KPD transplants remain on hold . . . Waitt! He was going to donate to ex-wife’s husband, but . . .

According to Canadian Blood Services (CBS), all kidney donations through the Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program have been on hold since March 16, and will continue that way for an indefinite period.

CBS provided some information regarding the COVID-19 situation on Wednesday in a news release headlined: A statement from the Canadian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Community . . .

The statement begins:

“In the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, administrative and medical leads of the organ donation and transplantation community across Canada are meeting regularly to collaboratively develop recommendations that can be used by provincial organ donation organizations and regional transplant and donation programs to guide the administration of organ and tissue donation and transplantation services.”

It continues with:

“The pressure COVID-19 is putting on Canadian hospitals is affecting organ and tissue donation and transplantation. While non-essential surgeries are paused, urgent and lifesaving organ and tissue donation and transplantation is proceeding on a case-by-case basis, and in collaboration with provincial and hospital administrators. It is expected that decisions about whether to proceed with donation or transplantation may differ from one jurisdiction to another.

“All living donation and transplant surgeries related to the Kidney Paired Donation program have been postponed for a minimum of six weeks, effective Monday, March 16. Surgeries will be rescheduled once there is consensus that it is safe to do so for both donors and recipients. In a number of jurisdictions eye and tissue donation has also been reduced or suspended. Measures are in place to ensure patients who need tissue grafts for emergency surgery will receive them.”

If you would like to see the complete statement, it’s right here.


Barry Waitt of Whitehorse was going to donate a kidney to his ex-wife’s husband. But then hisC ex-wife was declared healthy enough to donate herself, so that’s the way it went. Barry had gone through the entire process so he then decided to go ahead and donate a kidney anyway. That’s what happened on Nov. 13. . . . But there’s a whole lot more to his story and he writes about it all right here. After reading Barry’s story, I have to wonder if there isn’t a TV sitcom in there somewhere.


Scott Kidd is the West Coast scouting supervisor for the Oakland A’s. On Dec. 19, he thought he had the flu. A few days later, he was on life support, in need of a heart and one kidney. On Jan. 15, he got both. . . . Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has his story right here.




Welcome back! Zach and his mother finally are home . . . Green Shirt Day moves online

ZachHome
Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, were riding high on Saturday as they headed home for the first time in almost three months. (Photo: Jana Tremblay/Facebook)

There was some good kidney news on Saturday as Zach Tremblay and his mother, Jana, headed home to Robson, B.C., after spending almost three months in Vancouver.

Zach, who turned 17 while they were living at Ronald McDonald House, was transitioned from peritoneal dialysis (PD) to hemodialysis while in Vancouver.

Zach had been doing PD at home in Robson, which is across the Columbia River from Castlegar. However, as 2019 wound down there were some issues and his medical team decided that PD was losing its efficiency. So they changed him over to hemo.

Unable to do hemo at home in Robson meant that he would have to travel to Trail and the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital there. However, the unit there wasn’t able to free up room until now. Zach will be travelling three times a week to Trail for hemo, with his first run on Tuesday.

Jana announced their departure via Facebook:

“So this is happening!! Homeward bound with Dad!! Trail is ready for Zach so we are home to stay for now. Thank you all for your love and support over the past few months.

“We appreciate each and everyone of you.”

Now . . . if only we can find a kidney for Zach.

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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





Tri-City goaltender strikes up friendship with youngster with one kidney . . . Ayres’ tour stops in Calgary and Saskatoon

The 2020 Kidney Walk Kamloops is scheduled for Sept. 20 at McDonald Park. My wife, Dorothy, will be three days away from the seventh anniversary of her kidney transplant, as she takes part for a seventh straight year. . . . BTW, she is one of the event’s organizers, and she also is a co-founder of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group. . . . She would never tell you this, but I will — she has been the biggest individual fund-raiser in Kamloops for each of the past six years. . . . If you would like to support her in the 2020 Kidney Walk, you are able to do so right here.


Carson Moore is a huge fan of the Tri-City Americans. He also is a six-year-old who was tri-cityborn with one kidney. According to his mother, Kelli, doctors feel that Carson could need dialysis by the time he reaches puberty and, at some point, he will need a transplant. . . . For now, though, he has a new friend in Talyn Boyko, the Americans’ sophomore goaltender. . . . Their relationship began before Boyko was aware of Carson’s health issues, with the player handing over an autographed stick at one point. Later, Boyko got a note from Kelli telling him about Carson’s situation and just how much the gesture meant to the Moore family. . . . “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t in tears. It was really special for me to read that,” Boyko told sportscaster Cooper Perkins, who has done up a terrific piece on the relationship that has grown between Moore and Boyko. . . . Check it out right here.


David Ayres was in Calgary on Friday, along with Toby Boulet, as the promotional buildup began for the second annual Green Shirt Day on April 7. This all is in honour of Toby’s son, Logan, who was a victim of the bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos almost two years ago. . . . Ayres, of course, was the EBUG who played some goal for the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 22 in a 6-3 victory over the host Toronto Maple Leafs. Ayres had a kidney transplant in 2004, with his mother serving as his donor. . . . Logan Boulet had registered as an organ donor prior to losing his life in the bus crash; his organs went to eight different people. . . . Jason Herring of the Calgary Herald has more right here.

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Later Friday, David Ayres’ tour took him to Saskatoon where he did some organ donor promotion at the Blades’ game that evening and was at the Saskatoon Rush’s lacrosse game on Saturday night. . . . Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, one of Canada’s top wordsmiths, caught up with Ayres and wrote this piece 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

If you haven’t already, prepare to fall in love with Ferris . . . BC Transplant releases statistics from 2019

I have written here before about Ferris Backmeyer, a three-year-old from Kamloops who continues to do peritoneal dialysis as she and her family wait and hope that a kidney transplant is in her future.

If things continue to progress, Ferris’s name will go on the deceased donor list at some point in March.

In the meantime, Jill Sperling of CFJC-TV in Kamloops did a story on Ferris that appeared on Thursday newcasts. It’s all right here. But a few words of warning . . . if you haven’t watched anything on Ferris prior to now be prepared to fall in love.


CBC News posted a story by Carolyn Ray on Wednesday and part of it absolutely blew me away.

“Doctors in Nova Scotia have discovered many families are refusing to allow a loved one in a traumatic situation to donate their organs, even if the patient has signed their donation card,” Ray wrote.

She continued: “Dr. Rob Green, the provincial medical director for Nova Scotia’s trauma program, worked on three studies looking at trauma patients and donation rates between 2009 and 2016. He looked at patients who were identified as potential donors but didn’t donate. He said he was shocked to discover that nearly 50 per cent — 28 out of 60 cases — were because the family refused to go forward.”

Dr. Green told Ray: “I didn’t expect that at all. Some of these patients signed their driver’s licence, saying they wanted to be an organ donor, and their family did not respect their wishes.”

Ray’s complete story is right here.

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Nova Scotia’s organ donation program is called Legacy of Life; its medical director is Dr. Stephen Beed.

Toby Boulet and his wife, Bernadine, lost their son, Logan, in the crash of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus almost two years ago. Logan had registered as an organ donor shortly before the crash, and eight of his organs were harvested. Since then, the Logan Boulet Effect has become a real movement with Toby and Bernadine become advocates for organ donation.

Toby, via Twitter, offered this:

“Dr. Beed was with Logan and our family throughout the most difficult time of our lives. His work in both NS and SK is amazing and families need to support the organ donor wishes of a family member. Families need to TALK — not just register!”

At the same time, the Green Shirt Day account on Twitter added:

“Both Green and Beed want more families to talk openly about their wishes as much as possible. Green said if they make it clear in advance, it helps a family cope during an emotional time.”


KidneyStats

As of Jan. 31, according to BC Transplant, there were 1,523,663 donors registered with the B.C. Organ Donor Registry.

In January 2020, there were 55 organ transplants performed in B.C., with 32 of those involving kidneys — 23 from deceased donors and nine from living donors.

As of Jan. 31, there were 777 people in the province waiting for organ donations with 619 of those needing kidneys.

At the same time, there were 5,221 patients in the province who were being followed post-transplant. All told, 3,500 of those patients have had kidney transplants.

More numbers from 2019, all from BC Transplant:

There were 480 lives saved, down from 502 in 2018.

Surgeons completed 331 kidney transplants, down from 339 in 2018, with 120 involving living donors and 117 from deceased donors.

As well, in 2019 there were 68 liver transplants (77 in 2018), 46 lung transplants (50) and 31 heart transplants (28).

According to BC Transplant, as of Dec. 31, there were 5,182 British Columbians alive because of organ transplants.

BC Transplant has issued a news release detailing all of this and more, and it’s all right here.


Aimee and Kevin Hatcher of Brandon, Man., are determined that their son Luke, who died at the age of 12, will be remembered. With that in mind, they are starting what they call the Green Heart Project. . . . As Riley Laychuk of CBC News writes: “While (Aimee) doesn’t know what her end goal is yet, Hatcher said she envisions a foundation focused on raising awareness about organ donation and supporting families who are faced with tough decisions.” . . . Luke died in December following an accident in the basement of the family’s home. According to Aimee, Luke’s kidneys, lungs, liver and pancreas all were transplanted. . . . Laychuk’s story is right here.




Got a car you would like to donate to a good cause? . . . B.C. Children’s Hospital has reason to celebrate

Are you aware that you can donate your car, truck or boat to benefit people in Canada who are living with kidney disease?

Seriously. You are able to do that.

From kidney.ca: “We take vehicles of any age or condition! Vehicles donated to Kidney Car can be recycled or sold, depending on the region. If you have an old, broken down vehicle in your driveway or garage that you need to get rid of, call Kidney Car today!”

As it says on the site, “You’ll get a FREE tow, tax receipt and the great feeling that you’ve helped the environment and people living with kidney disease across Canada.”

If you are interested, check right here to see if the program is available in your area. If you are wanting more information, it’s all available right here, including an online donation form.


Say “hello” to Jeremy Wikkerink, the recipient of the 300th kidney transplant at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Jeremy, 5, is from Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island and had been doing dialysis for as much as 12 hours per day before the transplant.




Alberta, P.E.I. talking presumed consent . . . Jelly Roll playing the blues, but not singing them

Toby Boulet, whose son, Logan, was killed in the crash of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus, has spoken out about the bill before the Alberta legislature that will permit organ donation unless a person has opted out of the process. . . . Boulet told Bob Weber of The Canadian Press that “there’s way more that needs to be added to the bill.” . . . Logan Boulet’s organs were harvested after his death and six people benefited from them. That turned into a huge story and thousands of people subsequently registered for organ donation, a phenomenon now recognized as the Logan Boulet Effect. . . . Toby and his wife, Bernadine, now speak frequently on organ donation. . . . According to Weber, Toby told him that the bill’s biggest failing is that it can’t address attitudes. “It’s pretty hard, in my opinion, to tell Albertans to do anything,” Boulet told Weber. “Albertans do the right thing. But if you tell them what to do, they don’t do the right thing. If you tell someone you’re going to have presumed consent in a law, that’s not going to go over very well.” . . . Boulet also pointed out that there will be a need to have “surgical teams that are dedicated and ready to go at a moment’s notice. We only have that in Calgary and Edmonton.” . . . Weber’s complete story is right here.

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On Tuesday, Prince Edward Island moved closer to a system of presumed consent for organ donation, something that is expected to become law in Nova Scotia sometime in 2020. . . . In P.E.I., legislators on Tuesday passed a motion under which a committee “will reconsider the province’s rules concerning organ donation,” reported Kevin Yarr of CBC News. . . . His story is right here.


His name is Kirk Johnson, but he is better known as Jelly Roll Johnson, a top-of-the-line harmonica player. According to Jessica Bliss of the Nashville Tennessean: “He played harmonica on more than 50 gold and platinum albums, including three Grammy-winners by Randy Travis. He appeared on the Late Show, the Tonight Show, the CMA Awards show.” . . . One other thing — he dealt with PKD (polycystic kidney disease) for all of that time, knowing that it had killed his father and at least three other relatives had it. No, he didn’t miss any gigs and he often played at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe while undergoing dialysis. . . . Eventually, he went through a liver and kidney transplant. . . . His story, as written by Bliss, is right here and it’s well worth a read.


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Ian Furness, a sportscaster with Sports Radio KJR in Seattle, knows of what he tweets. His son, Kiefer, a high school student and an athlete, has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.




Ready to go Kidney Walking in Kamloops. . . . Pearlman, Valdez talk about transplant. . . . Mother wants to make late son proud, donates kidney

Almost all is in readiness for Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk.

We will gather on Sunday at McDonald Park on the North Shore, with registration at 10 a.m., and the walk to begin at 11.

Edna Humphreys is the executive director of the Kamloops branch of the Kidney KWlogo2Foundation. I can tell you from experience that without her leadership and organizational skills, the Kidney Walk would experience some difficult times.

(It’s also worth noting that if it’s a renal-related activity in Kamloops, you can bet that Humphreys is in the forefront. Among other things, she is a co-founder of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group, and also is the lead organizer of a Christmas luncheon for dialysis patients and transplant recipients. With music by old friend Jesse Jones. Yessss!)

Anyway . . . Humphreys recently took time out from her busy schedule to talk with Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week about the 2019 Kidney Walk.

That story is right here.


One of my favourite renal-related stories involves a woman named Catherine Pearlman, who walked into a Los Angeles-area Starbucks on Dec. 30, saw a poster on a bulletin board, and decided that very moment to become a kidney donor. . . . The result was that Eli Valdez, a complete stranger, received one of her kidneys. . . . They told their story to today.com, and it’s all right here.

If you missed it earlier, Pearlman wrote about her experience for the Los Angeles Times, and that piece is right here.

Catherine’s husband, Jeff Pearlman, is a writer and published author. He wrote on his blog about what all of this meant to him. Here’s how he started it:

“It’s 10:15 am, and as I write this my wife Catherine is in surgery here at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center — donating one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.

“You read that correctly, but I recommend reading it again. My wife Catherine is in surgery donating one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.”

The complete piece is right here.

BTW, if you are a sporting fan and haven’t read Jeff’s book, Football for a Buck, you’re cheating yourself. It’s all about the USFL — remember that league? — and is loaded with especially juicy anecdotes, including some involving, yes, Donald Trump.


Laura Gillum’s son, Dean, was 23 months old when he drowned in the family’s backyard pool in the Pittsburgh area in 2015. His heart, lover and kidneys were donated.

“My son was amazing,” she told Lisa Washington of KDKA-TV. “At 23 months old, he saved three people’s lives. Not many people can say that, and even though he’s gone, I try every day to do something to make him proud of me.”

On March 7, Lisa donated a kidney to Brian Cox, a complete stranger. They met early in April.

“I just can’t comprehend why someone wouldn’t want to donate their kidney, so hopefully getting the message out, more people will want to do it and that they’ll want to educate themselves to find out just what everything entails,” Gillum said.

Washington’s complete story is right here.