Can you tell us what inspired you to become a living kidney donor?
"I currently live in Kamloops, BC but when I lived and worked in Vancouver, I became good friends with many of my coworkers at the Bank of Montreal (BMO). We spent personal time together including our shared passion for sports and participation in the BMO Fastball team. One of my friends Robert, had contracted a virus that diminished his kidney capacity. He came to visit me with his family around 2006 when I had moved to Kamloops and we noticed that he had an orange tinge to him. After testing, it was determined that his kidneys were no longer functioning.
When I went to visit him, he was quite emotional and advised me of the news. At that point, I assured him that I would go for testing and if I was a match, I would look at donating one of my kidneys. Over the span of testing and consultations for three years, it was determined that we were a match and the procedure happened in 2009."
What misconceptions do you believe people have in regard to organ donation?
"People tend to worry about living with just one kidney and having something happen to it. It is not widely known that one kidney can function just as well as two kidneys and that living donors can certainly live a normal life. Also, many people are born with one kidney."
What is the most rewarding part of being a living kidney donor?
"To me personally, I looked at helping someone avoid going through dialysis and improving their quality of life as opposed to just helping a friend."
Are there any changes in your quality of life since the donation procedure?
"I have now been with one kidney for 10 years and my quality of life has not been impacted whatsoever. A person, prior to donating should do research on diet and lifestyle – for example, avoiding heavy impact sports like football or rugby is beneficial."
What is your perspective on BC's milestone of 50 years of donation and transplant?
"Over the past few years, we have seen a welcoming increase in the public contributing as a living donor or donating their organs after death. As a volunteer, I know people do not realize the work being done behind the scenes of BC Transplant and the number of volunteers that are involved. With further knowledge, medical research and the potential for organs being created from the 3D concept is amazing. The future is bright. From being involved, I have seen vast improvements in all aspects of BC Transplant in getting the overall message across. 50 years is not only an incredible milestone but a necessary element to the quality of life for all people in need."