Kamloops man turns to TAP as search for kidney donor continues . . . Morin exploring all avenues in hopes of having success

Vic Morin of Kamloops has become a friend through his participation in the Kamloops Kidney Support Group. My wife, Dorothy, is a co-founder of the group.

Vic needs a kidney and has needed one for a while now. These days, he is doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) at home and also undergoes hemodialysis once each week.

If you are a Kamloops resident or perhaps a visitor to the city, you may have seen Vic in his vehicle with the decal in the back window.

Vic1
Should you happen to encounter Vic Morin in your travels around Kamloops, stop and chat with him. Who knows . . . you might end up giving him a kidney.

That decal has resulted in a handful of inquiries, but nothing that has turned into a living kidney donor.

Now Vic and his wife, Colleen, have turned to the latest thing — Transplant Ambassador Program (TAP) — in trying to find a donor. TAP has a website that includes a section titled Patients Seeking Donors. If you are looking for a donor, you are able to visit the site to post a photo and something of a biography explaining your situation. And that’s exactly what Colleen and Vic have done.

“Here’s our latest plea for a kidney for Vic,” Colleen wrote on Facebook. “If you’ve ever considered being a donor, please consider Vic and his situation.

“We have been struggling with this for years now and unfortunately haven’t found a compatible match for a donor. We are pleading from the bottom of our hearts to please consider being a donor for Vic as we are in desperate need of a kidney!!

“We also would greatly appreciate it if you would share/forward our plea.

“Thank you everyone for your help in finding a kidney for my best friend, my partner and my true love.”

If you click right here, it will take you to Patients Seeking Donors and you will be able to read Vic’s entry.



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

BC Transplant has numbers for first-half of 2022 . . . New way to search for living kidney donor . . .

BCTransplantJune22

Medical teams in British Columbia completed 217 organ transplants in the first six months of 2022, with 130 of those involving kidneys.

According to statistics kept by BC Transplant, 38 of those transplants involved living kidney donors, with 96 transplanted kidneys coming from deceased donors. There also were two pancreas-kidney transplants.

As of June 30, there were 460 people in B.C. awaiting kidney transplants, while 3,733 recipients were being followed post-transplant.

Some other numbers of interest:

There were 46 liver transplants in the first half of 2022, all of them involving cadavers. At the same time, there were 18 people on the waiting list, with 1,028 recipients being followed post-transplant.

Medical teams also performed nine heart transplants prior to June 30, with nine more people on the waiting list, and 376 recipients being followed.


My wife, Dorothy, underwent a kidney transplant almost nine years ago. But I doubt that I will ever forget when she was told to go ahead and try to find a

Vic1
Vic Morin of Kamloops continues his search for a kidney.

donor. At that time, I don’t think potential recipients felt that they should be too aggressive in their search. I do know that in the beginning Dorothy (a) was in denial, and (b) was especially concerned about not wanting her problem to also be someone else’s problem. . . . Times have changed, though, and now we even have people like Vic Morin of Kamloops, who has a decal in the rear window of his car asking folks to consider donating a kidney to him and including a phone number.

And now Transplant Ambassador Program (TAP) has taken things a step further. As Avis Favaro of CTV reports: “Canadians in dire need of a kidney now have a chance to directly appeal to potential living donors thanks to a new service that lets them share their photos and life stories in hopes of finding a transplant match.

“The novel service is offered by Transplant Ambassador Program (TAP), a Canadian support group for people with kidney disease. The site’s Patients Seeking Donors section takes inspiration from dating apps, where people post photos and share insights into their lives in their callout to potential donors.”

This sounds like a terrific idea and given time here’s hoping it produces results.

Favaro’s story is right here, and the TAP site is right here.



This story is from early in May, but it’s well worth a read and a watch.


Qualicum First Nation Chief Michael Recalma underwent a kidney transplant in February and made his first public appearance early in May, telling Michael Briones of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News that he feels “amazing.” . . . “It’s just been amazing,” Recalma said. “The transformation, the change from a sluggish guy. I called myself a turtle. To change into . . . I have energy. I have the right colour back on my face and I have gained some weight. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.” . . . The 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.


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

Ferris soon to turn 5 and would love a kidney for her birthday . . . She wakes up most days asking, ‘What we gonna do today, Mommy?’

Ferrisposter

Early in 2022, Ferris Backmeyer will turn five years of age.

She will have been on dialysis for almost four of those years.

Yes, she is in dire need of a kidney transplant. Ferris, who lives in Kamloops with her family, actually underwent a transplant early this year, but there were immediate difficulties and the ‘new’ kidney had to be removed.

“She’s spent the last 3.5 years living life on dialysis and the only hope we have for her to have better days is for her to have a successful kidney transplant,” her mother, Lindsey, wrote on Facebook this week. “Ferris has a lot of things stacked up against her, but we remain hopeful that there’s a kidney out there that will fit and work perfectly for her.”

Ferris
If you didn’t know her, you might think that Ferris Backmeyer is a happy, healthy youngster who loves to be outdoors. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

It is incredibly hard to fathom a youngster soon to turn five who really has known nothing but dialysis for almost her entire life. She is hooked up to a cycler every single night, with the machine doing what healthy kidneys would do. Every single night. Think about that for a moment or two. Every single night.

“She has had a bit of a rough fall,” Lindsey wrote, “but somehow is still thriving developmentally. If you were to come and spend the afternoon playing with her or have been at the pool with us . . . you’d have no idea that she faces enormous battles every single day. That she wakes up violently ill every single morning, or that she’s already needed bloodwork drawn three times this month, is needing weekly Aranesp injections and then throw in the obligatory flu shot! She’s had a juicy cough since September and as of late has been really anemic. Not to mention what little growth we were seeing comes to a complete stop anytime she’s sick. It’s all feeling a little extra and fragile and shoe in mid-air about to drop!”

Being the parent of a child with Ferris’s health issues is like being on a roller-coaster, only you’re on the ride every single day.

“Our sweet girl . . . I look at her and it’s just impossible to find the right words to explain how things have been going,” Lindsey wrote. “Some days I feel like we are slaying it and, all in a moment it seems, completely overwhelmed.

“Our experience would sound unbelievable and incredibly dramatic. It’s unbelievable to me most of the time and I’m living it.”

What it means is that the family calendar is dominated by medical appointments of one kind or another.

“We had a stretch of weeks where we had some sort of appointment every single weekday. For weeks! The management of all things Ferris is no joke,” Lindsey added. “There’s the medical side where we’ve got this girl who is so fragile and requires intensive daily medical treatment with hopes of being transplanted and desperately trying to stay well enough to continue living our lives at home in Kamloops.”

Through it all, Lindsey and her husband, Pat, can’t lose sight of the fact that Ferris is excited about going to school next fall, just like her big sisters — Tavia and Ksenia. With Ferris, however, going to school isn’t as simple as showing up and dropping her off.

“There’s also all the therapies involved in having a kiddo like Ferris,” Lindsey explained. “She’s turning five in January which means school next September! There are a lot of people involved in helping us ensure she will be supported.

“Kidney disease has a hold on her so tight, but she also has significant visual disability as well as significant hearing loss. Both impact her life in huge ways. My hope is things stay calm enough that she gets to go to school like we are planning for. Better yet . . . a successful kidney transplant before then and her experience of school will be completely different.

“My heart is truly bursting with pride as I watch Ferris grow into the preschooler that she is! She loves to play!! She is so strongly influenced by her sisters and is sooooo sassy!! She loves going to school. She is so eager to go even with the roughest of dialysis hangovers.”

Oh my, this girl is one tough cookie. She really is.

“She teaches me big lessons about life, humanity, suffering,” Lindsey wrote. “She is a bright, shiny light of resilience and oblivion. She wouldn’t say she has a hard life at all. There’s so many things that she loves, and she wakes up most days asking, ‘What we gonna do today, Mommy?’ ”

In an earlier Facebook post, Lindsey summed up life with Ferris on one paragraph:

“She’s sick. You wouldn’t know it because she is amazingly resilient, but she deserves better than this. Gagging, wretching and vomiting every morning is normal once again for her. Her growth is incredibly poor. Her bone health is suffering. She doesn’t have the stamina to walk more than a block and relies on her stroller or being carried a lot of the time. She’s such a happy kid, though, and once she gets to know you or if she likes you, she’s hilarious . . . and smart and has a tonne of personality! She plays hard once she finds her feet each day. She wouldn’t say she has a bad life at all. I could very selfishly keep her like this forever if that were an option. If I knew she could live a long life like this . . . I’d very selfishly not list her and not do scary things. We love her so much and she deserves to experience life after a successful kidney transplant.”

Ferris now is on the deceased donor list and the national sensitivity donor list. Lindsey is hopeful that even more prospective donors will see her post on Facebook and that they will “flood the inbox of St. Paul’s living donor program. We are so grateful for every single person who has tried to help change her life. She deserves so much better than this and she doesn’t even know it.”

——

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.

www.transplant.bc.ca/health-info/organ-donation/living-donation

——

The amazingly horrendous weather that parts of B.C. have experienced — and will see again this weekend — have led to all kinds of difficulties involving travel. For example, highways that had been reopened earlier this week will shut down on the weekend in anticipation of more wet weather that is expected.

This is especially hard on people with medical needs that have to be dealt with in Vancouver.

The Backmeyers are included in that group.

They were to have been at B.C. Children’s Hospital this week but the weather got in the way. They now are scheduled to be there early next month, but getting there might be a bit difficult unless they can fly.

The same holds true for John Casey of Kamloops, who had a kidney transplant at Vancouver General Hospital on May 31. He has an appointment there early in December and, with the highways closed, has gone ahead and made airline reservations.

John and his wife, Marlene, were regulars with the Kamloops Kidney Support Group before the pandemic brought things to a screeching halt. So was Vic Morin, who can be seen driving around Kamloops with a sign in the back window of his car pointing out that he needs a kidney.

Vic1
Vic Morin has been driving around Kamloops in the hopes of finding a kidney donor.

Zach2
Zach Tremblay of Robson, B.C., is 17 now, but one thing hasn’t changed — he still needs a kidney. Can you help?


Whenever my wife, Dorothy, is asked about her kidney transplant, she is quick to talk about the paired donor exchange program. It turns out that she isn’t alone. . . . Paulette Talerico of Golden, B.C., donated a kidney to a nephew, Pierre Pelletier of Vancouver, in August. These days, as Claire Palmer of the Golden Star reported, Paulette is encouraging others to become live donors. . . . “Hopefully more people will now because I didn’t realize how many people are actually in need of a kidney, it’s just unbelievable,” Paulette said. “I just want people to know that it’s not hard and it’s very rewarding — you could save someone’s life.” . . . Palmer’s story is right here.


While adding Paulette Talerico to my list of heroines, I also added Kennedie Maidment, a critical care nurse at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. Her father, Tony, had a liver transplant a while back and Kennedie has long spoken out about her support of organ donation and transplantation. . . . Late last month, Kennedie tweeted this . . .


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

Thinking about Ferris and Zach as clown cars pull up in front of hospitals . . .

While so many selfish folks chose to spend at least part of their Wednesday afternoon making fools of themselves in front of and around various hospitals, I couldn’t help but think of Ferris Backmeyer and Zach Tremblay and their families.

FerrisZach 2
Ferris Backmeyer and Zach Tremblay, new best friends waiting for kidney transplants. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

Ferris, 4, is from Kamloops; Zach, 18, is from Robson, B.C., which is across the Columbia River from Castlegar.

Both of these young people are awaiting kidney transplants. Each already has undergone one transplant, only to have it fail almost immediately.

Ferris has been on dialysis, either hemo or peritoneal, almost all of her young life; Zach does hemo-dialysis three times a week, but has to make the 65-kilometre round trip to Trail in order to get his treatment.

They both are at high risk of infection from any number of viruses, including COVID-19, as, of course, are thousands of others.

Of course, yesterday’s protesters lack the ability to see past the end of their noses, so they wouldn’t be aware of the number of immunocompromised people who live in their communities. If you want to protest about having your freedoms taken away, maybe you should speak with a few people who live with compromised immune systems and maybe learn what they have been going through while trying to stay alive during this pandemic.

(As an aside, you really have to wonder just how goofy some of these people can get. One week they are wanting to get horse medicine into their guts to help them fight this dastardly virus, and you shake your head and think that’s rock bottom. But then the clown cars show up in front of hospitals and it becomes obvious that, hey, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.)

But we digress . . .

Kidney disease and the wait for a transplant often means sessions in Vancouver with members of a medical team. Such was the case recently for Ferris and Zach.

Zachgirls
Zach Tremblay got to hang out with the Backmeyer sisters — Tavia (left), Ferris and Ksenia — during a recent trip to Vancouver. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer)

Zach was being transitioned from a team at B.C. Children’s Hospital to one at Vancouver General Hospital that works with adults who are awaiting transplants. At the same time, Ferris and her mother, Lindsey, were at BCCH.

Yes, Ferris and Zach finally met. In fact, Lindsey reported that Zach “is Ferris’s new bestie. He’s such and amazing kid and just connected with my girls instantly.”

When Lindsey writes about the medical issues being experienced by Ferris the pain oftentimes cuts the reader almost like a scalpel.

Earlier this year, Ferris underwent a kidney transplant in Vancouver, but the new kidney was removed almost immediately after being transplanted.

Since then, well, it really is a game of wait and see, except that it’s hardly a game.

This week, Lindsey offered an update via Facebook, as she is wont to do, and this one hurts. . .

“Well when it rains it always pours in our world. We got what feels like devastating news (Tuesday) morning from Ferris’s transplant nephrologist.

“Her Anti off testing was repeated and it’s shown that Ferris has become highly sensitive. Not sure at all when the 30% antibodies were drawn but she is now sitting at 99%. From my understanding they have a fancy calculation that looks at all the organs that were donated in the past 5 years across Canada and all age groups. What percentage would have been a match for Ferris . . . 1 friggin percent.

“It’s changed everything. They are going to increase immunosuppression to try and prevent them increasing to 100% because, as he reminded me, it can always be worse.

“This terrifies me in the season of a friggin pandemic against a respiratory virus that my child doesn’t have any protection against. In a climate where now not only one but both of her parents will be working in close contact with patients that are infected.

“Her future is so incredibly uncertain . . . more so than it already was??  How can that even be a thing.

“Their goal still is to get her transplanted but the odds are NOT in her favour. I have never felt more confident in our decisions to making memories our number one priority. Everything needs to shift and her quality of life will come above everything else.

“I feel shattered and it’s hard to breathe. It’s just been so incredibly overwhelming and the constant feelings of fight or flight are wearing me down.

“It’s so important for us to really embrace where we are at right now because the reality of our situation is that this is likely the ‘good’ and I hope to keep things this way for as long as it takes!”

I should mention that Lindsey is a registered respiratory therapist at Royal Inland Hospital, while Pat is in nursing school at Thompson Rivers U.

That won’t mean anything to the protesters who got their 15 minutes on Wednesday afternoon in front of and around RIH. But it should.

Ferrisposter

Zachposter2



If you are able to help, our friend Vic Morin of Kamloops is in need of a kidney transplant . . .

Vic1


——


Mike




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.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

Junior hockey coach gets kidney through paired program . . . How many antibodies? Lori Noyes is helping find out

Andrew Verner is a former junior and professional goaltender, who now is the associate coach with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. . . . He was playing in Germany for the Cologne Sharks in 1999 when he was discovered to have glomerulonephritis. By March 2020, he was doing peritoneal dialysis three times a day. . . . One year later, on March 9, 2021, Verner received a kidney through the Paired Kidney Donation Program, with his wife, Allison, donating a kidney to someone else three days later. . . . “There was no question,” she told Mike Davies of the Peterborough Examiner. “He’s my husband and that’s what you do. I did it for him, for us, for our family.” . . . And it turns out that Allison may not be through. As Andrew told Davies: “Deep down you know you’d do the same. You wish she didn’t have to. Now she’s talking about donating other stuff. Once you’re in Toronto and you look around at all these people getting new lungs, new livers — now she’s thinking about that.” . . . The complete story — and it’s a wonderful one — is right here.


Ferrisposter


If you have had a kidney transplant, you will be immunocompromised and likely are well aware that even if you have had two COVID-19 vaccinations your system may not have produced a whole lot of antibodies. . . . Lori Noyes is in that exact situation and, in fact, is taking part in a trial run involving a third vaccination. . . . This first-person report is as good as anything I’ve read involving antibodies, and it’s right here.


ZachTremblay

Zach Tremblay of Robson, B.C., is 17 and has graduated from high school now, but the message is the same — he needs a kidney. Can you help?



Vic1

Vic Morin of Kamloops has had two women offer to become kidney donors and both are involved in the testing process. But when it comes to this situation you can’t ever have too many potential donors. Are you able to help?



Mike






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.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

John’s making case to come home; he’s crowing about it, too . . . Rear-window decal finds two potential living donors in Kamloops

JohnsOwls
Is this photo taken by John Casey a National Geographic-calibre shot, or what? The owlet on the right looking at John upside down really is something.

John Casey, a friend from the Kamloops Kidney Support Group, continues to recover in Vancouver after having had a kidney transplant at Vancouver General Hospital on May 31.

John, who had been on dialysis for more than two years, had surgery three days after he and Marlene celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

There were a few complications but nothing seems to have impacted the new kidney, which is just motoring right along.

Marlene and John, who live on Kamloops’ North Shore, like nothing more than to go for a walk at McArthur Island. Yes, John always takes his camera, as he has an unerring eye for wildlife photos. Just like the shot of the owlets that accompanies this piece.

Dorothy was speaking with John the other night and I had her send along a message, saying that I was disappointed that I hadn’t seen any photos of Vancouver wildlife from their temporary home.

JohnCrowsGotta love John’s sense of humour, because it wasn’t long before he posted the other photo that I put up here, the one with the crows in it.

The photo was accompanied by this bit of prose:

“Every night at about sundown a ‘murder’ of crows fly past our place heading east to somewhere I assume where they will roost for the night. There are about 50-60 of them and sometimes they are all close together and often spread out over five minutes. This is for Gregg — it’s the closest I can get to wildlife down here — except when we spend the night in VGH Emergency.”

Oh, how we miss the KKSG gatherings and John’s sense of humour. Hurry home!


Vic1
Vic Morin has been driving around Kamloops trying to find a kidney donor.

If you happen to live in Kamloops, you may have seen Vic Morin driving around in his black Mazda CX-5 that carries a message in the rear window.

“I need a kidney . . . Blood Type B+,” the sign reads, adding two phone numbers: “250.573.3765 and 250.574.2547.”

If you’re wondering, Vic and his wife, Colleen Bruce, have heard from two Kamloops women, both of whom have volunteered to give up a kidney and both of whom have begun the testing process.

That doesn’t mean that it’s too late for anyone else to volunteer or to register as an organ donor. The testing process is thorough and takes time, and one or both of these women may not make it to the end. In other words, there’s always room for more potential donors for Vic.

And please remember that your blood type doesn’t have to be B+ in order to help Vic or anyone else you may know who is in need of a kidney. That is where the Living Kidney Donor Program comes in: if you aren’t B+ you could offer up a kidney, but only if Vic or any other specific recipient with whom you are familiar gets one.

That is how hospitals in which transplants are done, and the medical teams that do them, put together chains involving two, four, six or more donors and recipients.

As I have mentioned here previously, that is how my wife, Dorothy, received a kidney almost eight years ago. Her best friend, Darlene, donated a kidney but she wasn’t the same blood type as Dorothy. So Darlene’s kidney went to an anonymous recipient, but that happened only because Dorothy got a kidney from an anonymous donor. Because of privacy concerns, we don’t have any idea how many recipients and donors were involved in this chain, but it had to be at least four — Darlene, Dorothy and two others.

If you are interested in the Living Kidney Donor Program, there is more information further down on this post.






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.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

A story about kidney disease and long weekends and joy and disappointment . . .

Vaccine


Hey, how’s the first long weekend of your summer treating you? Fine, I hope.

While some folks are complaining of being locked down — even though they are enjoying their favourite Kool-Aid on a patio and later will eat takeout from their favourite restaurant on their deck — I only hope that you are vaccinated once and waiting for No. 2.

In the meantime, allow me to provide you with some insight into kidney disease and a long weekend.

Just imagine, if you can, that you have been on dialysis for three or four years while waiting and hoping for a transplant. If you’re doing hemodialysis, you are visiting a clinic three times a week for about four hours at a time. If you’re doing peritoneal dialysis at home, you are hooking up to a machine — it’s called a cycler — every night when you go to bed. Yes, every night. Seven nights a week. In short, the cycler performs a fluid exchange while you are sleeping — toxic-filled fluid out, clean fluid in — as it does what your failed kidneys no longer are capable of doing.

Every four weeks a delivery truck pulls up at your home and the driver carries in 20 or 30 boxes of fluid and supplies. You have had to create a storage place for all of this, but, hey, you have come to understand that this is all part of living your life.

If you are lucky, you have gone through all the tests and been deemed a transplant candidate. You may have tried to find a living donor, but you haven’t had success. By now, then, you are on the deceased donor list. Yes, you know that it can be a long wait.

By now, you also have a medical team working with you. The team includes a case worker.

With a long weekend approaching, the case worker might call you with a message: (a) you’re finally near the top of the list; and (b) it’s a long weekend and that means, you know, traffic accidents and maybe . . .

One of the hard truths about being on the deceased donor list and getting a phone call is that your joy is on one side of the coin while a family’s nightmare is on the other side.

And then, just as the long weekend starts, your phone rings. There’s a kidney for you. So you and your wife pack in a hurry — you know that you could be in the big city for up to three months after surgery — and away you go.

The adrenaline carries you all the way to the hospital. You can hardly believe that the wait will soon be over. A kidney. No more dialysis. You are well aware that stuff might still happen — the best laid plans and all that — but you don’t want to think about that. You just know that your time has come.

You can’t restrain yourself from sharing the news. You pick up your phone and make a call, letting friends know that, yes, it’s almost time.

You are trying to contain your excitement, but there also is apprehension because you know that a kidney transplant is major surgery. But, really, what choice do you have? And, hey, no more dialysis. Hey, cycler, it’s been nice knowing you.

So, you’re thinking, let’s go . . . let’s get this over with.

You don’t know anything about the kidney that is heading your way — there are serious privacy concerns in these situations — but you are guessing that someone is on life support and that a decision has been made to donate organs and that you will be one of the beneficiaries. You are well aware that another family is going through a tough time.

Your thoughts are racing . . . you are incapable at the moment of compartmentalizing . . . let’s go.

And then the unthinkable happens and it all comes crashing down. You are informed that the medical team performed one last test on the donor and that test came back positive. Yes, for COVID-19.

Just like that the air is out of your balloon. You and your wife can hardly believe it. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. All in a matter of seconds. Bewildered and disappointed doesn’t begin to describe how you feel.

But, at the same time, you know there isn’t anything you can do about it. So you try to gather your thoughts, get yourself out of the hospital and back into your car, and you begin the four-hour drive back to the comfort of your own home.

After all, the cycler is calling . . . you have to do dialysis when you get there.

Such is life with kidney disease.

If you think that what you have just read is a work of fiction, allow me to assure you that it isn’t. This exact scenario played out over the past few days.

And now he’s back playing the waiting game, wondering if/when the phone will be ring because, you know, the long weekend isn’t over.


The question of age has long been a topic of conversation when it comes to organ donation, as in: How old is too old to register as an organ donor? . . . Perhaps there is no age limit. A medical team recovered a liver from the oldest recorded organ donor in U.S. history — Cecil Lockhart, 95, of Welch, W. Va.





This is a wonderful story about a man, Dick Henry of Wyomissing, Penn., who has twice been a transplant recipient — kidney and liver at separate times — both from the same living donor. . . . Henry, 72, got a kidney from family friend Jason Hornberger on Feb. 21. That was almost five years after Henry received part of Hornberger’s liver. . . . “My story is a positive one, I had a positive outcome,” Hornberger said. “The surgery went extremely well. Maybe there’s more people who will feel more comfortable about becoming a donor moving forward.” . . . The story from WPVI-TV in Philadelphia 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.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

It’s May’s Green Shirt Day . . . Please give organ donation some thought . . . Check out ex-CFLer’s kidney story

Vic1
Vic Morin of Kamloops has added a decal to his car as he searches for a living kidney donor. (Photo: Colleen Bruce)


It’s May 7, which means it’s Green Shirt Day for May.

There is an annual push for Green Shirt Day, and the Logan Boulet Effect, on April 7. But let’s not forget about it for the rest of the year; let’s remember its impact on the seventh day of each of the other 11 months.

It’s all about registering for organ donation, so please do the research, ask the questions, discuss it with family and make your decision.

Also . . . please take the time to learn about being a living kidney donor. Again, do the research and ask the questions. Most of all, learn how you can be a living donor through the Living Kidney Donor Program without having a specific recipient who is the same blood type as you are.

My wife, Dorothy, received a kidney through the Living Kidney Donor Program almost eight years ago. Her best friend wasn’t a match with her, but wanted Dorothy to receive a kidney, so she entered the program. She donated a kidney to an anonymous recipient with Dorothy receiving one from an anonymous donor.

So, please, at least give it some thought.


Zach16


Mike Abou-Mechrek, a former CFL offensive lineman who now lives in Regina, is recovering at home after donating a kidney to his father. . . . “Anybody can do it,” Abou-Mechrek told Sam Thompson of Global News. “It is special, I suppose, but it really wasn’t a decision for me — my dad needed help, I could help him, so you do it. . . . When my dad needed a kidney, I said, ‘All right, let’s go get tested.’ If you knew how much good you could do, you would do it.” . . . This actually was Abou-Mechrek’s second experience with kidney transplantation. During a stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, his then-wife gave a kidney to her father. “I’ll never forget going to the recovery room minutes after he came out of surgery,” Abou- Mechrek said, “and the man looked like he just came back from Jamaica.” . . . Thompson’s 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.


Want an easy win to feel great? Register to be an organ donor today. It will only #TakeTwoMinutes and you could save a life. Great deed and fuzzy feels without any hassle. #Register2Give taketwominutes.ca

Morin takes to road in hopes of finding kidney . . . Silent auction to support Backmeyers ready to go

Vic1
Vic Morin of Kamloops has added a decal to his car as he searches for a living kidney donor. (Photo: Colleen Bruce)

Vic Morin of Kamloops has been waiting for a kidney for a while now.

Diagnosed with chronic kidney disease brought on by high blood pressure that caused damage before it was treated, he knows the travails of hemodialysis — been there, done that.

These days, Vic does peritoneal dialysis, hooking up to a cycler every single night as he goes to bed. While he sleeps, the cycler does a fluid exchange through a catheter that has been surgically implanted into his peritoneal cavity, taking out the toxins and putting in clean fluid.

By now, it has become a routine, one that he would love to see come to an end. That, of course, will take a kidney transplant.

More than two years ago, Morin’s medical team suggested he and his wife, Colleen Bruce, try to find a living donor. For various reasons, family members, including Colleen and a brother of Vic’s, were found to be unsuitable.

Vic2A while ago, Colleen created a poster featuring Vic and their dog, Amigo. The poster was headlined “Amigo’s Urgent Plea: ‘My Best Friend Needs a Kidney — Can You Help?’ ”

Now Colleen and Vic have taken the hunt for a kidney donor another step further, having widened their approach by having a decal installed in the rear window of their car.

If you see a vehicle in the Kamloops area that has a decal in its rear window — I Need A Kidney . . . Blood Type B+ — please know that it’s either Colleen or Vic behind the wheel and that they are deadly serious.

They decided to go this route after a friend sent them a link to a story by David Zura of Vancouver radio station News1130 about Ronald Mamaril, a Vancouver man who is advertising his need for a kidney in the rear window of his vehicle.

Having made the decision, Colleen sent out five emails to Kamloops businesses on Saturday morning. The first one to respond was Picket Fence Graphics, and Jason Foreman, the CEO and founder, said they would prepare and install the decal at no cost.

“Yes, they offered to do it for free!” an excited Colleen said. “The owner, Jason, was so wonderful to deal with. They put it on our car (Wednesday) morning.”

Now all Vic needs is for someone to see the decal and make the phone call.

Or perhaps someone will choose to contact the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and mention Louis Victor Morin. The contact information is further down here, and I post it here every time that I write something for this website.

My wife, Dorothy, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, at St. Paul’s Hospital. That kidney arrived via the Living Kidney Donor Program.

We are hoping that Vic is able to drive his way to finding a ‘new’ kidney.


Meanwhile, an online silent auction in support of Ferris Backmeyer and her family is scheduled to run from Friday through Sunday. Ferris, 4, has been in kidney failure and on dialysis for most of her young life. She underwent a kidney transplant at B.C. Children’s Hospital last month, but it didn’t take and the kidney had to be removed just hours after transplant. The Backmeyers now are back home in Kamloops as they wait to see what the next chapter of their lives has in store. . . . The silent auction is to being on Friday at 8:30 p.m., and to run until Sunday at 8:30 p.m. . . . Michael Potestio of Kamloops This Week has more on Ferris, the Backmeyers and the auction right here.


Here’s a kidney-related story that likely should begin with “Once upon a time there was a young girl . . .”

Seriously!

Stephanie Jolink was 10 when she was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure and ended up doing hemodialysis.

Meaghan Kay and her family were neighbours to the Jolinks. In fact, Meaghan ended up being the Jolink’s babysitter.

Well, you likely have figured out the rest.

And you are able to read all about it 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

Ex-WHLer needs kidney; can you help? . . . Who gets new arena first — Regina or Saskatoon? . . . Cancer claims Hartnell at 48

Ryan Smith, who spent four seasons (1991-95) in the WHL, needs a kidney — the sooner, the better. Smith, 46, played with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince George Cougars, totalling 158 points, including 131 assists, in 274 games before going on to the U of Manitoba Bisons. . . . A married father of two young sons, Smith and his family live in Lavington, B.C., which is near Vernon. . . . He was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy (aka Berger’s disease) about four years ago and has been on dialysis for almost two years. . . . Smith is on the deceased donor list, but is hoping to shorten what could be at least a four-year wait by finding a live donor. He thought he had found a live donor at one point; however, 10 months into the testing process the potential donor was found to have medical issues that short-circuited things, something that sometimes happens. . . . If you are interested in being a kidney donor, the contact information for the Living Kidney Donor Program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver is further down in this post. . . . Roger Knox of the Vernon Morning Star has Smith’s story right here.


So . . . I’m wondering who is going to win the race — Regina or Saskatoon? . . . PatsShaun Semple, who with his father, Gavin, now owns the Regina Pats lock, stock and barrel, says it’s time that the Saskatchewan capital had a new arena. As hard is it is to believe, the home of the Pats is 44 years of age and, as Shaun told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post, “it’s getting tired. . . . There needs to be a new (arena) for sure.” . . . Harder’s complete story is right here, and what it tells me is that the conversation has started. . . .

Meanwhile, there has been talk in Saskatoon about a possible new arena, one Bladesthat would replace the SaskTel Centre, for a couple of years now. The home of the Blades is 33 years old and getting close to its best before date, if it isn’t already there. . . . A new facility likely would be built somewhere in the downtown area. In October, Phil Tank of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix wrote: “A funding plan for the project has not been finalized, but the cost is estimated between $172 million and $178 million. If the arena project is combined with a new downtown convention centre, the cost rises to between $330 million and $370 million.” . . . While Blades owner Mike Priestner hasn’t said a whole lot publicly about it, he has let it be known that he wants to be involved. Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, appeared in front of Saskatoon city council on Monday and, according to Kevin Mitchell of the StarPhoenix, “made a pitch for his group to take a larger role in SaskTel Centre’s operations.” . . . Mitchell’s story is right here.



Two WHL players, both of them eligible for the NHL’s 2021 draft, have had their developmental seasons come to an end. . . . The Red Deer Rebels announced Wednesday that F Jayden Grubbe, the team captain, needs knee surgery (ACL) and won’t play again this season. According to the team, Grubbe “is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2021-22 season.” Grubbe, 18, was injured in the first period of a game against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday. That was his fifth game of this season; he had a goal and two assists. . . . Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Ice revealed that F Carson Lambos “has left the Regina hub and returned to Winnipeg for a medical procedure. . . . More information will be provided at a later date.” Lambos, 18, was pointless in two games this season. He is a potential first-round selection in the NHL draft.


Rob Hartnell, who played three seasons (1990-93) in the WHL, has died. He was 48 when he died of cancer on Friday in Camrose, Alta. . . . Hartnell played 143 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes over parts of three seasons, then finished up his WHL career by putting up 59 points, including 25 games, in 48 games with the Tri-City Americans. . . . All told, he had 227 points, 98 of them goals, in 191 regular-season WHL games. . . . He went on to play professionally in the ECHL, WPHL and in Europe. He wound up his playing career in the Chinook Hockey League with the Bentley Generals. . . . He had been coaching the junior B Wetaskiwin Icemen until having to step aside for health reasons prior to the 2019-20 season. . . . There is a complete obituary right here.


Kris Knoblauch, a former WHL player and coach, made his NHL head-coaching debut on Wednesday night, running the New York Rangers’ bench as they drubbed the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, 9-0. . . . Knoblauch is the head coach of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate. He was called into New York after the Rangers’ coaching staff was ruled out because of COVID-19 protocol. That took out Rangers’ head coach David Quinn and assistants Jacques Martin, David Oliver and Greg Brown. Gord Murphy, Hartford’s associate coach, and Chris Drury, the Rangers’ associate general manager, were behind New York’s bench with Knoblauch, 42. He played with the Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton/Kootenay Ice and Lethbridge Hurricanes (1996-99), and later coached with the Prince Albert Raiders and Kootenay (2006-12).


So . . . how are things going with the Buffalo Sabres? Well, they’ve lost 12 in a row and been outscored 50-19 in the process. . . . The Buffalo News published its latest NHL power rankings earlier this week and they had the Sabres in 32nd place. Yes, 32nd . . . behind the Seattle Kraken, the expansion club that won’t begin play until next season. . . . Oh yes, the Sabres canned head coach Ralph Krueger on Wednesday.



There will be a new hockey conference in play come the 2021-22 season and it promises to be a good one. The Prep Hockey Conference will feature six of the top prep programs, each with a history of producing NCAA and NHL players. . . . The six are Shattuck-St. Mary’s School (Minnesota), St. Andrew’s College (Toronto), Northwood School (New York), Culver Academies (Indiana), Mount St. Charles Academy (Rhode Island) and South Kent School (Connecticut). All six programs have developed NHLers and top-end NCAA players throughout their histories. . . . Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News has more right here.


The Wheat City Whiskey Jacks are going to play a second straight season without making even one appearance on their home field in Brandon. The Whiskey Jacks will play out of Fargo, ND., for a second straight Expedition League season because of the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel. . . . Last season, the league played with six teams as four opted out; it now has 12 teams, all of whom have said they’re in for 2021. . . . The Expedition League is a collegiate summer circuit whose season opens in late May. . . . Thomas Friesen of The Brandon Sun has more on the Whiskey Jacks right here.



Zach16

——

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.

——

Vic2


JUST NOTES: The BCHL’s Cranbrook Bucks have lost one assistant coach and added two others to their staff. Adam Stuart has left to join the coaching staff at the North Alberta Xtreme. The Bucks have added Ehren Menard and Todd Skirving to general manager/head coach Ryan Donald’s staff. Menard has spent six seasons with the Knights of Columbus program in Edmonton. Skirving plays for the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers, who opted out of the 2020-21 season. He played in the BCHL with the Prince George Spruce Kings and Vernon Vipers, then spent four seasons at the Rochester Institute of Technology before turning pro.


Suspect

%d bloggers like this: