Stephen Gillis: ‘The kidney is working perfectly’ . . . Teigen, live donor, ‘doing very well’

If you are a regular here, you know that we have been following Stephen Gillis, a Vancouver minor hockey coach, for the past few weeks.

He went through his final hemo-dialysis treatment on Monday and underwent a kidney transplant on Tuesday at Vancouver General Hospital, his good friend Michael Teigen giving up one of his kidneys.

Gillis updated us with a Wednesday evening post on Facebook:

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Stephen Gillis: “Michael and I see each other for the first time post-transplant.” (Photo: Stephen Gillis/Facebook)

“The transplant was beyond successful. The kidney is working perfectly. For my first steps with three kidneys I went to see my hero, Michael, and thank him. He is doing very well and will hopefully go home in the next day or so.

“I will be monitored till the weekend in hospital then home for more recovery. Had an ultrasound (Wednesday) afternoon where I saw the kidney inside me. The human body and what we can do with it is absolutely amazing.

“I can’t believe this all happened and I am beyond grateful to Michael, Dr. Dave the surgeon and his staff, VGH transplant floor nursing staff, VGH Nephrology team, and all of you for your endless support.

“Thankful that my love Dany has never left my side through all of this, and my best friend since we were kids, Keith, made it all the way from Cape Breton to be here for me. Thankful that Michael’s beautiful partner Denise and their best friend (who filled out the donor application), Diana, could be here to support him and be by his side. I feel we are all so lucky. Thank you!”

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Stephen Gillis: “I see my new kidney, from Michael, for the first time during an ultrasound. It is working perfectly!” (Photo: Stephen Gillis/Facebook)

Yes, Gillis now has three kidneys in his body. As he added to his post in response to a query: “They leave the failed ones dormant and just add the new one. It lives in my left pelvis.”

In a response to that, another transplant recipient wrote: “You have three kidneys for now but after transplant your native kidneys shrink and shrivel up. You can’t even see mine on ultrasound anymore!”

My wife, Dorothy, was born with one kidney, although we didn’t find that out until 1981. When that discovery was made, we also learned that her one kidney was malformed and was losing efficiency. When she had her transplant on Sept. 23, 2019, the deformed kidney was left in place, on the left side of her torso, with the new one going in on the right side.

Gillis’s new kidney, which used to belong to Teigen, also went in on the right side.

Gillis, Teigen ready for Kidney Relocation Day

Stephen Gillis and Michael Teigen are scheduled for surgery at Vancouver General Hospital today (Tuesday). This will be the first surgical experience of Teigen’s life as he gives a kidney to Gillis.

The two men appeared on Global TV news on Sunday, and that piece is right here.

On Monday, CTV Vancouver was on hand as Gillis went through his final dialysis treatment before undergoing the transplant. That piece is right here.

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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

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, www.register.transplant.bc.ca.

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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?

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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.”

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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



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.


KKSG has two gatherings on tap . . . Gillis to take “short” coaching break to get kidney transplant

The Kidney Foundation of Canada reports that 850 million people worldwide, including four million Canadians, are estimated to be living with chronic kidney disease.

If you are someone who has been impacted by kidney disease, the Kamloops Kidney Support Group is here for you. We meet on the second Saturday and the second Wednesday of every month. We will gather on Saturday, Feb. 8, 9 a.m., and Wednesday, Feb. 12, 10 a.m., at Chances (Barside Lounge and Grill), 1250 Halston Ave.

There isn’t anything formal about KKSG. We have breakfast and talk about life and kidneys. You won’t get any medical advice, but we will 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.


Stephen Gillis’s big day is almost here.

Gillis is the Vancouver minor hockey coach who was in the headlines when his peewee team mounted a campaign, including a video that went viral, in an attempt to find him a kidney.

On Feb. 18, Gillis is to get a kidney from long-time friend Michael Teigen, who saw the video, offered to donate and was proved to be a match.

At the time Gillis, 39, got his surgery date, he wrote on Instagram: “Eighteen has always been my favourite number. It was my jersey number as a kid and now it’s my transplant date!”

Last weekend, as Gillis and his team wrapped up their regular season, he discovered another surprise.

As he wrote on Facebook:

“I was taken back and surprised to find our team, as well as the other Vancouver Minor Hockey Association Atom rep and Peewee rep teams, have placed stickers (made by our amazing manager, Tara Rodas) on their helmets that feature a kidney and No. 18 (my old jersey number) in support of my upcoming kidney transplant. Even our opponents and friends at Burnaby Winter Club added them to their helmets for (Sunday’s) game. I am humbled, honoured, and very touched by this beautiful gesture by my team, our parent group, all the other teams and my association.

“I am receiving a kidney thanks to the efforts of last year’s amazing team and parent group, and my current outstanding team and parent group have been such an amazing support system throughout this year, keeping my spirits high with their endless support. I am so thankful and grateful for my hockey family and their unwavering support, without them I truly may not be here.”

Gillis and his team are scheduled to play this weekend in an outdoor tournament — the Apex Winter Classic in Hedley, B.C.

“We then prepare for the playoffs,” he wrote, “with a short break for a transplant. Let’s go squad!”






Gillis: We “are so inspired by Zach’s heroic spirit” . . . Team to play final two games in Zach’s honour

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Stephen Gillis, a Vancouver minor hockey coach who is scheduled for a kidney transplant this month, and some team members visit with Zach Tremblay in Vancouver’s Ronald McDonald House on Friday. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

You may be familiar with the story of Stephen Gillis, a minor hockey coach in Vancouver who has kidney disease.

Gillis is scheduled to undergo a kidney transplant at some point this month, with a friend, Michael Teigen, as the donor. (Their story is right here.)

On Friday, Gillis and some players and parents from his team — an Atom A1 team from the Vancouver Minor Hockey Association — were at Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver to visit Zach Tremblay, the 16-year-old from Robson, B.C., who is in need of a kidney transplant.

The team brought a few gifts for Zach, and Gillis also announced that the team is playing its final two regular-season games this weekend in Zach’s honour. Zach and his mother, Jana, planned to attend both games.

Later, Gillis posted on Facebook:

”Like myself, Zach is an O Negative blood type and is need of a kidney donation. Born with kidney issues and not supposed to make it past the age of two, this warrior is now 16 years old! However, in order to clean his blood Zach has been on PD (peritoneal) dialysis since he was 10 and recently started hemodialysis, like I do, three times a week.

“At 16, this is the last thing Zach and his family should have to go through after being through so much. We need to find him a kidney donor, through paired exchange or direct match, and NEED YOUR HELP! Please share this post and Zach’s story with your network.

“To get tested to be a donor for Zach, contact the St. Paul’s Living Donor program (1-877-955-1755, email donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca).

“I am so grateful to have found a heroic donor in Michael, and for all your help in making it happen. Let’s send that same energy to Zach and his family and find him a donor! You’re a warrior Zach, never give up!!!

Many thanks to Real Hip Clothing and freshii on Granville for providing some gifts for Zach.”

After Friday’s visit was over, Gillis told Jana Tremblay, via Facebook, that “our players, parents, and myself are so inspired by Zach’s heroic spirit on his journey. His ‘never give up attitude’ is what our players strive for and he exemplifies it daily. What an amazing young man!

“Zach is a true hero and we are going to continue to do what we can to help him find a light at the end of this long road.”

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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



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. . . .

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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 canadiens.com 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.



Chiefs complete sweep in Everett. . . . Myskiw helps Oil Kings to 2-0 lead. . . . Raiders come back to beat Blades, again


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Yes, we spent the weekend recognizing Green Shirt Day(s).

Dorothy, who had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, had her t-shirt on Sunday as we made a trek into the city to do a bit of shopping.

One local highlight of the weekend came from the Kamloops Home Show where Tony Maidment, who went through a liver transplant a couple of years ago, was among those front and centre at a booth promoting organ donation. How’d they do? They had more than 100 new donors sign up.

The highlight of the day, though, came earlier. If only you could have heard the emotion in Dorothy’s voice when she watched the video that is included in this tweet (if you aren’t away of Stephen Gillis’s story, Google is your friend) . . . Watching the video will give you a real feel for the emotion involved in organ transplantation.


It seems there was an error — a rather large one, at that — in a piece here the other day about ticket prices for the 2020 World Junior Championship.

It seems that I should have divided this by that, instead of that by this, before multiplying. As a result, I had the price of a ticket for gold-medal game at Cdn$12, instead of about $26.

Hey, I’m a writer, not a mathematician, and I fly without a copy editor. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Still, Cdn$26 for the gold-medal game would seem to be a good deal. BTW, tickets for quarter-final and semifinal games will set you back about $17 apiece.

The 2020 WJC is to be held in Ostrava and Trinec from Dec. 26, 2019, through Jan. 5, 2020.

(A tip of the Taking Note fedora to the reader who emailed to point out the error. Much appreciated.)



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NOTES: As the weekend came to a close, all four WHL second-round playoff series were at 2-0. Three home teams — the Edmonton Oil Kings, Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Giants — held serve, while the Spokane Chiefs went on the road and won twice. . . . There are 12 second-round series underway in the CHL right now, and all but one are 2-0. The exception is in the QMJHL where the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Rimouski Oceanic are 1-1. . . .

The WHL playoffs take a break today after featuring three games on Sunday. Action is to resume with three games on Tuesday. . . .

The Oil Kings posted a 4-1 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen to take a 2-0 lead in that series. They’ll resume hostilities in Calgary on Tuesday. . . .

The Chiefs scored a 3-1 victory over the Silvertips in Everett, taking a 2-0 lead in that series. With Cirque de Soleil in Everett’s home arena later this week, the next three games, if needed, will be played in Spokane, starting on Wednesday night. . . .

In Prince Albert, the Raiders erased a 2-0 deficit with three quick goals and went on to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 3-2. That series will resume in Saskatoon on Tuesday with the Raiders ahead, 2-0.

The fourth series, with the Giants holding a 2-0 lead over the Victoria Royals, will continue on Vancouver Island on Tuesday night.

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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Bailey Brkin blocked 30 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 3-1 victory over the SpokaneChiefsSilvertips in Everett. . . . The Chiefs, who posted a 6-3 victory in Everett on Saturday, lead the series, 2-0, with Game 3 in Spokane on Wednesday. . . . Last night, D Wyatt Wylie (1) gave Everett the lead at 16:01 of the first period. . . . Spokane tied it on a goal by F Jake McGrew (1) at 18:01. . . . F Eli Zummack (3) broke the tie, on a PP, at 16:56 of the second period. . . . The Chiefs iced it on an empty-netter by F Luc Smith (4), at 19:28 of the third period. . . . Spokane was 1-2 on the PP; Everett was 0-3. . . . Everett had a 31-17 edge in shots, including 14-5 in the third period. . . . Brkin is 6-1, 2.50, .926 in these playoffs. This comes on the heels of a regular season in which he went 27-11-3, 2.75, .914. . . . G Dustin Wolf stopped 14 shots for Everett. . . . F Dawson Butt, who left Game 1 with an undisclosed injury, was among Everett’s scratches.


G Dylan Myskiw stopped 26 shots to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 4-1 victory over EdmontonOilKingsthe Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton, which had won 3-2 in OT at home on Saturday, holds a 2-0 lead. Game 3 is set for Tuesday night in Calgary. . . . Last night, the Oil Kings skated to a 2-0 lead on goals from F Quinn Benjafield (3), at 9:22 of the first period, and F Liam Keeler (2), at 3:05 of the second. . . . F Carson Focht (5) got Calgary to within a goal, on a PP, at 10:31. . . . D Matthew Robertson (2) got that one back for Edmonton at 18:19. . . . F David Kope (1) got Edmonton’s fourth goal, on a PP, at 15:46. . . . Edmonton was 1-7 on the PP; Calgary was 1-2. . . . The Hitmen got 35 saves from G Jack McNaughton.


The Prince Albert Raiders scored three times in two minutes 40 seconds to erase a 2-0 PrinceAlbertdeficit and beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades, 3-2. . . . The Raiders lead the series, 2-0. It will resume with Game 3 in Saskatoon on Tuesday night. . . . Game 3 will be televised by Sportsnet. . . . Last night, Saskatoon took a 1-0 lead on a goal by F Kirby Dach (4) at 8:56 of the first period. Dach’s goal was of the highlight-reel variety; it also was his first goal against the Raiders in 18 combined regular-season and playoff games. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-0 at 4:35 of the second period when F Eric Florchuk (1) scored, on a PP. . . . Raiders D Zack Hayes (1) got the fans back into it with a goal at 19:31 of the second period. The goal came just as Saskatoon F Riley McKay was stepping onto the ice after serving an elbowing minor. . . . The Raiders tied the score, 2-2, when F Dante Hannoun (3) scored at 1:34 of the third period, and F Sean Montgomery (5) gave the home boys their first lead, on a PP, at 2:11. That goal came just nine seconds into the PP. . . . The Blades had a pair of great scoring chances later in the game, but F Ryan Hughes drilled a post on a PP, and F Max Gerlach, off a great pass from Dach, shot just wide from off the left post with about 30 seconds remaining in the game. . . . Saskatoon was 1-4 on the PP; Prince Albert was 1-5. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 24 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Blades got 29 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . The Blades scratched D Reece Harsch with an undisclosed injury. That allowed D Majid Kaddoura to get into his first career WHL playoff game. . . .

Here’s Prince Albert head coach Marc Habscheid signalling that his run with the Raiders is almost over. He is expected to be named head coach of the WHL’s diving team later this week. . . . Actually, he is offering up his reaction to the game’s first PP-producing penalty, a tripping minor to Raiders F Dante Hannoun at 6:52 of the first period . . .


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