Kid­ney donor found for lo­cal man after three year search

The Drumheller Mail - - News - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail

A Drumheller fam­ily who has been search­ing for a kid­ney donor for years is “in shock” after find­ing out this week an anony­mous Cal­gary woman is step­ping up to do­nate one of hers. The Vo­gel fam­ily got a call from the woman Thurs­day at noon say­ing she was a match and will­ing to do­nate one of her kid­neys to James Vo­gel, whose di­a­betes had caused his kid­neys to start to fail over three years ago. His wife Tanya says the woman had al­ready gone through test­ing to do­nate to a dif­fer­ent re­cip­i­ent, when it was found they were not a match. The Cal­gary woman was camp­ing in Drumheller re­cently when she saw the fam­ily’s bill­board on High­way 9 ask­ing for a type A+ donor.

“It was kind of meant to be,” says Tanya. “She said she creeped my Face­book and she kind of laughed about it a lit­tle, and then she was like ‘yeah, I’m go­ing to do this for you and the kids.’ She knows our story and we know her story, and now we’re just wait­ing for the day to come.”

James be­gan suf­fer­ing com­pli­ca­tions from di­a­betes over three years ago, when he started de­vel­op­ing vi­sion prob­lems and re­quired eye in­jec­tions and other treat­ments in Cal­gary. Tanya, James and their two pre-teen kids, spent many hours trav­el­ling back and forth to the city for doc­tors, ap­point­ments and treat­ments. James was put on an or­gan donor list, but with a wait time of about five years, the fam­ily de­cided to get proac­tive in their search for a type A+ donor.

The search started three years ago when the fam­ily printed bumper stick­ers, which slowly evolved into a board at the hockey rink, ad­ver­tise­ment on Hi-way 9 trans­port trail­ers, ad­verts at the the­atre, and then the bill­board that brought them to a donor -- all of which was spon­sored or do­nated by mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

“The com­mu­nity played a ma­jor part in this. It’s been amaz­ing to see a small town come to­gether. My phone has been ring­ing con­stantly.”

Surgery for James and the donor is sched­uled for Oc­to­ber 16, and James will have a long re­cov­ery time af­ter­ward.

“It’s been a long jour­ney but it’s not done -- we have a long road ahead of us,” Tanya says.

The fam­ily wishes to thank the com­mu­nity for sup­port­ing them in their search.


The Vo­gel fam­ily and the bill­board that ul­ti­mately led to them find­ing a donor for James.

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