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

The kidney wait continues for Zach . . . Vic still waiting, too . . . Grand Chief recovering after transplant

Zach16

We all are going to remember 2020 for a lot of different things. You’re right. It wasn’t easy.

But what if your teenage son has kidney disease and needs a transplant? What if he has to travel four times a week to a hospital in another community in order to do hemodialysis for four hours at a time?

Well, here are some thoughts from Jana Tremblay of Robson, B.C., whose son Zach, 17, needs a kidney . . .

“2020 was a crazy year for all of us I think. Covid has certainly made life more challenging, especially for medically fragile people like Zach. We have had to adjust to some changes, but in the end we made it!

“As some may know, 2020 brought dialysis changes for Zach, which then brought two fistula surgeries and some life-scheduling changes as well. Instead of nightly dialysis, he goes to a Trail four times per week, four hours per run. So not fair, but it is what it is for now. Now onto the exciting updates . . .

“His first fistula wasn’t successful, so another attempt was made in August (a little further up his arm) and we are pretty thrilled to say this one has been a success.

“As hard as failure is for you to all hear about, it’s very hard to live through, so we haven’t said much until we knew this one was working. Although there were concerns in the beginning of it possibly not maturing to size, Zach did the exercise and hard work, and it paid off, because his fistula is working well. We are pretty happy to say that he had his maiden voyage a few weeks ago, and three more since, all successful!! Woot, woot!

“They test run each line three times before using both together. He has had three successful runs (not without a few hiccups, but he powered through as usual) on the arterial line. . . . After three successes we transition to both lines, and once we jump that hurdle and he’s using both lines successfully, we can talk about removing his chest catheter, leaving him line free for the first time in six years.”

What exactly does that mean? Well, for Zach, it’s a big, big deal.

As Jana explained: “He will be able to swim in lakes, etc., play basketball like he used to, just lots of bonuses to it. We are SO excited to get to that goal.”

In other words, he’ll be able to be a ‘normal’ teenager in a lot of ways. And I’ll tell you what . . . this courageous young man deserves nothing less.

“But,” his mother added, “for now, we push towards the fistula full time, and keep pushing for a donor.”

Jana knows that it’s all a matter of “the right set of eyes” seeing the photo that accompanies this post and things falling into place afterwards.

When that happens, it will allow the Tremblay to “get past this dialysis stuff and onto life.”

In closing, Jana wrote: “Please continue to share his story, register to be a donor and be kind to your own kidneys.”


Vic2








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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be kind. Be safe. Be like Mike.

#beadonor

#organdonation

#organdonorssavelives


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


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



Vic2

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.

Sweden loses fourth coach to virus . . . Germany has another positive test . . . Sask. curling clubs, hockey teams hit by outbreaks


It has been confirmed that F Xavier Simoneau, 19, of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs and D Daemon Hunt, 18, of the WHL’s Moose Jaw 2021WJCWarriors  Wheat Kings tested positive during the Canadian national junior team’s training camp in Red Deer. Both players were among five players sent home on Tuesday because they were, according to Hockey Canada, “unfit to play.”

Jonathan Habashi of the Drummondville L’Express wrote that according to his information, “Simoneau was diagnosed positive for COVID-19 at the start of the junior Team Canada quarantine.”

Hunt told Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun that he found out he had tested positive on the second day of the quarantine.

“I got symptoms the day we went into self-isolation,” Hunt told Friesen. “I only had a sore throat for a couple of days, and that was about it.”

It could be, then, that at least four players tested positive early in the camp. Hockey Canada announced on Nov. 25 that two players had tested positive and that all players, coaches and staffs were to go into a two-week quarantine retroactive to Nov. 23.

F Ridly Greig of the Brandon Wheat Kings tested positive well before the camp and was late getting to the selection camp. He told Danica Ferris of Global Lethbridge on Tuesday that he hasn’t recovered completely and that his lungs still are weak.

Meanwhile, Team Canada held an intrasquad game in Red Deer on Wednesday night with White getting two goals and two assists from F Kirby Dach in a 6-4 victory over White.

——

Sweden’s national junior team has lost a fourth coach with the news that goaltender coach Nizze Landen has tested positive. That makes four players and four coaches, including head coach Tomas Montén, having tested positive in the Swedish camp. Anders Eriksén has moved up from the U-18 team to help Joel Rönnmark, the lone remaining coach on the staff. . . .

Germany suffered its fourth positive test on Wednesday, this one to F Elias Lindner. F Enrico Henriquez-Morales and F Jan-Luca Schumacher have been added to Germany’s camp roster.


The QMJHL, which is on hold at least until early in 2021, will have a trading window open on Dec. 20. The league has yet to decide how long it will last, but this one is going to be different because of COVID-19.

As Stéphane Julien, the head coach of the Sherbrooke Phoenix, told Jerome Gaudreau of the Sherbrooke Tribune:

“There will be a lot of clauses in all transactions. If our club decides to go ahead and aim for the cup, we could go looking for players by adding a COVID clause to the exchange by asking to get something in return if there is no series or if the season is limited to 10 other games. Teams won’t dare to pay top dollar for a player if the season is called off. There will be a few asterisks with each transaction.”


If you are on Twitter, feel free to check out Keith Baldrey’s timeline. He is a political journalist with Global TV in B.C. His account is @keithbaldrey. . . . There was a junior hockey-related exchange there with a number of people, including former SportsTalk host Dan Russell, over the last day or two.


“Nearly two dozen COVID-19 outbreaks were declared for Saskatchewan curling clubs and hockey teams or leagues in less than four weeks — including 10 outbreaks after the sports suspension was in effect,” reports Nicholas Frew of CBC News. “Five curling clubs and at least 17 hockey teams or leagues have had COVID-19 outbreaks since Nov. 13, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s (SHA’s) outbreak list.” . . . Ryan Demmer, University of Minnesota associate professor of epidemiology and community health, was asked how to avoid spread in those environments and replied: “Don’t play hockey, is the simple answer.” . . . That complete story is right here.



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

CBC News: Sask. reports 302 new COVID-19 cases, 5 more deaths.

CBC News: Alberta reports 1,640 new COVID-19 cases, 13 more deaths. Province to start rollout of COVID-19 vaccine for acute-care staff next week. There are 685 people in the hospital including 121 in ICU.

rdnewsNOW: Red Deer with 385 active COVID-19 cases.

CBC News: B.C. reports 619 new COVID-19 cases, 16 more deaths. The province aims to immunize 400,000 people against the coronavirus by March 2021, with priority given to residents and staff of long-term care homes and health-care workers.

CBC News: Ontario reports 1,890 new COVID-19 cases, which pushes the 7-day average up to 1,840. Of the new cases, 517 are in Toronto, 471 in Peel Region and 187 in York Region. The province also says there have been 28 additional deaths due to the virus.

CBC News: Quebec is reporting 38 additional deaths due to COVID-19. The province also has 1,728 new cases, pushing the 7-day average up to 1,629.

CBC News: 9 more cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Nunavut, all in the community of Arviat on the west shore of Hudson’s Bay. There are now 48 active coronavirus cases in the territory; all are in Arviat, which remains on lockdown.

CBC News: COVID-19 detected in wastewater in Yellowknife, government says. Anyone who was self-isolating in Yellowknife from Nov. 30 until the present should get a COVID-19 test.

Keith Baldrey, Global TV: A couple of months ago Washington state health officials thought they were getting #COVID19 under control. Here are their numbers for the past  week: 19,521 cases. 1042 hospitalizations. 166 deaths. And it’s getting worse.

Philip Rucker, Washington Post: U.S. records more than 3,000 deaths in a single day, a new high.

CNN: 289,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

The New York Times: At least 356,000 more people than normal have died in the U.S. between March 15 and Nov. 21 according to our analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is nearly 20% higher than what would be expected in a normal year.

yahoo.com: California Counties Run Out Of ICU Capacity; Predicted Covid-19 “Surge On Top Of A Surge” Hits; Deaths Spike Dramatically.

The New York Times: Arnie Robinson Jr., who won the gold medal in the long jump at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, died on Dec. 1 from complications of Covid-19. He was 72.

The Onion: South Dakota Unveils New ‘Come Die Here’ Tourism Campaign.

——

The U of Washington has halted all football-related activities because of positive tests. Its scheduled Saturday game against Oregon now is in doubt.


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


Vic2