and his wife, Lindsey, have decided to set up housekeeping in Vancouver for the foreseeable future.

With that in mind, Pat has turned to Facebook in the hopes of finding a rental accommodation.

“As most of you know,” he wrote, “my daughter Ferris has to go down to Vancouver to have a surgery to repair her abdomen. This unfortunately means switching her over to hemodialysis which is only able to be done at Children’s Hospital.

“So we had to make the decision to move the family down to Vancouver for a minimum of 3 months but could be potentially longer and even a chance of staying until she receives a kidney.

“There are a few places we have seen but the rent in Vancouver for a place that will fit our family is out of our budget. So I am putting a shout out to anyone who might have a friend or know someone who has a place to rent in Vancouver. There will be 5 of us down there. And we need it furnished, and hopefully close as possible to Children’s Hospital.”

This won’t be their first stint at B.C. Children’s Hospital and in the past they have stayed at Ronald McDonald House. But, as Pat pointed out, “Due to COVID they have strict quarantine procedures and due to me commuting back and forth from Kamloops for school it is unfortunately not a option.”

So . . . if you know someone who might have something that would fit the bill for the Backmeyers, contact me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com and I’ll pass along the information.


You may remember Stephen Gillis as the Vancouver minor hockey coach whose team mounted something of a campaign in the hopes of finding a live kidney donor who could help him.

MichaelGillisZach
Stephen Gillis (centre) with Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, together on March 11. Stephen’s team had just won a championship that they dedicated to Zach, a 17-year-old from Robson, B.C., who needs a kidney. (Photo: Stephen Gillis)

You also will remember that a friend, Michael Teigen, donated a kidney and that the surgery took place on Feb. 18. But Gillis also remembers one other important date.

Here’s Gillis in a Facebook post on Dec. 11:

“One year ago today, Michael Teigen and Denise Jones showed up to VGH while I was on dialysis to surprise me with our kidney transplant date.

Each day I awaken with endless gratitude for Michael’s selfless and heroic act. My second chance at a full life, COVID aside, has not been taken for granted.

“Almost 10 months post transplant, Michael is doing great and is currently filming another film (his 3rd post transplant), my bloodwork is near perfect and now my follow-ups have moved to every 2 months.

“From the beginning we have shared our story to help others. To raise awareness for organ donation & kidney disease, and to show it isn’t scary to share your health with someone. Rather it is a special gift.

“To all the healthcare professionals that assisted myself and Michael along our journey, THANK YOU. To Michael, endless thank you for eternity, I love you.

Thank you all for your support through it all, it did and still does mean the world.

Be kind. Be safe. Be like Mike.

#beadonor

#organdonation

#organdonorssavelives


Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV in Kamloops caught up with Julie Dodds on Thursday and provides an update right here. Julie underwent a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Oct. 28. The living donor was her younger brother, Jason. . . . Julie was back home in less than four weeks and now is preparing for a Merry Christmas with her husband and their three boys. . . . That story is right here.


Rochelle Corpuz of Kamloops was diagnosed with lupus 16 years ago, two years before she moved here from the Philippines. The autoimmune disease is hard on kidneys and Corpuz’s condition “has worsened and I have to face the reality of kidney failure in the very near future. We are talking months here,” she told Tereza Verenca of castanetkamloops.net. . . . Corpuz, 37, knows that the best scenario for her is to have a kidney transplant from a live donor, and to have that surgery before she is forced to go on dialysis. With that in mind, she has started the search for a living kidney donor. . . . There’s more on her story right here.



Vic2

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.

Morin’s search for kidney continues . . . It isn’t easy to ask someone for an organ

Vic2

More than a year ago, Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week did a story about Vic Morin of Kamloops.

At the time, it was 2019’s National Kidney Month and March 15 was World Kidney Day.

Morin was an appropriate subject because he had been living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) for some time.

VicColleen
Colleen Bruce and Vic Morin, at the Kamloops Kidney Support Group’s Christmas luncheon on Dec. 1. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

“Though Morin’s situation isn’t currently desperate,” Sullivan wrote, Morin and his wife, Colleen Bruce, “have been urged to start the process of finding a live donor as it can take some time to connect with a correct match.”

Well, here we are more than a year later and Morin’s situation is getting desperate. He is doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) now and a donor has yet to be found.

Someone doing PD has a catheter implanted into their peritoneal cavity and does dialysis at home. Morin hooks up to a cycler every night as he goes to bed and fluid exchanges that remove toxins take place via the catheter as he sleeps.

Dialysis, no matter whether it’s hemo or PD, really cuts into a person’s quality of life and a new kidney can make a lot of that go away.

But asking someone to hand over one of their kidneys isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. It’s not like asking a friend to loan you a baseball mitt for a game of slo-pitch.

As Morin told Sullivan: “It’s very awkward to go and try to ask someone to be a donor. That’s the hardest part.”

Neither Bruce nor a brother were deemed to be a match for Morin, so the search continues.

Bruce also has decided to get more aggressive with that search, so has designed the poster that accompanies this piece in the hopes that the right person sees it and chooses to register to be a live donor.

There is information below on how to go about registering for the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. The beauty of this program is that you wouldn’t have to be a match with Morin in order to help him. Rather, you are able to register and should you prove after testing to be an eligible donor you could donate a kidney to someone else on the provision that Morin gets one from an unknown donor who is a match.

For example, that’s how my wife, Dorothy, got a kidney almost seven years ago. She had been doing PD for four years. Her best friend had wanted to donate a kidney to her but wasn’t a match. Through the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s, she gave to someone else, while Dorothy received a kidney from a stranger.

If you are the least bit interested in being a donor, use the contact information listed here in order to learn all about it.

Should you choose to get in touch with the program at St. Paul’s, mention Louis Victor Morin.

——

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

Or, for more information, visit right here.

——

Six months ago, actor Michael Teigen gave one of his kidneys to friend Stephen Gillis, a Vancouver minor hockey coach who was diagnosed with kidney disease after having lived with Crohn’s disease. Gillis was doing hemodialysis when he underwent the transplant in December. . . . He is doing well, extremely well, but what about Teigen? Well, here he is . . .

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We’re Walking the Block on Sunday . . . Last chance to join Dorothy’s team . . . Grand Chief needs help

The Kidney Foundation of Canada, B.C. and Yukon Branch, is gearing up for its 2020 Kidney Walk — Walk the Block virtual celebration on Sunday.

The branch, along with those in Alberta and Saskatchewan, was forced by the pandemic to cancel all of its annual walks and now has put together a virtual walk.

In B.C., Sunday’s event starts at 10 a.m., with hosts Robin Gill, Stephen Gillis and Michael Teigen. Gill is an anchor for Global National, while Gillis is a recent kidney transplant recipient. Teigen was Gillis’s donor.


Stewart Phillip, the Okanagan National Alliance’s Grand Chief, has gone public with his need for a kidney. He outlined his situation in a news release, explaining: ”My kidneys no longer work well enough to keep me alive and continue my lifelong work and passion to advocate for Indigenous Title and Rights and the environment, and to do the things I enjoy most, like spending time with my wonderful wife Joan, our five children and 15 grandchildren, and being out on our territory. My treatment options are limited to dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant, which is why I am reaching out publicly now.” . . . There is more 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 Sunday’s ‘virtual’ walk. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . If you aren’t aware, she had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and this is her seventh straight year of supporting the Walk. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.

Keep on social distancing and washing your hands . . . let’s not surrender the ground we have gained!

Reminder

A dear friend of ours ventured into a large grocery store on Saturday. Considering the times in which we are living, he didn’t have a pleasant experience.

Afterwards, he wrote:

“Question: With 95 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., who is policing the social distancing in the retail sector? I was in a major outlet today. They were letting everyone in. No social distancing except at checkout. What the heck? This pandemic, in Kamloops especially, is going to get out of hand. Makes me want to hurl canned goods to protect my six feet.”

That drew this response from someone else:

“Relax . . . and try not to pay too much attention to the CBC or Global news. The numbers in the Interior are relatively tiny and frankly the possibility of you running into someone who is infected are somewhere between zilch and zero. Social distancing does absolutely nothing if no one is infected. If you’re that worried about it just stay home and have your groceries delivered.

“There are currently 150 cases in the entire Interior of which 90 are recovered. So if you spread those 60 people out over the entire interior including Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, etc. etc. And since they have tested positive it’s highly unlikely they’re out shopping.

“The grocery store I visited was doing the distance thing but because the checkout had small lineups that went back into the aisles because of the 6 ft rule it made keeping distant almost impossible if you wanted something in that aisle. They’re trying but really it’s becoming a bit much, worrying about how many feet away you are from the next person.”

These are the people who make we want to puke. They really do.

This person writes: “Social distancing does absolutely nothing if no one is infected.”

That’s exactly the point. We don’t know who is infected. We aren’t testing everyone, and there apparently are people walking around who have the virus and don’t know it. That is why we social distance, along with the fact that we don’t want people coughing or sneezing all over us.

The responder to our friend also wrote: “. . . the possibility of you running into someone who is infected are somewhere between zilch and zero.”

Look, when I buy a lottery ticket, I want to win. When it comes to this virus, that’s a lottery I don’t want to win, and the odds being “between zilch and zero” is still too high.

Look, social distancing works . . . social distancing and properly washing our hands. So let’s keep doing it so that we don’t piss away everything we’ve done to get to this point.

——

After this shopping trip, our friend also suggested: “What’s worrying me is people’s disregard for the rules and especially those wearing masks who waltz around the stores like they are indestructible.”

I have gotten to the stage where when I see someone wearing a mask I think: 1. Does that mean the person is infected?, and, 2. Is that person going to cough or sneeze?

So I try to steer clear of those people.

——

You will recall that Stephen Gillis, a Vancouver minor hockey coach, underwent a kidney transplant on Feb. 18.

This means that he, like so many transplant patients, has to take anti-rejection medications. These meds suppress a person’s immune system in order to keep his/her system from rejecting the organ that, after all, is a foreign object in a new setting.

Having a compromised immune system means one is much more susceptible to illness and infections than the average person.

And that’s why it is so frustrating to see the way some people carry on during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a couple of recent Facebook postings by Gillis . . .

“So did the restrictions change in BC or Vancouver? Cause there is currently 8 guys playing soccer, all beside each other, at the park near my house where I take my dog. . . . Hey A-holes, I haven’t been distancing and isolated for almost 40 days so on the first nice day you can play footy. . . . I won’t be surprised if there is another spike, because many people are acting like the pandemic is over.

“The amount of people who don’t keep their distance lately is insane. They’re all out strolling and walking right by me. Do I have to wear a sign or a scarlet letter to let them know I am immuno-suppressed and if I get COVID-19 I could very well die? I know people who have passed or had people passed. You call 311 and in very Vancouver fashion you get a msg that neither the city nor police will enforce it. Then what’s the point?”

My wife, Dorothy, received a kidney more than six years ago. She takes anti-rejection meds twice a day, so lives under the same conditions as does Stephen.

Dorothy hasn’t been in a grocery store in well over a month; you have no idea how hard this is on her because she loves to shop for groceries, which means browsing and taking her time. These days, we order groceries online and then we pick them up. If an item or two is unavailable, I will make a quick run into a small store, get what we need and get out.

Also, don’t forget that when restrictions are loosened and things start to open up again, Dorothy and Stephen — and thousands of others like them — will be among the last to leave their homes in search of some sense of a new normalcy.




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



All about washing your hands, suppressed immune systems and a Kidney Gala . . .


Have you ever wondered what life is like for a transplant recipient — be it heart, lung or kidney — living with a suppressed immune system? . . . “For transplant patients,” writes Blair Crawford of the Ottawa Citizen, “the fear of infection is a daily fact of life. They all take drugs to suppress their immune system to reduce the risk their new organ will be rejected. (Tina) Proulx’s life depends on the Purell hand sanitizer and Lysol and Clorox wipes that are now being swept off store shelves and stockpiled by panicked shoppers.” . . . Proulx has a double lung transplant in December 2015. . . . Crawford has written a terrific piece that explains it all, and it is right here.


The eighth annual Kidney Gala was held in Vancouver recently, and Fred Lee, who handles Fred Lee’s Social Network for the Vancouver Province, was one of the co-hosts.

Stephen Gillis, who 17 days earlier had undergone a kidney transplant, and Michael Teigen, who was Gillis’s donor, were on hand and received a stirring standing ovation.

For more on the Kidney Gala, including photos, click right here.

——

BTW, congrats to Stephen Gillis and his Vancouver Minor Atom A1 hockey team for their championship. They won the PCAHA Presidents Series title earlier in the week.

If you have been following Gillis’s story over the past year you know just how much this hockey team means to him.

Here’s a bit of what Gillis posted on Facebook:

“Thank you to our friends at Burnaby Winter Club for a spirited series. You’re a team of class and sportsmanship and it has been great to play you all year. Thank you for your team’s kindness and support during my health journey.

“So proud of our squad. On and off the ice they gave 110% and would never quit. This was a special team. Excited to see the great things these kids achieve. Stay relentless.

“Thank you to my amazing parent group for an outstanding season. It was a privilege to coach this team and you all jumped on board with my plan. I am so grateful for your support of the team, our culture and mission, and the constant support, kindness, and generosity you have shown me throughout my health issues. Truly, thank you.

“We dedicated tonight’s victory to young Zachary Tremblay and his mother Jana. Zach has become a hero to our team. At 16, he is currently on dialysis and is in need of a kidney donor (O negative or positive blood). We want to help Zach’s message and find him a heroic donor. Please spread the word and let’s find Zach a donor.”

——

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


Harry Bryant, a grandfather who lives in Vernon, B.C., has turned to Facebook in an attempt to find a living kidney donor. If you’re on Facebook, you are able to check out his page — Grandpa Needs a Kidney. . . . Caitlin Clow of the Vernon Morning Star recently did a story on Bryant, and it’s all right here.





The kidney experience, according to Coyle . . . Zach makes more friends during Vancouver stay . . . Michael Teigen: Actor, comedian and kidney donor

Michael Coyle, a volunteer with Coquitlam Search and Rescue, was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and later went public with his need to find a kidney donor.

So . . . what’s it like to find out that you have kidney disease? What goes through your mind when the medical staff suggests that you turn to the public in an attempt to find a donor? And what happens when you get THE call, informing you that a donor has been found?

Coyle took to Facebook to explain all of this to his friends, and you are able to read it all right here.

If you are being impacted by kidney disease, I cannot recommend this enough.


Green
Travis Green, the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, took some time to visit with Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, on Friday. The Canucks entertained the Colorado Avalanche that evening. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, remain in Vancouver where they are staying at Ronald McDonald House. From Robson, B.C., they have been in the city since the first week of January and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to their stay.

Zach, 16, began his stay at B.C. Children’s Hospital, where he was transitioned from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis. The closest hospital to Robson that is equipped to do hemp is in Trail, and there isn’t a dialysis chair open at this point in time.

Boeser
Zach Tremblay is all smiles after Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks presented him with an autographed sweater on Friday. Below, the Tremblays spent some time in front of the CTV cameras earlier Thursday. Watch for them on TV on World Kidney Day, March 16.  (Photos: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

In the meantime, Zach and his mother are making the best of their time in Vancouver.

On Friday, Jana posted on Facebook about their latest adventure:

“So a week or so ago, a former Castlegarite, Anita, messaged me and asked if Zach and I would like a tour of CTV, and to watch her husband Jason, who is one of the hosts of CTV Morning Live, tape the show and have a tour after. We were thrilled to go watch. Jason then offered to interview Zach and I and feature Zach’s story on World Kidney Day, March 16th!

“Jason also arranged for us to attend today’s Vancouver Canucks’ practice, which was so much more! We got to watch them practice, go down below into the change room . . . met Brock Boeser, who gifted Zach with an autographed jersey! We met Elias Pettersson and Zach got his jersey signed, and Zach MacEwen. Bo Horvat came over and said hello again and asked how Zach was doing. It was all very exciting!

 

“We also got to tour the retired jerseys and CTV 2player sticks area. We got to attend the press conference and watch (head coach) Travis Green address the media. Travis also came out and met with us — a thrill of a lifetime for us both!!

“Huge thanks to Anita, Jason and the Canucks organization for an amazing day filled with incredible memories.”

Green is from Castlegar, which is across the Columbia River from Robson. When he was a mere youngster, Jana actually babysat Green and his younger brother, David, on occasion.

After returning to Ronald McDonald House, Zach and Jana discovered they had won tickets to that evening’s game. So they were in the stands, no doubt cheering loudly, as the Canucks beat the Avalanche, 6-3.

Pettersson
Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks stops to chat with Zach Tremblay in the NHL’s team’s dressing room on Thursday afternoon. Zach is wearing a Pettersson replica sweater, which he got autographed. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

Zach16


It was Wednesday evening and I was watching the Vancouver Canucks playing against the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

The game went to a commercial break during the second period and one of the spots was for Pacific Blue Cross travel insurance. I’m not a great commercial watcher but, dang, that guy’s face looked familiar.

In fact, I was so sure that it was Michael Teigen that I sent an inquiring note to Stephen Gillis, who has had one of Michael’s kidney’s in the lower right quadrant of his torso for more than two weeks now.

Sure enough, my eyes hadn’t deceived me.

As Stephen responded: “He is an actor, improviser and comedian. Been in commercials and movies you probably saw but never knew.”

Well, I will be watching for him now.





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