In Canada, there are approximately 4300 people waiting for organ transplant surgeries. 72 percent of those people are waiting for a kidney transplant. Last year alone, 195 Canadians died while waiting for an organ transplant. Only 1,803 transplant procedures were performed.
Kidneys are essential for the body to work properly. They remove excess water from the body or retain it when needed. Kidneys are a waste removal system for the blood and body, removing excess minerals, urea and creatinine as well as regulating levels of minerals that the body requires. Kidneys also produce hormones which regulate body functions such the making of red blood cells and regulate functions like blood pressure.
When the kidneys fail due to disease, disorder or injury and have reached what is known as Stage 5 (End-Stage Renal Failure) or ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease), to sustain life, dialysis or kidney transplant is required.
It is quite common for people to live a healthy life with just one kidney. In fact, there are people who are born with just one.
The transplanting of kidneys from deceased donors has a success rate of 85 to 90 percent after one year and last on average of 10 to 15 years.
From a living donor, kidney transplant success rates after one year are 90 to 95 percent successful and last on average 15 to 20 years.
The living kidney transplant is the most successful of all transplant procedures.
On August 19, just a month from now, a local mother and daughter will be a donor and recipient in a living donor transplant procedure.
Dollar Store/Bakery employee, Chantelle Hergott, a 22 year old mother of two will donate one of her kidneys to her mother, 42 year old Shelley Cooper.
Cooper’s kidneys have reached Stage 5 ESRD. She has been living on dialysis now for five years. A high blood pressure disorder that was unable to be controlled destroyed her kidneys, now functioning at about three percent. Kidneys working at less than 15 percent of normal are considered end-stage.
Cooper is on the Deceased Donor registry, but daughter Chantelle made the decision to give her mom a second chance at a healthier life. This will make the transplant happen much sooner.
“I wanted her not to do this,” said Cooper of her daughters decision, “I was concerned for her safety, but she is a very persistent girl.”
Hergott had actually wanted to do the transplant procedure when she was just 17, but was told at that time she was too young to do so. Now at 22 with the support of her husband and other family members, she is able to give her mother this most incredible gift. “I have the chance to give mom a better life,” said Hergott, “ my kids need their grandma and I need my mom.”
The ladies have undergone testing both at Princeton General Hospital and at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. “Everything is good, we match perfect,” says Hergott as she smiles at her mom.
Hergott will spend a few days in the hospital for the procedure and then return home. Cooper will remain in hospital for a while and will need to stay close to St. Paul’s for up to three months. The Spotlight will keep in touch and provide updates as they are possible.
Any healthy person is eligible to be a living donor—you do not have to be a relative of the recipient. If you are interested in providing someone you love or someone you don’t even know a second chance at a healthier life, talk to your doctor. More information on donor registry can be found at www.kidney.ca or www.transplant.ca.