A Kamloops man in need of a kidney has taken his search on the road.
Louis Vic Morin has chronic kidney disease (CKD) and to find a living donor, he and wife Colleen Bruce have added a decal to the back window of their black Mazda.
It reads: “I need a kidney,” along with Morin’s B-positive blood type and contact phone numbers.
“Vic’s been driving all over town trying to get the word out,” Bruce said with a laugh.
The couple lives in Dallas and, as they drive around Kamloops, hope someone will see the message and make the phone call.
Morin has a rare blood type, making the search for a living donor difficult, but Bruce said if someone wishes to donate a kidney to her husband, they are not required to have a matching blood type.
Canadian Blood Services offers the Kidney Paired Donation (KPD), a national organ sharing program that enters donors and their recipients into a secure database comparing medical information to identify pairs that might be able to exchange donors.
Bruce said someone wishing to donate to her husband, but who doesn’t share his blood type, would add their donor kidney to a chain of pairings that could lead back to Morin.
“Basically, you’re giving your kidney to a kidney bank and then Vic can take a kidney that matches him,” Bruce said. “That’s what we’re trying to get across to people, also. You don’t have to be a B-positive.”
Bruce doesn’t have the same blood type as her husband and was hoping to undertake the exchange program, but her kidneys aren’t healthy enough.
The idea for the car decal came from former Kamloops Daily News sports writer Gregg Drinnan, whose wife is in the same kidney support group as Morin.
Bruce began making inquiries about the decal about a month ago and got a response from Jason Foreman at Picket Fences in Kamloops, who installed the decal for free.
Bruce said there has been plenty of positive feedback on the decal, but so far no one has made an inquiry on a kidney donation.
“That doesn’t mean that person isn’t out there,” Bruce said.
She said a doctor at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver told her that, given her husband’s blood type, he could be on the deceased donor waitlist for the next five years — time Morin doesn’t have.
“Unfortunately, he’s at the stage right now where that’s not an option. His kidneys have shut down and, eventually, dialysis isn’t going to sustain him,” Bruce said, noting a living donor is the best option.
Morin, who is 73, began his dialysis treatment in September 2019. About eight years ago, he was diagnosed with CKD.
His kidney functioning numbers, known as a glomerular filtration rate (GFR), have seen a rapid deterioration recently.
A GFR score of 15 or less is considered kidney failure and Morin has gone from a 19 in March to below 10, requiring dialysis treatment. Currently, his GFR is at a three.
Bruce said the past year has been hard on her husband, noting his energy level took a noticeable drop.
“He used to be able to go outside and mow the lawn and do this and do that,” she said.
“Well, now mowing the lawn is almost a full-day event. You don’t realize what your kidneys do for you until you have kidney disease.
For more information on live kidney donation, contact the donor nurse co-ordinator at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver by calling 1-877-922-9822 or emailing email@example.com.
For more information on the KPD program visit: bit.ly/3eZocAw.