Inaugural ceremony recognizes donors from the Living Kidney Donor Program

News / General / Renal and Dialysis Care
By Meaghan Quinn

New program makes makes living donation a possibility for region

In a conference room full of patients, families and health-care providers, a hush falls over the crowd as one by one special guests  are called to the podium and presented with a medal and certificate honouring them for a selfless act. This ceremony, the first of its kind within hospital walls, is recognizing donors who have participated in Kingston Health Sciences Centre new Living Donor Kidney Transplant program.

“I’m truly taken aback and heartfelt at the wonderful gift that he’s given our family and it is an incredible gesture to have his act recognized in this special way,” says Lynne Anne Anfield of her husband Jim, who was one of four donors recognized at the recent ceremony. “We are incredibly fortunate to have this great program available in our region and it has definitely made a huge impact in my life and that of my family.”

Launched in 2017, the Live Donor Kidney program is a new service in our region. In a living donation one of the patient’s kidneys is removed laproscopically and implanted into a recipient who’s kidneys are failing. With careful planning, donors can help patients avoid the need for dialysis.  

“This event is important to not only recognize the donors who have made this program possible but also the team members who have put in the time, effort and hard work to get this program up and running,” says Dr. Thomas McGregor, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology and co-Director, Kidney Transplant Program. “This is an important time to celebrate everyone who has helped to bring this important service together.”

In Ontario there are currently around ten thousand patients who receive some form of dialysis and in Kingston alone there are approximately 400-450 patients who receive treatment in the dialysis unit at the Kingston General Hospital site. Through a live kidney donation recipients are able to stop dialysis, have a better quality of life, lead a more physically active lifestyle and have a longer life span.

“It’s important through ceremonies such as this that we raise awareness of the program and the incredible benefit it can bring to patients in our region,” says Dr. Khaled Shamseddin, Director of the Kidney Transplant Program and associate Professor of Medicine and Nephrology.  “We have patients on dialysis who, at some point, will benefit from kidney transplantation and we can now offer them this service without them having to worry about travelling a far distance or not being able to access care services for their donor.”

For Lynne Anne and Jim Anfield, being able to access this program close to home is what helped them with their decision to go ahead with the donation.

“Because we live just over an hour away, coming into Kingston for this opportunity was manageable for our family, whereas if we had to travel to Ottawa or Toronto I’m not sure if we would’ve been able to make that happen,” says Lynne Anne. “This is an incredible opportunity to our area that all potential donors need to explore.”

For anyone interested in becoming a donor, there are numerous supports to help you along the way.

“Going through this process as a donor was fairly straightforward and the staff were great at answering any of my questions and concerns,” says Jim. “They didn’t make the decision for me but instead gave me all of the information on my options to help me decide on my own what I wanted to do.”

At the ceremony donors and recipients had the opportunity to personally thank staff who were with them along their journey.

“From the first day of work up, to the day of surgery and afterwards, every single person in this hospital was unbelievable, they smiled, asked questions and were attentive and patient with me,” says Lynne Anne. “From the housekeeping staff who ensured my room was kept infection free, to dieticians who took my menu every day and the porters who helped move me safely around the hospital, I cannot express my gratitude enough.”

To learn more about the Living Kidney Donor Program at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, please contact the donor coordinator at 613-549-6666 ext 7838 or Arlene.funnell@kingstonhsc.ca