Organ donor shares her family's story on 10th anniversary of transplant

Robin TeKamp donated one of her kidneys to her father Ben in 2007. - Photo distributed by BGH
April 23 will forever be a memorable day for our family filled with many mixed emotions. Ten years ago, in April of 2007, I donated one of my kidneys to my father, Ben.

Unfortunately, my father passed away two years ago but he was able to live almost eight years after the transplant with a much healthier and improved quality of life.

My father started experiencing complications from diabetes in 2004. His kidneys had both failed by 2005 and he had to start hemodialysis treatments. Our family would take turns driving my father to Ottawa every two days for his dialysis treatments.

At the same time my father started dialysis treatments, he also joined the long list of people waiting for a kidney transplant. We were told that the wait for a donor would be at least five years or more. Many people die each year waiting for a kidney transplant and my father’s health issues would make that long wait difficult. After being told by that his long-term prognosis was not favourable, I quietly started the process of being screened to be a kidney donor.

Donated kidneys come from one of two sources: deceased donors and living donors. Almost half of kidneys donated in Canada come from a living donor. Kidneys donated from living donors offer much better health outcomes and are a life-saving alternative to the long, uncertain wait list. A kidney transplant was my father’s best treatment option. After a transplant, you can continue to live a full life without dialysis
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