ST. JOSEPH'S HEALTH CENTRE TORONTO TAP AMBASSADORS

john chow for transplant ambassador program

John Chow

I am very fortunate to be a recipient of a new functioning kidney. I feel that I have won the lottery. I like to thank the donor and family to make this possible.

I am a civil engineer. I enjoyed my 40 years of work in the construction industry. It was satisfying and rewarding.

My kidney problems were discovered in the year 2000. During a visit to my family doctor I was told that my kidney is failing. He set up a meeting to visit the St Joseph Heath Center in Toronto to see a nephrologist to assess my kidney function. The kidney was estimated to be functioning at about 20%. The next phase of my life will be changing to help protect the kidney function and get prepared for dialysis. I realized that I would spend a lot time on dialysis. I used this opportunity to set a goal of getting another kidney and prepare for dialysis with full gusto. I did not waver until I got an opportunity to have a kidney transplant.

When diagnosed with kidney failure, I was still working full time. I used work to keep my motivation and as a distraction while I was on dialysis. Lucky, I was able to do Peritoneal dialysis at home to minimize work interruptions. My employer also knew my health situation and went out of their way to accommodate my work life.

I spent the next 6.5 years on dialysis hoping for a new kidney. The call came from St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto that they may have a matching kidney available to be transplanted. I had the operation the next morning, August 2017. The transplanted kidney was done by a very professional team. I did not feel any pain during the operation or in recovery. I was in the hospital longer that the expected 5 days as my new kidney took its time to start working.

I am enjoying my retirement now. I am doing what I want to do. I have a life without dialysis and was able to take a cruise in the Caribbean that I really enjoyed. My deceased organ donner is my saviour. Thank you making this possible. I also like to give my thanks to all the caregivers at St Joseph’s and St Michael’s Hospital for their help in getting me a chance for the new life. I would also like to include the Ontario Renal Network and Trillium Gift of Life Network for doing their part. We made it. Thank you to everyone for their great work.

Please consider organ donation as an option. The donation will enable a part of you to be living on and helping someone in need. It is easy to sign up at beadonor.ca. I am a St Joseph Volunteer and I joined the TAP organization to help other patients who are in the transplant process which I have experienced. I have enjoyed all my interactions with different patients. jchow@transplantambassadors.ca

john dilalo for transplant ambassador program

John Dilallo

John woke up one day with pain in his leg. Having experienced a similar ache in the past, he stopped at the Emergency Department on his way to work, expecting it would be a quick check-up. To his surprise, routine blood work revealed an issue unrelated to the pain: he had late-stage kidney disease and would need to go on dialysis to prepare him for a transplant down the road. John was placed on the transplant list and began hemodialysis at St. Joseph’s. He made a commitment to never miss a single dialysis treatment – even if it meant scheduling appointments at clinics across Canada and the United States when he travelled. As his BMI was too high to be a candidate for transplant at his initial diagnosis, he also put himself on a strict exercise and weight loss regiment. John spent seven and a half years on dialysis. In 2016, John’s urology team at St. Michael’s determined he was physically fit for transplant. The call could come at any time. Over the holidays in 2016, John was about to have lunch with his wife when his phone rang. It was St. Michael’s, and they had a kidney from a deceased donor that looked like it would be a match. “After my transplant, I felt like I had woken up! I walked back into my life after being asleep for more than seven years. Who do I have to thank for all of this? My wife, St. Joe’s and St. Mike’s. I’m just a player on the team and I had great teammates. My doctors, my nurses, and my technicians: they’re all my teammates and we scored.” John is the Transplant Ambassador Lead at St. Joe’s. “There’s very little happening to people that hasn’t happened to me. It was not easy but now I can relate to people. I’ve been in the chair many times and I know it can be painful. If I can carry the load for someone, even for a few minutes, then I’ve helped. The person who registered to be an organ donor and blessed me with a new kidney is now part of my life forever. They’re always with me. If you want to be remembered forever, register to be an organ and tissue donor. If you want to be loved forever, register to be an organ and tissue donor. It takes a special person to register to be an organ donor and give such a generous gift.” johnd@transplantambassadors.ca

‘After my transplant, I had time’: a patient's kidney transplant journey

transplant ambassador program

‘After my transplant, I had time’: a patient's kidney transplant journey

John is going to be one of the first ambassadors in the Transplant Ambassador Program at St. Joseph’s and hopes to talk to patients like him who may be considering transplant as an option.
Read the full article here. . . .