Welcome home, Julie! . . . The Backmeyers still playing waiting game . . . Rockets auctioning sweaters

Julie Dodds arrived back at the family’s Kamloops home on Sunday afternoon, less than four weeks after undergoing a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Julie, a mother of three boys, had the transplant on Oct. 28, with her younger brother, Jason Brauer of Port McNeill, B.C., as the living donor.

Julie was welcomed home by friends and neighbours who staged what has become known as a COVID parade. Well done, folks!

Julie’s transplant team will continue to monitor her progress through regular bloodwork. She also will go back to St. Paul’s early in December for an in-person checkup. And, of course, she will be in regular contact with the nephrologists and staff in the renal clinic at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

——

Meanwhile, the Backmeyer family of Kamloops continues to wait and hope for a kidney for Ferris, who will be turning four early in 2021.

Just because things have been fairly quiet on the home front, especially after a sometimes hectic summer, doesn’t mean that nothing has been happening.

“Somehow we’ve managed to stay home the past couple weeks even though there’s some big stuff going on with Miss Ferris,” Lindsey, Ferris’s mother, wrote on Facebook late last week.

FerrisSisters
Ferris Backmeyer and her big sisters, Ksenia (left) and Tavia, enjoy an autumn walk. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

A week earlier, Ferris had “developed a leak internally and she had about four nights where dialysis didn’t go well.”

In peritoneal dialysis, fluid goes into the body and fluid drains from the body, removing toxins in the process, a job that is done by the kidneys of a healthy person.

Ferris wasn’t draining properly, primarily from her day dwell, and Lindsey said she had gained close to a kilogram that would be fluid weight.

“Her tummy got real big,” Lindsey wrote, adding that Ferris didn’t appear at all bothered as she “was acting her normal self.”

They decided to stop her day dwell “because she wasn’t draining it and was absorbing/pocketing the fluid.”

There were a number of chats with staff from B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

And, as Lindsey pointed out, “It’s a lot of ‘extra’ on top of all the regular things that keep a family busy.”

But being able to communicate with BCCH meant they were able to stay at home “so I’ll take it!”

At the same time, Ferris was doing well with her PD at night “when we hit her with high-concentration fluids and we now have her weight back down.”

One other thing . . . it doesn’t matter your age, dialysis is a draining experience. With Ferris, Lindsey says, “Dialysis literally sucks the life right out of her. She laid around for a few days” but then one night had a great drain and the next day “she was amazing again!”

However, there will be a trip to Vancouver in the near future.

“They are concerned about increased risk of peritonitis if there’s fluid just sitting in there so are having us come down for an MRI and urology consult,” Lindsey explained. “I’m trying to stay optimistic that they will recommend leaving it alone as long as dialysis is working.”

BackmeyerGirls
Ferris is flanked by the bigs — Tavia (left) and Ksenia. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

Ferris is flanked by the bigs — Tavia (left) and Ksenia. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

And through it all there are two older sisters — Ksenia and Tavia — who also need care and attention.

“My bigs needed some fun with Mom and I really wanted to try get some pics of the three of them,” Lindsey wrote, then added: “It’s hard to believe, Ferris has been on dialysis for 2.5 years. Over half her life. She’s so full of personality and is a really funny kid. She might actually be the most annoying little sister ever but they love her so much. It’s time for something better for her.

“A successful kidney transplant is her best bet and we feel desperate for it sometimes. Well, most of the time really.

“I’ve learned time and time again that it all changes in an instant. It’s a lesson I’d prefer not to have thrown in my face on the regular but I feel like I’m coping a bit better each time . . . so there’s that!

“Last Wednesday it was like ‘yup we are going’ . . . did laundry, folded socks, had a packing list in my head and was ready to do the things. PD not working any more means hemo but I really don’t like not having a back up for our back-up plan. It’s a sick feeling.

“Come on kidney!!”

——

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


Transplant association president just wants to give back . . . Qualicum First Nation chief waiting and hoping

Brenda Brown is the president of the Canadian Transplant Association. . . . Brown, who is from Vancouver, had a kidney transplant in July 2013. Five years after being diagnosed with kidney disease, she received a kidney through the Kidney Paired Donation program that is operated by Canadian Blood Services. That was after her 22-year-old daughter, who wasn’t a match for her, offered a kidney in order for them to enter the program together. . . . Now Brown, who has a full-time job with IBM, works tirelessly to give back. . . . Her story — and it’s quite a story — is right here.


Vic2


Michael Recalma is the chief of the Qualicum First Nation. He also needs a kidney transplant. In 2018, he thought he had the flu. It turned out that he had kidney failure and ended up on dialysis. He now is doing peritoneal dialysis at home while he waits for a transplant. . . . Mandy Moraes of the Parkville Qualicum Beach News has his story 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.


Mike



The big coverup: Wear a mask! . . . White Sox’ fan comes to the rescue . . . Robot removes two kidneys, inserts one


Zach16


Bridgett Kolls is a fan of the Chicago Cubs. Kolls, 23, also needed a new kidney.

Thomas Alessio, 32, is a fan of the Chicago White Sox, so you wouldn’t think that this would be a match made in transplant heaven. Right.

Well, you would be wrong.

In May 2019, Kolls went to a Cubs game and took along a poster on which was printed “This li’l Cubs fan needs a kidney” and a phone number.

The Cubs’ social media team took her photo and put it on Twitter, which is where Alessio saw it.

The rest, as they say, is transplant history.

Genevieve Bookwalter of the Chicago Tribune has the complete story right here. It’s a great read, especially if you are in need of a transplant or are thinking of being a live donor.


Vic2


There have been a couple of really interesting developments of late in the world of kidney transplants. . . . Surgeons at the University of Illinois Hospital-Chicago have performed what a news release describes as “the world’s first robotic-assisted double-kidney removal followed immediately by a living-donor kidney transplant in a patient with severe polycystic kidney disease.” The surgery was performed on Christopher Adamsick, 50, of Yorkville, Ill., who had both of his diseased kidneys removed and a donor kidney transplanted. . . . Dr. Pier Giulianotti, the lead surgeon, called it “a first-of-its-kind procedure that normally requires open, invasive surgery and a very large incision.” . . . That story is right here.

Meanwhile, in the Nevada desert, two September drone flights successfully delivered human organs for transplant. . . . Yahoo News reports that “one of the flights was the longest organ delivery flight on an unmanned aircraft ever.” . . . One drone flight delivered corneas, with the other moving a kidney. . . . If you are interested in how this all was put together and how the flights went, there are photos and more right here.


juliescreengrab





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.

Doctors watching COVID-19 impact on kidneys . . . Saskatchewan gov’t takes organ/tissue donation registry online

“It is too early to know whether survivors of serious COVID-19 will have long-lasting kidney damage, but doctors are worried,” writes Stacey Burling of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Girish Nadkarni, a nephrologist and researcher at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, told Burling: “People are just waking up to the fact that the kidney is an unappreciated manifestation (of COVID-19) but one that is pretty important. There might be an epidemic of post-coronavirus kidney disease coming.”

Burling’s complete story is right here.


There was big news out of Saskatchewan earlier this month as the provincial government launched an online organ and tissue donor registry. Health Minister Jim Reiter told a news conference that the government’s decision was due in no small part to Logan Boulet, one of the players who was killed in the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus. He had registered as an organ donor. . . . “I want to acknowledge those young but very mature, selfless people like Logan,” Reiter said. “Logan made a critical decision prior to his death to register as a donor.” . . . Alec Salloum of the Regina Leader-Post has more 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

A wife’s plea: ‘We are reaching out to everyone in dire-desperation to find a living donor for Vic’

Vic2Are you ready for some numbers?

You are. Great.

For starters, take a guess at how many people in B.C. were waiting (and hoping) for a kidney transplant as of July 31.

According to BC Transplant, there were 633 B.C. residents in that situation.

——

Vic Morin of Kamloops is one of them.

His wife, Colleen Bruce, told Vic’s story a year ago. Earlier this week, she provided an update:

“It now has been close to one year since my last posting on Vic and his struggles with kidney disease. There have been a lot of changes in our lives over the past year.

“Vic was put on emergency hemodialysis in the middle of September 2019.  Vic now has transitioned to full-time peritoneal dialysis that he does at home eight hours a night, seven days a week. This dialysis is done at night while he is sleeping.

“Over the past year his health has unfortunately declined. He doesn’t have the energy to do much anymore due to the kidney disease. Even going for walks is a big struggle, but he does try his best a few times a week.

“We really were hoping that the dialysis would give him more spark and energy, but because the kidneys are so diseased, this isn’t the case. He needs a kidney now more then ever.

“We had a virtual appointment with our doctor from St. Paul’s Hospital in early August. He said Vic’s wait for a kidney from a deceased donor could be up to four years for his blood type. As well, the doctor wasn’t sure that Vic’s arteries that attach to the kidney would be strong enough for a kidney transplant in four years.

“The doctor told us that Vic’s only option now is to receive a kidney transplant from a living donor within a year.

“So once again we are reaching out to everyone in dire-desperation to find a living donor for Vic. We created the accompanying poster in hopes of reaching as many people as we can.

“Please keep in mind that you don’t need to be an exact blood-type match to become a donor for Vic, as St. Paul’s Hospital has a paired exchange program. This means that the donor and Vic (recipient) will enter into the paired exchange program.

“Here is how it works:

“Donor A wishes to donate a kidney to Recipient A, but they are not a match. Donor B would like to donate a kidney to Recipient B, but they are not a match. However, Donor A is a match with Recipient B and Donor B is a match with Recipient A. A paired exchange can then be completed.

“Again, we are needing to get our story out to as many people as will listen. If you have ever considered becoming a kidney donor, or would like more information, please contact the donor nurse co-ordinator at St.  Paul’s Hospital by calling 604-806-9027 (1-877-922-9822) or by emailing donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca. Please mention Louis Victor Morin.”

——

More numbers, thanks to BC Transplant . . .

As of July 31, there had been 133 kidney transplants conducted in the province — 89 involving deceased donors, 44 from living donors.

All told, BC Transplant was following 3,540 post-transplant patients.

In the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap area, which includes Kamloops, there were 1,217 people with chronic kidney disease. . . . There were 71 people from that area on the transplant list. . . . All told, there were 78 people doing hemodialysis, with another 31 doing peritoneal dialysis.

Think about all the numbers for a moment and you will realize that kidney disease isn’t going anywhere.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.

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

Vic2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

Or, for more information, visit right here.

——

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

——

Vic needs a kidney. Can you help? . . . QMJHL set for exhibition season . . . MJHL aiming for Oct. 9 opening


Dale Hawerchuk, the quiet NHL superstar, died on Tuesday, his battle with stomach cancer having taken him at 57. . . . Here’s Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun: “The superstar who struck so many people with his humility reached out to a bunch of them over his final 72 hours. To say goodbye, and to tell them he loved them. Serge Savard, Teemu Selanne, Jeremy Roenick and many others received a call nobody wants to get, but one everybody who got will cherish.” . . . Scott Arniel, perhaps Hawerchuk’s best friend, talked with Friesen about his long-time friend and all the memories. That’s all right here and it’s wonderful.


The QMJHL will open its 51-game exhibition schedule on Sept. 1 and wrap it up on Sept. 26. It plans on opening its regular season on Oct. 1. . . . Each of the league’s 18 teams will play four, five, six or seven exhibition games. . . . According to the league, the Gatineau Olympiques, Halifax Mooseheads and Charlottetown Islanders “will play all of their preseason games in a neutral site as their buildings are currently not available.” . . . QMJHL teams are opening training camps on Aug. 30. . . . I haven’t been able to find a blanket statement, but it would appear that fans won’t be permitted at any of the exhibition games.



The MJHL announced on Wednesday that it is planning to open its 2020-21 regular season on Oct. 9. Training camps are to open on Sept. 18 with each team having 34 or fewer players on hand. . . . Each team will be permitted to play three exhibition games, with none of those against out-of-province teams. . . . From the MJHL news release: “Players/Staff and Officials are required to wear face masks while entering/exiting and within the arena for MJHL sanctioned activities while not on the ice. . . . Players/Staff are required to wear face masks while traveling to and from games (on the bus, entering/exiting restaurants and hotels, etc.) . . . Members of the public are strongly encouraged to wear face masks while in any MJHL facility during MJHL activity while following all necessary distancing and facility guidelines.” . . . The MJHL hasn’t yet released its schedule, but it did say that the schedule “will be significantly modified to mitigate risk of spread or potential contact between multiple teams and to allow for minimal disruption of the schedule in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.” . . . The complete news release is right here.


In a move aimed at saving money, the U of Alaska-Anchorage announced on Wednesday that it will be eliminating four sports, including hockey, after the 2020-21 season, whenever it may happen. . . . Also to be cancelled are men’s and women’s skiing and women’s gymnastics. . . . Meanwhile, the U of Alaska-Fairbanks issued a news release stating that it doesn’t have any plans to reduce the number of athletics programs that it supports.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Mikele Colasurdo, a freshman QB with Georgia State, revealed Thursday that he won’t play this season because of a heart condition that was diagnosed after he had a run-in with COVID-19. . . . He didn’t get at all specific about the condition, but myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, has proven to be a potential after-effect from the virus. . . . 

The U of Notre Dame’s football team has had five players test positive and has quarantined six others after contact tracing. . . . The team is to experience another round of testing today (Friday). . . . Earlier this week, Notre Dame dumped in-person learning for remote instruction through at least Sept. 2. There have been 304 positive tests since students returned to campus. . . .  

The group that oversees high school sports in Saskatoon’s secondary schools has cancelled all sports this fall. That takes care of football, soccer, volleyball and cross-country. . . . On top of that, the city’s two school divisions — Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools and Saskatoon Public Schools — have cancelled all facility rentals, including gymnasiums, for the remainder of this year. . . . 

The Manitoba Soccer Association has informed all members that it “has been notified that an individual involved with the youth soccer community in the Winnipeg region has tested positive for COVID-19.” . . . According to the MSA, public health officials now are doing contact tracing. . . . 

The NFL’s Seattle Seahawks will play their first three homes games — Sept. 20, Sept. 27 and Oct. 11 — without any fans in CenturyLink Field. “While we are hopeful that conditions will improve as the season moves forward,” the team said in a statement, “we will continue to follow the lead of public health and government officials to make future decisions about having fans in attendance.” . . . 

MLB has had to dump more games, this time because the New York Mets have experienced positive tests. . . . The Mets have  had one unidentified player and one staff member test positive. . . . The Mets were to have played the host Miami Marlins on Thursday and the visiting New York Yankees today (Friday), but both games were postponed. It remains to be seen if Saturday and Sunday games with the Yankees go by the wayside, too. . . . All told, 16 MLB teams now have had games called because of COVID-19. . . .

Italy’s Serie A soccer league is trying to return from a shortened off-season — its previous season ended on Aug. 2 — but has had at least eight players test positive. Cagliari, Napoli, Roma and Torino all have had positives. . . . Serie A’s schedule is to begin on Sept. 19. . . .

The Montreal Impact are scheduled to play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps in an MLS game on Tuesday. And the Impact says it will have fans — a maximum of 250 of them — in the seats at State Saputo. . . . The Whitecaps have three home games scheduled for September, but have said they’ll play without fans. . . . With the U.S.-Canada border closed to non-essential travel, Canada’s MLS teams are only playing against each other. . . . 

The Winnipeg High School Football League is on hold, at least for now. . . . In a statement released Thursday, Jeffrey Bannon, the league’s commissioner, said: “Based upon the approval of Football Manitoba’s Return to Play Stage 2, ‘Stay & Play,’ the WHSFL is now in conversations with each school division and their member teams to determine the future of any resemblance of a 2020 season.” . . . Training camps that were to have begun on Aug. 24 have been postponed indefinitely. . . . 

From a Thursday news release: “The World of Outlaws announced today that several drivers and crew members have tested positive. . . .” One driver tested positive after last weekend’s races at Knoxville Raceway. Two crew members subsequently also tested positive. . . . After contact tracing, “several other participants and families have tested positive. So far, symptoms appear minor.”



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.


Getting flu shot not about you . . . Some thoughts on being living kidney donor

Every time I see people on social media making mention of how they haven’t had the flu in 1,000 years and have never had a flu shot, well, my blood boils and smoke comes out my ears.

People, people, people. This isn’t about you not getting the flu. A flu shot is to help prevent you, who may be a carrier, from passing it along to someone else, like maybe a transplant recipient who has a suppressed immune system because of the anti-rejection medications that they must take, or maybe a senior citizen — perhaps your own grandmother or grandfather — whose immune system isn’t strong enough to reject a flu bug.

Please, please, please . . . a flu shot isn’t about you; it’s about other people in your community.

Get your flu shot!


There were a couple of things that really jumped out at me when I read the report on organ transplantation in 2018 that was released Thursday by the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI).

Using data from the Canadian Organ Replacement Register, the report included: “There were 40,289 Canadians (excluding Quebec) living with end-stage kidney disease at the end of 2018, an increase of 35 per cent since 2009.”

An increase of 35 per cent in 10 years means that today there will be even more people living with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

That number — 40,289 — jumped off the page when I first read it.

The other note that really hit hard was this: “(In 2018), there were 555 living donors (people who donated a kidney or a lobe of liver) and 762 deceased donors in Canada. The number of deceased donors increased by 56 per cent between 2009 and 2018, whereas the number of living donors remained stable.”

I was more than a little surprised to read the “the number of living donors remained stable.”

More and more people are being impacted by CKD, and everyone needs to realize that there isn’t a cure for it. Once someone is diagnosed with kidney disease, that’s it . . . it’s there and it isn’t going anywhere.

At some point there will dialysis and, hopefully, a transplant.

There are two ways to get a kidney via transplant — from a deceased donor or from a live donor.

The best option, of course, is from a live donor, and people need to understand that you can make sure a recipient gets a kidney even if you don’t have the same blood type.

I am aware of a number of people in Kamloops who are waiting and hoping for transplants — like Julie Dodds, who was featured on CFJC-TV on Thursday; like Vic Morin and John Casey, both of whom are regulars at Kamloops Kidney Support Group meetings; like Ferris Backmeyer, who isn’t yet three years of age but is on dialysis for about 12 hours a day, every day of the year. There’s also Zach Tremblay, a 16-year-old from Robson, B.C., who continues to wait for the phone call.

Let’s say that you are a friend of Julie’s and would love to help, but you aren’t the same blood type. That being the case, you might still be able to give your kidney to someone else — yes, it might even be a complete stranger — while Julie would get a kidney from another person, who might be another stranger.

That is how the Living Kidney Donor Program works — aka Live Donor Exchange Program.

That is exactly how Dorothy, my wife, got her new kidney on Sept. 23, 2013. Her best friend was adamant that she wanted to give a kidney to Dorothy. However, the friend wasn’t a match. Both names went into the exchange program and in time matches were found and transplants were done.

If you are interested in more information, here you go:

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

——

Sam Thompson of Global News has more right here on the CIHI report. He spoke with Dr. Faisal Siddiqui of Transplant Manitoba, who told him that there still is a stigma when it comes to families talking about death and organ donation. “It’s a human nature aspect,” Dr. Siddiqui said, “that we just don’t like sitting around the kitchen table and saying, ‘when I die, this is what I want out of life, or what I want for me.’ ” . . . Dr. Siddiqui also explained that not everyone is able to be an organ donor. . . . That complete story is right here.


I have written here previously on the story involving Catherine Pearlman, and Monica and Eli Valdez. You may recall that Catherine was in a Los Angeles-area coffee shop one day when she saw a flyer that had been placed there by Monica, whose husband, Eli, needed a kidney. . . . Yes, Catherine ended up donating a kidney. . . . If you click right here, you will find a video in which the three of them tell their story. It’s worth the three-plus minutes to give it a watch. (Full disclosure: The video was put together by Hyundai, but it isn’t a commercial. Catherine drives a Hyundai. Oh, so do I.)

BTW, I am aware of two similar stories right here in Kamloops, both of which involve women who each gave a kidney to strangers. Susan Duncan’s story is right here, while Cheryl Vosburgh’s can be found right here.

Talking kidneys with Freda, Howard, Dorothy and Jill. . . . Update on Vic Morin’s situation. . . . Kamloops Walk on Sunday

With Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk set for Sunday, my wife, Dorothy, along with friends Freda and Howard Brown, got together with Jill Sperling of Kamloops TV station CFJC on Thursday. OK, I was there, too.

We met at McDonald Park, the site of the Walk, where we chatted about kidneys, transplantation, dialysis and the Kidney Walk.

Dorothy had her transplant six years ago, after almost four years of peritoneal dialysis. Freda recently began doing hemo-dialysis; she does three runs a week at Royal Inland Hospital. Howard was hoping to donate a kidney to his wife and spent the past nine months undergoing all of the necessary tests. However, one of the tests turned up a kidney stone, so he has been disqualified, at least for now.

There’s all that and more in this piece right here.

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In the TV piece referred to above, Howard Brown points out that if you are considering being a live kidney donor, you shouldn’t wait because the testing process takes some time.

But, at the same time, if the medical team finds any issues with your health, they will be dealt with ASAP. In Howard’s case, he already is being put in touch with a specialist in Kamloops and is hoping to have the kidney stone removed so that he can get back into a process that, hopefully, will end with him being a donor for his wife, Freda.

That brings us to Vic Morin, a friend who lives in the Dallas area of Kamloops and who also is in need of a kidney.

Vic has been a regular at Kamloops Kidney Support Group meetings for a while now, and was preparing to begin peritoneal dialysis (PD) in the near future. That is the same form of dialysis that my wife, Dorothy, did before she was fortunate enough to get a kidney from a live donor.

Because Dorothy had experience with PD, she and Vic have had many conversations over the past months. And we were quite excited to hear last week that he was to have a catheter surgically placed into his peritoneal cavity next week. That meant he was one giant step closer to beginning PD.

(BTW, someone who does PD hooks up to a machine called a cycler and does a fluid exchange seven nights a week while sleeping — toxic fluid out, clean fluid in, to be carried around all day in that cavity.)

Unfortunately, Vic’s kidney function deteriorated so rapidly that he was to begin hemo-dialysis on Friday. However, things now have been moved to Monday. He still is on schedule to have a catheter surgically installed on Wednesday so that he can begin training for peritoneal dialysis.

While all this is happening, the search continues for a live donor.

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One of the reasons that I stopped writing about hockey here and turned mostly to renal-related items is that a lot of education is needed when it comes to kidney disease, dealing with kidney disease, organ donation and transplantation. . . . If I am able to provide enlightening information in this space I will be more than pleased. . . .

A few things you should know . . .

There is no cure for kidney disease. Once you have been diagnosed, that’s it; it doesn’t go away.

A person who has had a kidney transplant isn’t cured. For example, Dorothy takes anti-rejection drugs twice a day in order to keep her system from rejecting the organ that is foreign to her body. Those drugs also suppress her immune system so there are some precautions that have to be taken as she goes through daily life.

Should you choose to be a live donor, you don’t need to be the same blood-type as the person in need of a kidney. Instead, you are able to donate through the Living Donor Paired Exchange Registry. In short, your kidney goes to someone else, but only on the condition that the person you want to help gets one from another live donor. This is how Dorothy got her kidney — her best friend gave a kidney to someone (neither she nor Dorothy have any idea who it went to), and Dorothy got one from someone else. No, we don’t know a name, nor do we have any idea how many donors and recipients were involved in that particular chain.

If you are being tested and an issue with your health is discovered, it will be dealt with ASAP. In Howard’s case, a doctor at the renal clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver got him in touch with a specialist in Kamloops in short order.

A donor will spend a couple of days in hospital — Dorothy’s friend had surgery on a Monday and was released from hospital on Wednesday. It is suggested that a donor take it easy — no heavy lifting, for example — for up to six weeks and then it’s full-speed ahead. I know of one donor who was back to jogging in three weeks.

A donor also will continue to be monitored by the medical community. Should there be serious issues with the remaining kidney, a donor would automatically go to the top of the transplant list.

And, yes, a person is able to live with one kidney.

I would never pressure anyone to be a donor. If you are at least thinking about it, I would only ask that you do some research.

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If you are thinking about being a donor, feel free to call the donor nurse co-ordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital (604-806-9027 or 1-877-922-9822), or email donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca.

Should you make the call and be asked who will be the recipient, feel free to mention Freda Brown or Louis Victor Morin.

Understand, too, that the people who work in renal clinics are big on privacy — I mean, they are really, really big on privacy. Everything you say or do will be kept confidential.

As well, a donor is able to change his/her mind and walk away at any time during the process.



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Don’t forget that the 10th annual Kidney Walk Kamloops is scheduled for Sunday (Sept. 22) at McDonald Park on the North Shore. . . . We will begin registering folks at 10 a.m.; we will go for a walk at 11.

Larry Read, who is so involved in our community, will be the emcee, again. Hugh KWlogo2McLennan and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor will be in attendance as the honourees for this year’s walk. When Hugh needed a kidney almost two years ago, Louis, his longtime friend, stepped up and gave him one.

As well, the Brock Central Lions Club will be on hand to provide breakfast — pancakes, sausages and coffee — by donation. A year ago, they served more than 100 breakfasts.

The Kidney Walk helps raise awareness about kidney disease and raises funds for important programs and services to help kidney patients in this community and others across BC and the Yukon.

Dorothy will celebrate the sixth anniversary of her transplant on Monday. She will spend part of Sunday taking part in her sixth straight Kidney Walk; she also helps Edna Humphreys and me pull the whole thing together.

If you would like to help out — Vic Morin is part of her support team — you are able to make a donation right here.

A plea from the wife of a friend who needs a kidney . . . Are you able to help? The info you need is right here

Vic Morin is a regular at our Kamloops Kidney Support Group meetings and has become a good friend. He was with us on Sept. 11, just last week, when he informed us that he was soon to begin peritoneal dialysis. With that in mind, he was to have had a catheter surgically implanted into his peritoneal cavity on Sept. 25.

But, when you have kidney disease, things are out of your control and can change in a hurry. On Thursday night, his wife, Colleen Bruce, made an emotional plea on Facebook:

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 — It’s been close to 8 months since I first posted our story in search of a living kidney donor for my husband, Vic.

At the time of the posting, Vic’s kidney function (GFR) was holding at 19, but over the next few months it began to drop quickly. On Wednesday, he had his regular monthly lab work and he now is at 6. Today (Thursday) was a very emotional day as we got a call from the Kamloops Kidney Clinic advising that Vic was in kidney failure and needs to start emergency hemo dialysis tomorrow (Friday).

He was scheduled for surgery next week to place a catheter into his peritoneal cavity (lower abdomen) so he could start peritoneal dialysis within a month after the healing was complete; unfortunately, his kidneys can’t wait that long and now he will have a central line inserted into his neck so he can start on the hemo-dialysis tomorrow.

I know dialysis will help but it is only a temporary solution like a Band-Aid is to a wound; what Vic desperately needs is another kidney. I have seen the immense drop in his energy level over the past few months. His zest for life is slowly disappearing as he knows he is slowly getting sicker and sicker.

As I am typing this tonight, I have tears running down my face as it breaks my heart because I know I can’t give him the one thing that will make him better — a new kidney.

I’m once again reaching out to anyone and everyone that I can in search of a living kidney for my beautiful husband.

When we were down at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver at the end of April to the meet the kidney transplant team, we were reminded by one of the doctors that kidney donors live a long and healthy life with just one kidney. They are thoroughly screened before the transplant and they will only proceed if the donor is healthy and if there are no risks to him/her.

Once they have donated their kidney, they are continually being monitored over the years and if any other unrelated health ailments arise such as, say, cancer or heart disease, it will be diagnosed earlier than the average person because they are being medically checked regularly and may have a stronger chance of overcoming the disease as it was caught early.

I’m hoping and praying that someone out there can give my husband the beautiful lifesaving gift of a kidney so he can have a long and healthy life. My original posting is shown below and it has all the information if someone choses to come forward and start the process of kidney donation. Thank you each and everyone for taking the time to read this UPDATE and once again, please “Share” our story so we have a strong chance of finding a living kidney donor.

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January 24, 2019

Dear Family and Friends:

This is a difficult post for me to write, but I truly need your help. My husband’s kidney is failing and he is in desperate need of a kidney donor.

My wonderful husband Vic was diagnosed with CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) more than five years ago and he has been monitored by doctors and nurses at the Kamloops Kidney Clinic, who have been extremely supportive over the years.

His kidney function, however, has been declining and he now is facing the reality of kidney failure. I have seen changes in him — tiredness, lack of interest in activities we both used to enjoy, and depression.

While dialysis is one option that can help short-term, it is not a cure. The average time on dialysis is five years, before total kidney failure. Our best option for him to have a long and healthy life is a live kidney transplant.

Vic completed his testing and is a good candidate. I completed all the testing to see if I was a good candidate for becoming a kidney donor, but unfortunately a call on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 from St. Paul’s Hospital informed me I am unable to become a kidney donor because of my own health issues. It was a very emotional phone call. I now had to tell my beautiful husband I could not be his saviour. We both hoped I could be a donor for him, but that is not the case.

Now, I am desperately reaching out to as many friends and family online as I can in search of that kidney, which he needs so badly. We are hoping and praying someone will come forward and consider becoming Vic’s kidney donor. The more who come forward for testing, the better his chances for a match will be.

Doctors indicate that kidney donors live a normal and healthy long life with just one kidney. Donors are carefully medically screened to make sure it is safe for them to donate. The transplant team makes the donor’s health and well-being a priority before and after donation. We understand donors don’t have to be a relative or be an exact blood match in order to donate. We understand this is an extremely personal decision and there is a lot to think about.

If you would like more information or to explore kidney donation further, feel free to contact the donor nurse coordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital by calling 604-806-9027 (1-877-922-9822) or by emailing donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca.

Vic’s legal name is Louis Victor Morin. If you call and they ask who the recipient will be, give them that name. Please know your inquiry, as well as the process for determining your eligibility as a donor, would all be kept confidential. St. Paul’s runs a very professional donor program and we will never be told if anyone has expressed interest in donating a kidney (unless you tell us of course).

Donors may change their mind at any time, even on the day of the transplant.

Thank you for letting me share Vic’s medical situation with you.