John Sinclair, with his wife Karen, is hoping a kidney donor will come forward. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Donors offer people way to get ‘their life back’

John Sinclair knows it’s only a matter of time before his kidneys fail.

John Sinclair knows it’s only a matter of time before his kidneys fail.

But the 108 Mile Ranch resident hopes before then, a live kidney donor will be found. It’s been a year since he qualified for a transplant, but the pandemic has slowed down the intensive and time-consuming process of finding a match.

“I have no way of knowing how many potential donors there are, or who they are unless they contact me directly,” Sinclair, 54, said. “A couple of people have stepped forward but, like everything, COVID-19 has put a big question mark in front of everything.”

Sinclair suffers from a rare genetic kidney disease that he inherited from his father, and has since passed on to his second daughter. He’s constantly exhausted with low energy and feeling unwell. Even so, Sinclair considers himself luckier than most: six years ago, he was told he had six months before his kidneys failed and he would have to go on dialysis.

A better diet, two to three litres of water a day and more exercise have helped but haven’t stopped his kidneys from deteriorating. His kidneys are now functioning at 15 per cent, but Sinclair won’t be eligible for a new kidney until it dips below 10 per cent – to ensure he gets the most out of his original organs before they are replaced.

READ MORE: Former 100 Mile resident looks for kidney

“It’s not if, it’s when,” he said, but added he feels fortunate he’s not on dialysis yet. He has managed to lose 40 pounds, but continues to work on losing weight and to do what he can to slow the progression. “It’s just one of those things you learn to live with. It’s not a death sentence. Some days you go out and you feel great. You take it one day at a time.”

The number of people diagnosed with kidney disease continues to rise, with one in 10 Canadians affected, which is more than four million people in Canada. The Kidney Foundation is committed to providing the educational resources, learning tools and community connections that can help ease the burden of living with this chronic illness.

Those affected by kidney disease are coming together virtually during Kidney Health Month to explore topics aimed at creating an environment that encourages Living Your Best Life with Kidney Disease, as its title reflects.

Sinclair said living with kidney disease hasn’t incapacitated him but it has affected his quality of life. He can’t take big trips or go far from home knowing his kidneys could fail at any time. He has to go in for regular tests and monitoring and be careful what he eats because even so-called healthy foods can be dangerous to a kidney patient.

Although the ultimate goal is getting a transplant, Sinclair said it took him a long time to go on the list because he didn’t want to put someone else through the process of donating.

Potential donors have to go through a multitude of tests, which consider everything from blood types and characteristics to medical history. It typically takes at least a year to find a donor.

“It’s a huge commitment – you’re literally giving a part of yourself to someone else,” said Sinclair, a former 100 Mile Free Press photographer and editor. “It was a difficult journey for me because I don’t like asking people for anything. I have a great deal of respect for people who do this.”

Even if he does find a donor, Sinclair will have to deal with possible rejection of the organ as well as the knowledge that a replacement kidney won’t last as long as his original ones. His father waited three years for a transplant but died shortly after because of complications.

Still, he is looking forward to the day when he can wake up feeling energized and ready to go out and explore or pursue his hobbies, such as photography.

“If someone is willing to give you an organ it’s your duty to take care of yourself and respect that sacrifice they made,” he said. “It would be great to wake up and have that energy. That’s what I’m looking forward to – I’m going to go out and enjoy life today because I feel good. It’s a way of getting your life back.”

Anyone interested in being a potential donor for Sinclair can contact the Vancouver General Hospital Pre-Transplant Clinic at 1-855-875-5182 to request a transplant information package outlining what is involved in being a donor.


@ksinoski
kelly.sinoski@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

John Sinclair, with his wife Karen, is hoping a kidney donor will come forward. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

John Sinclair, with his wife Karen, is hoping a kidney donor will come forward. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Just Posted

(Black Press files)
Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. McDonald, QC reviewed the evidence and determined reasonable grounds exist to believe in officer may have committed offenses. (Black Press files)
Crown considering charges against Williams Lake Mountie after high-speed pursuit: police watchdog

IIO says the man, who was arrested, sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries from the incident

An RCMP cruiser flashes its light as it speeds up Highway 97. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Officers suffer minor injuries after a fight with a prohibited driver

The 44-year-old man resisted arrest and shoved an officer to the ground

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Ken Jensen is launching a campaign to keep access to his audio library books. (Photo submitted).
White Cane Club president lobbies to preserve audio book access

Ken Jensen is urging others to send letters to federal government to preserve funding for CELA.

Sarah Smith is a bereavement worker with 100 Mile Hospice. (Kelly Sinoski - 100 Mile Free Press).
‘Grief never goes away’: Hospice seeks to add programs

Growing demand for bereavement services in the South Cariboo region.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

A large illuminated heart was installed on the roof of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital May 1, 2020. (VJH Foundation photo)
Three deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreak in Vernon hospital

Interior Health reports two additional deaths at VJH

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Most Read