Murrayville resident Shelagh Brennan, seen here with her home dialysis machine, is trying, again, to find someone willing to donate a kidney, after two previous donors were ruled out following medical tests. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Murrayville resident Shelagh Brennan, seen here with her home dialysis machine, is trying, again, to find someone willing to donate a kidney, after two previous donors were ruled out following medical tests. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

A long wait for a kidney for Langley woman gets even longer

Two donors have stepped up to help Shelagh Brennan, only to be ruled out by medical tests

A retired registered nurse who needs a kidney transplant has twice had the frustrating experience of having a willing donor who had to be ruled out after medical tests.

So Murrayville resident Shelagh Brennan is trying, again, to find someone.

“It’s almost two years,” the 67-year-old told the Langley Advance times, “but it feels like an eternity.”

Her brother offered in August of 2020, but was ruled out after undergoing tests.

Then, a childhood friend she hadn’t heard from in years came forward in March of this year, only to be ruled out as well.

READ ALSO: Setback for Langley kidney patient

“I went into quite a depression,” Brennan recalled.

“It was really a dark time for me.”

She got through it, she explained, by letting herself “have those feelings” until finally, she gave herself a talking-to and said, “just get yourself together.”

That was when she decided to make another attempt at finding a donor through making a public appeal.

Anyone interested is advised to contact the kidney transplant nurse at Vancouver General Hospital by calling 604-875-5182 or kidneydonornurse@vch.ca for information.

“Please give her my name, Shelagh Brennan.”

Brennan is also encouraging people to sign a donor card, “now.”

Three times a week, Brennan undergoes kidney dialysis at home.

Brennan said she and her husband were fortunate to have an available room in their home that could be modified to accommodate the medical machinery she relies on.

“It was quite a process, with the plumbing and the dry-walling,” Brennnan related.

To prepare for it, Brennan underwent surgery in November to create a fistula to connect with the machine that filters her blood.

Home treatments are definitely an improvement on outpatient hospital visits at Surrey Memorial Hospital, she elaborated, especially during a pandemic.

Some hospital visitors “did not know how to wear their masks,” she recalled.

READ ALSO: Langley woman hopes for donor after sudden kidney failure

Brennan spends three days a week in the room with the dialysis machine, hooked up for three hours each time.

There is a recliner and a big-screen television.

“I usually watch home reno shows because my husband hates them,” she chuckled.

She will have a nap and a snack of an apple.

Dialysis leaves her exhausted for the next day.

“She’s out of sorts, exhausted,” husband Bryan Frazer said.

Because people can live with just one kidney, it is one of the few organs for which living donor programs are common. There are even programs in which multiple people can be matched up in a “ring,” if would-be family donors don’t match their relative, but do match someone else in need of a kidney in Canada.

Donors are eligible for expenses that they may incur during the donation process, and that may include testing, travel, accommodations, parking, meals and loss of income, done by the Kidney Foundation.

In 2020, the Kidney Foundation of Canada estimated there were 3,400 people waiting for kidney transplants in Canada, with an average wait time of three years and eight months.


Have a story tip? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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