Colleen Bruce and her husband, Vic Morin, have been trying to raise awareness about live organ transplants.
It’s not just because March is National Kidney Month and March 15 is World Kidney Day.
It’s because Morin is suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) and needs a kidney transplant.
“There’s two major factors that lead to CKD,” Bruce said.
“One of them is high blood pressure, which is what he had, untreated too long. And the other one is diabetes. Those are the two major ones.”
“My problem was from quite a while ago,” Morin told KTW.
“I had high blood pressure, but it wasn’t treated properly and it damaged the filter system.”
Though Morin’s situation isn’t currently desperate, the couple has have been urged to start the process of finding a live donor as it can take some time to connect with a correct match.
In addition, once kidney functions start to diminish, they don’t improve again.
“Last June, his numbers started to really drop,” Bruce said.
“He’s at 19 GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and that’s your kidney function, so it’s like a percentage of what your kidney’s doing.”
A GFR score of 15 or less is considered kidney failure.
Since Morin’s brother and wife weren’t suitable candidates for kidney donation, he has had to start looking to a larger circle of potential donors, which has been challenging.
“It’s very awkward to go and try to ask someone to be a donor,” Morin said. “That’s the hardest part.”
Added Bruce: “Reaching out to his family, his nieces and nephews, he’s really having a difficult time with that.”
They are hoping to draw attention to the Kidney Paired Donation Program, a unique system that allows you to donate a kidney to someone you know, even if your kidney may not actually be a match.
Donors and their recipients are entered into the Canadian Transplant Registry, a secure database maintained by Canadian Blood Services.
The registry compares medical information and identifies pairs that might be able to exchange donors.
Bruce and Morin also want people to know it is possible to live long and healthy lives with only one kidney.
“That would be the thing, to take the fear away from being a donor,” Morin said.
“Because I think if people understood that quite clearly, they may not hesitate as much.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anybody interested in donating specifically to Morin, note his full legal name is Louis Victor Morin.
All inquiries and eligibility tests are confidential and donors can change their minds at any time.