Kidney Stories

Tell us your story. If you would like to share your story about living with kidney disease, being an organ donor or transplant recipient, or being a caretaker, we’d be happy to feature it here on our Web site.

Other people living with kidney disease can benefit greatly from hearing about your experiences. Simply send us an email with your story, and a photo if you have one. We’ll edit your story, if necessary, and we can withhold your name if you prefer. Email us at:

Our Kidney Stories



Joe Amyott

I was in and out of hospitals from the age of 12, and had to go on dialysis when I was 17. My first transplant lasted 22 years.  My second transplant came from a living kidney donor, my brother Terry! It’s now been 10 years with Terry’s kidney. After a transplant you feel like you’ve been given a new lease on life. Every health issue is magnified for a kidney patient.  By signing the organ donor card, you will give someone  else a second chance at life. And if you’re unsure, contact The Kidney Foundation for all the answers to your questions.

Teresa Atkinson | Penticton

I crashed  into Kidney failure by ‘blowing mine up’ with high blood pressure  in 1984.  I was 22. I remember waking up in a hospital asking if I’d be able to go home and they said yes and from there forward I started on dialysis. Seven years later I was rushed to the hospital for a kidney transplant, which unfortunately didn’t work, so in 1992 my sister donated one of her kidneys to me.  In 1998 that kidney failed. I’ve been on nocturnal dialysis,  I’ve had 28 kidney-related surgeries, I am limited in how and where I can work, and I do not have the same energy level as my peers. I have been waiting for a kidneyfor 16 years and in May 2013  I was officially put back on the transplant list.  I would love to play and enjoy my grandchildren (Esmeralda 10, Euardo 9, Jamie 2, and one on the way), but I know that if I don’t receive a kidney in the next two years, it may be too late.



Ed Conroy | Trail

I’m an active guy. I’m a farmer with four kids, and several grandchildren now. My wife has a job that takes her away during the week, sometimes weeks at a time. Being on dialysis at the same time as calving cows and all that’s involved in running a cattle farm was challenging.  My wife offered her kidney in an exchange  so that I could have mine. I hadn’t noticed how badly my health had been until my new organ kicked in. Lots of people are ashamed  to talk about their personal struggles, but if by telling my story Ihelp get the message out about how important being an organ donor is, then it will be worthwhile. I hope that my kidney survives. It’s been four years now. Life is good!

Jasleen Gill | Surrey

My dad’s kidneys failed when he was 26. He received a transplant that lasted for 17 years. This kidney failed when I was in middle school.  I remember my siblings and I would often accompany him to dialysis and to his appointments. No one in the familywas a match to donate a kidney, so he was on dialysis for eight years before he received a transplant. Organ donation and kidney disease  are important topics that need to be discussed with the community. BC is known to have one of the lowest organ donation rates and this needs  to change. No one should have to wait eight years for an organ transplant.  People may not realize what a big difference registering to be an organdonor can be.  For me, it means I have my father with me.




Liz Hanuse | Courtenay

Imagine being in a room alone and being told your child/sibling or loved one may not live. The fear kicks in, the unknown, and then that turns to determination; determined to protect, fight and do the best that I can.  Then it turns out, I actually can give so much more.  My son was diagnosed  with a rare disorder at the age of 11 months; cystine crystals attacked  his organs — mainly his kidneys.  For 17 years we were aware that he might need an organ transplant.  I was tested  to be a donor. I remember to this day getting the call. Just before we got on the ferry,  I was told that I was a match for my son. He had his kidney transplant just three days before his 18th birthday. I remember the nurse walking into the room by my bedside to tell me:  “Liz, your son had both kidneys taken out and when yours was put in (snapping her fingers) just like that your son’s body accepted it”.  My children know my wishes when I pass. There is no greater feeling than to give life, sight, bone marrow, whatever can be recycled to someone  in need.  I have peace  in knowing that someone  will have another chance. I believe in paying it forward.

Kirstin Hedberg | Vancouver

I am the mother of a 4-year-old boy suffering from chronic kidney disease  who will need a kidney transplant in the future. He has a permanent  veinous access device in his chest, a g-tube for formula feeds and medication administration. We face frequenthospital visits and an unknown future. Logyn needs  a kidney transplant. He is on a very specialized diet which is very challenging for a 4-year-old. Even simple play dates are challenging as he has numerous medical needs  and concerns. Please  everyone, sign up for organ donation. It just takes a moment and that moment may save my beautiful little boy’s life.



James Lamele | Terrace

When my sister was diagnosed  with genetic kidney disease  and had to go on dialysis they tested  the rest of us.  I was 9 years old and from that time on I was followed by BC Children’s Hospital.  I had to go on dialysis when I was 15.   I received a transplant at 18, but unfortunately I had a rejection which meant I lost this kidney at 24. I’ve been on dialysis for six years now. Having to do dialysis is very time consuming.  The set up and run time and clean-up is approximately 10 hours, which I do five nights a week.  It also means I’m not able to sleep very well. I feel tired and not very energetic  many days. I hope that I will  receive a transplant and that it will go well and my life will be ‘normal’, whatever normal is.

Bonnie Leclerc | Prince George

After being in the hospital for three months, I was diagnosed  with a quick onset of renal failure at the age of 13. At 17 my kidneys failed completely and I spent two and half years on hemodialysis before I received a transplant. The transplant lasted 18 years. I enjoyed a‘normal’ life consisting of work, marriage and having two healthy children. My family and I have had to endure a lot over the years.  Daily travels of 300+ km on icy winter roads; my children had little support; I faced a lot of fears of the unknown; bouts of frustration, depression  and anxiety. Since I wasn’t able to work, we have financial constraints living on one income in a society that requires two, especially with the extra medical costs. In2007 I began hemodialysis again. I have been waiting for the phone call that a kidney may be available. I pray that I can live long enough to see my children get married and hold any grandchildren that are in my future. A transplant doesn’t just enhance  the life of the recipient; it is immeasurable how much it would mean for all of those who are connected to that one patient.



Mimi Luk | Richmond

I was unaware of how badly things had progressed until I was told that I would need to go on dialysis. That was shocking.  On a short trip to the States, I was having lunch with friends when my dear friend offered to be my donor. “I’m pretty sure the world needsyou” is what he said. I’ll never forget how that felt. I was speechless. Shortly after that we began the testing process  and were approved for the transplant. I had my transplant on Dec 3, 2012.  I was feeling weak and had little energy, and had no appetite by the time I had my transplant. Fortunately, I did not have to go on dialysis at all. I am so very grateful for my second chance at life. Live life, pass it on!

Ken Merkley | Victoria

I was assessed with chronic kidney failure in early 1980 and immediately was required to receive dialysis treatments. My first transplant lasted 18 years. My daughter Christina then provided me with one of her kidneys in February 2000 and it has been working extremely well since the transplant. On dialysis, I continued to work as an academic lecturer but I was forever tired and had difficulty being alert and mentally sharp, whichmy students  deserve. In addition, the dialysis treatments  caused  cramps, diet restrictions, a poor appetite and a feeling of being mentally and physically drained. I was worried I would have to quit working before finally receiving my first transplant which immediately turned my life around, leading to much increased  energy at work and in my daily life. I’d like to see the waiting lists eliminated, as has been achieved in some other countries,and that all kidney patients in need of a transplant will get one.



Randy Spensley | Nanaimo

I started on dialysis in July of 2000.  I faced some dietary restrictions; I had to rearrange my lifestyle to a degree  based on the 10-hour daily dialysis cycle, which I was able to do at home. Because I was working, I had to plan my schedule  in advance to ensure  I was able to do my treatment each day. On June 25th of 2012,  I received a kidney from a true friend and have never looked back.  I was given a ‘second birthday’ or at least this is how I look at it.

Mohan Tatra | Surrey

I was on dialysis for about 63 months. It is tough to be on dialysis for that long. It was very hard on my wife. She used to sit in the waiting room for about four hours every third day and she used to serve coffee to the patients while she was there — thanks! My message to the kidney patients is to hang in there, be positive, follow your doctor’s instructions and listen to your nurses and dietitian and take care yourself. Thank you!


Wendy Briere

In Memory

Wendy Briere recalls that prior to entering kindergarten, she had been diagnosed with what was then known as “Bright’s Disease”, an acute or chronic kidney disease that, if caught early enough, is currently manageable. Patients don’t necessarily progress to kidney failure. This was not the case for Wendy. She had needed two hearing aids when she was 9 years old. Nine years after having first gotten them, when returning to see if she could function without them, Wendy was immediately passed on to one specialist and then another – a nephrologist. She was sent for numerous tests. In her teens, when expecting to learn about improvements in her hearing loss, she actually discovered that her kidneys were failing. Within 6 months, she started dialysis treatment within a hospital setting...

Lonzo Lucas Jr.

In the year 1998, at the age of 30, I decided to join the Navy.  It was then and there that the medical staff discovered something terrible. During a routine urine test for protein, the results came back with a 700 mg/d reading (normal values for urinary protein are less than 300 mg/d). The acting physician, thinking this was a mistake, requested that I wait and provide another urine sample.  An hour later, the results were worse- 800- and it was at that moment the powers that be decided to ban me for life from the military....


Dr. Ken Hughes

Dr. Hughes’ involvement with The Kidney Foundation began in the 1960s when he first experienced kidney failure and started dialysis. From 1985 to 1986, he was National President of The Kidney Foundation and in 1990 he wedded Nancy Hughes, with whom he canvassed every March for The Kidney Foundation’s annual fundraising drive while they lived in Winnipeg...

Jean-Louis Clémendot

Mr. Clémendot has a mission: to demonstrate to other kidney patients that peritoneal dialysis (PD) has not taken away the freedom to sail. He hopes to be an inspiration to the 1,700,000 dialysis patients around the world and show that you can continue to live life to the fullest despite kidney disease... 






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