Date: Friday, February 22, 2019
Time: 7:00 PM MST
Home: Lethbridge Away: Medicine Hat
2510 Scenic Drive S.
Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 1N2
Three year boy receives the gift of life from his mom
Last summer two year old Kaidyn Fortin was admitted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital after he tested positive for e-coli. That rapidly converted into a life threatening disease called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), and started attacking Kaidyn’s organs. He began dialysis right away. “My son was on a very dangerous downward spiral. We almost lost him too many times,” says 28-year old Elicia, a single mom from Lethbridge.
In November, doctors told Elicia that Kaidyn’s kidneys would not recover and he would need a kidney transplant. She immediately began the screening process to become his living donor.
Kaidyn spent 15 months fighting for his life, undergoing dialysis, 14 surgeries and heart failure, landing him in the ICU at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary for four months. His journey included a hospital stay in Edmonton where specialists told Elicia her son’s heart function was down to 17 percent. “It was the scariest, and most traumatic time of our lives. We were not sure he was going to make it,” she says. “I am so thankful for my parents, and his step-family who were with us all the way.”
On July 25, 2017, Kaidyn got a kidney from his mom. “After his kidney transplant, his heart is back to normal, and he is doing so well,” Elicia says. “People need to know that organ donors change the ending to someone’s story, and make miracles happen. I don’t feel any different and only have a small scar on my tummy,” she adds. These days Kaidyn and Elicia are happy to be home again with their family and friends in Lethbridge. Kaidyn, a huge hockey fan, is dropping the puck at the Lethbridge Hurricanes game on October 27th.
Mother with no kidneys to receive a living donation from her son
From her outward appearance Jan Clemis looks tanned, fit and healthy – you would never know that she has been waging an exhausting battle with kidney disease for the past 25 years. Jan has Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) like her grandma, father, uncle, and aunt before her. And it doesn’t end there. “Both of my daughters have it, as well as my sister, nephew, and some cousins,” she says. “Fighting kidney disease is something we all share, and it’s definitely brought us closer together.”
PKD causes cysts to grow on the surface of the kidneys, rendering them unable to clean and filter the blood effectively. Recently, Jan’s cysts became too enlarged, and in May, surgeons removed both of her kidneys. Living with no kidneys means she does dialysis every second day. It also means she, her three children, and their extended family are breathlessly waiting for Jan to be scheduled for a transplant. Jan’s son Blair, and nephew Ben have both stepped up as living donors and are going through the testing process. “Organ donation is so important to our family,” she says. “The gift of life is really the gift of time with people you love. Words cannot possibly express what that means to us.”
Lethbridge husband receives the gift of life from his wife
It was May of 2011 when Tyler Hamilton’s life changed completely. He wasn’t feeling well, went to his doctor and discovered his blood pressure was sky-high. After being rushed to hospital, he learned that his kidneys were failing. The very next day, he started dialysis. “The doctors told Tyler his blood pressure was so high, he’s lucky he didn’t have a stroke,” says his wife Shelley, thinking back to that stressful time. Shelley and Tyler are the same blood type, so they immediately began the process of testing Shelley to donate a kidney to her husband. “I would do anything to make sure he was still here with us,” she says through tears. Their only daughter Alyssa was in Grade 9 at that time. “It brought us all closer together,” Tyler says.
The following year, on May 23, 2012, Tyler had a successful kidney transplant, receiving Shelley’s right kidney. “As a donor things went really well for me,” Shelley says. “I didn’t have much pain, and was out of hospital within three days.” Alyssa was thrilled too, noticing “mom’s kidney donation to my dad meant I got to go back to being a normal kid with both my parents, not just one.” The Hamilton family have become advocates for organ donation, urging people they know to sign up to be donors. “We were so fortunate,” says Shelley, “We hear all the time about people literally dying as they wait.”
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