Frontenac Local News | Hollie Pratt-Campbell
Newly elected co-chair of the local Transplant Advocate Association (TAA), Joan Benoit, wants these people to know that support is there if they need it. She understands first-hand what it's like to be in this kind of situation, and helps to lead a support group through the TAA for all those whose lives have been affected by transplants.
Two years ago, Benoit received a kidney donation from her son, Jean Paul, in order to help control her nephritis.
"My story is not as intense as some stories but with my condition...my blood was full of all kinds of toxins that should have been gone long ago," she says. "And when I woke up after the surgery I knew right away that I was better. With a kidney it's immediate like that. It was excellent."
Still, Benoit was required to wait until her kidneys were functioning at nine per cent - compared to 100 per cent in a completely healthy person - before she qualified as a candidate for a transplant. While she was living in New Brunswick at the time, she notes that regulations are similar across Canada.
She points out that waiting to be told you're a candidate for a transplant can be a difficult and painful experience, as you're just basically just sitting around waiting to reach the requisite level of sickness. Talking with others who have had the same experience can be extremely comforting.