Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the News

One of the curious onlookers
while my segment was filmed
Yesterday morning I received a call from GlobalTV here in Calgary asking if I wanted to do an interview about my Kidney Donation. The reporter, David Boushy, had initially contacted me back in January about doing a story or perhaps a series of stories, following me through the testing period. As he researched the story and contacted all the parties involved, including Alberta Health, the whole blog ban ensued. I stopped blogging, Global had to opt out of doing a story and the rest, as they say is history-water under the bridge.

Despite being very nervous and it being kind of short notice, I met David and his cameraman (whose name I have totally forgotten-sorry!) near the river, not far from where I work. It was right at the start of the lunch hour so we had several gawkers-runners, walkers, squirrels-all wondering what I was being filmed for. Doing the interview itself wasn't too bad-I found most of the questions pretty easy to answer (Why did you decide to donate a kidney, would you do it again, how are you feeling, what did your family think, were they supportive)). They asked about the whole blogging ban a few different ways. Because it didn't come out clearly on the final segment which aired I want to be clear for the record:

The ultimatum I was given to stop blogging or it would affect my donor eligibility was unfortunate. While its origins are still a little unclear, I think the situation highlighted the needs for improved communication between Canadian Blood Services, Alberta Health and the program itself. I do not however believe it is a reflection of the integrity, compassion or professionalism of the living donor program at Foothills or any staff involved in supporting that program. It did not have a enormous negative impact on my experience although it certainly was a sizeable bump in the road. In the end it did work out for everyone involved. It was a learning experience and I hope that we'll get to a point where we can balance  medical privacy and risk aversion with the need for living donation awareness. It is also important that organizations like Alberta Health start to recognize that people can get a great deal of support, care and information from participating in online communities and work with, rather than against them.

Blogging aside (are we still talking about that????) I think the segment does a good job of highlighting the need and the benefits of living donation. I do believe that everyone does have the ability within them to help another human being the way Jody (featured in this video) and I did. There is nothing superhuman about me-I'm an everyday person. I'm not in perfect shape. I sometimes eat bad food and drink the odd "adult" beverage. I don't spend all my time looking for ways to help other people and just like everyone else I have my off days (you know, those days you press the door close button on the elevator even though you are pretty sure someone is headed towards the elevator). My point is that more people could do this (assuming they are medically fit), with relative ease. It's within most people's reach.

I hope this news story goes a little ways toward making at least one person consider living donation. My decision was based on a host of factors and influences-maybe this will be one for someone else.


  1. That poor squirrel! You were awesome though. You have become such an advocate! If you ever need me to freak-out for you while you are off being a tv star, just let me know!

  2. "Stop blogging about the experience or opt out of the program." Wow. Interesting.

    Love that you did that. LOVE.

    Love that you called your left kidney, "lefty" too.

    DJ Waldow
    "Good Deed Doer"

  3. Thanks DJ for spreading the word so much over the past few days-it is appreciated a ton!
    And thanks "Sally" as always for freaking out on my behalf

  4. Just shared on Twitter too, Lauren. Amazing. You are amazing.