Sharing the gift of life
Summerside man calling for community to participate in Kidney Foundation later this month
If you were to ask Matt MacFarlane what his most life-changing moment was, there would be no hesitation in his answer. On July 5, 2001, MacFarlane got his life back after receiving the gift of a kidney from his sister Rosie. When he was 12 years old, his family doctor noticed some concerning results in his blood work. More tests were done, and the diagnosis of kidney disease was confirmed. His kidneys were failing and would continue to fail. For the next 14 years he would watch his diet, avoid activities that could cause harm to his kidneys and have regular checkups. However, by 2001 the inevitable occurred: he had grown weaker and thinner, was exhausted much of the time, was not able to think with a clear mind and regularly suffered from nausea. He was barely able to work and unable to enjoy time with friends and family. Fortunately for him, he had three sisters who had begun the process to see if they were a match to donate a kidney. All three were matches, but Rosie was the one to donate the organ. “For the past 17 years, I have enjoyed a level of health that was not available to me in the years leading up to my transplant, and would not have been available to me otherwise,” said MacFarlane. “I have been able to return to P.E.I. and create a home with my wife, pursue my career in law, and volunteer my time with the Kidney Foundation of Canada and other organizations. I have been able to exercise, eat the foods I want and travel to places around the world. The gift that I received has enabled me to live a normal life, unattached to dialysis machines, working, contributing and enjoying all that life has to offer. “On Sept. 23, MacFarlane will participate in the Summerside Kidney Walk, an annual fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. “Funds raised through our Kidney Walks will help support the one in 10 Canadians who are affected by kidney disease,” says Marlene Dorey, Development Coordinator, The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Atlantic Branch. “But, as anyone who has been personally affected can attest, prevention, education and treatment methods can still be vastly improved. Unfortunately, the rate of people with kidney disease continues to grow at an alarming rate, and there is an urgent need to do more.” The walk will be held at Credit Union Place and registration begins at 1 p.m. with the walk beginning at 2 p.m. For more information go to www.kidneywalk.ca.
Matt MacFarlane, left, with sister Rosie. Rosie donated her kidney to Matt after learning she was a match for him. Matt dealt with kidney failure and the ramifications of the disease.