Ironman Triathlete – Kidney Donor

On September 17, I will be thrilled to spend my anniversary getting all sweaty and sticky in Grand Coulee.

In 2003, I completed the Ironman Canada race in Penticton, BC. At the time, it was the greatest moment of my life, and I have always been particularly proud of my 3:46 marathon in my first Ironman. However, it was not to be the greatest moment of my life for long. That year, I met my future wife, Laura. Sadly, when I met her, her kidney function was already deteriorating from Polycystic Kidney Disease. It was incredibly difficult to watch her as her health continued to deteriorate over the next two years. When we were married on September 17, 2005, she was on the verge of starting dialysis, as her kidney function had dropped to 9%.

And then a miracle happened. After 9 months of testing, on September 29, 2005, I received the news I thought I would never hear: I was going to be able to donate a kidney to Laura. On November 28, 2005, the greatest moment of my life happened when I gave a kidney to my wife. What an amazing thrill, to be able to save a life, and for that life to be my wife’s. Whenever I look back on that day, it brings me such great joy. The memories that we have been able to share together, and the happiness she has been able to pass on to her children, her friends, and her family, have been priceless.

The problem is that there are so many people out there who are in the same position Laura was. In BC, you can wait up to 10 years to get a kidney from a cadaver donor. In Canada, somebody dies every 4 hours waiting for a kidney that never comes. I firmly believe that if more people knew how great of an experience it is to be an organ donor, they would be thrilled to be given that opportunity.

And that is why I will be spending my anniversary getting all sweaty and sticky. I need people to find out not only what an amazing experience it is to be an organ donor, but also to see what somebody can do after they have donated a kidney. Although we have two kidneys, we only really need one of them to function on a daily basis. Many of us are born with one kidney, and don’t even know it. As for the transplant itself, I was out of the hospital only three days after the procedure. Within six weeks, any of the effects of the surgery were gone, save for the small scars from the cameras and equipment that were used during the procedure, and the three inch scar where the kidney was taken from my body. Now I can’t see the small scars at all. And physically, I can do virtually everything I could do before the transplant. The Super Tri is a perfect way to show people physically what I can still do. I am hoping to use this event as a springboard to Ultraman Canada in 2012, the ultimate test of a person’s physical abilities.

I encourage each and every one of you who are participating in the Grand Columbian Triathlon Festival to reach out and do something you may have never dreamed of: saving a life. Trust me, it will be the greatest experience of your life.