I Became An Organ Donor After Losing My Son To Kidney Disease

Huffington Post Canada | Michelle McKinnon, Mother, wife, living kidney donor

June 8, 2011 was supposed to be a new beginning for my family. It was the day I was going to save my son's life by giving him one of my kidneys. Instead, after suffering a stroke three days earlier, it was the day David died.

David's journey

David was born with a missing heart valve, the first of his many health challenges. At 15, he nearly lost his life from a major gastrointestinal bleed and had to have 2.5 feet of his small bowel removed. We thought this complication was the root of David's challenges and now that it had been addressed, we were hopeful he would finally know good health. David never recovered though; in fact, he got worse.

It turned out David was part of the 10 per cent of Canadians living with kidney disease and, like most families, we didn't know it. At the young age of 16, David was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease of an unknown cause. We were told that he would require at least two kidney transplants in his lifetime and dialysis was likely.

Together, we did everything in our power to try to slow the progression of this fatal disease. But in less than a year, at the age of 17, David was dying. He was in Stage 5 renal failure with less than 15 per cent kidney function; without emergency peritoneal dialysis, he would die in about a month. Continue reading