A Calgary family is calling on Alberta Health Services to help their ailing father, who is in desperate need of an organ transplant.
While a number of people have offered to donate their kidneys for Amarjit Rakhra, the family said the province’s living donor program isn’t keeping up with requests and time is running out.
For almost three decades, Amarjit has played a crucial role in Calgary’s community, organizing and lending a hand to a wide array of local causes.
“If there’s a place to volunteer you can guarantee you’re going to see Amarjit there with a smile on,” said Ashley Wells, a family friend and coworker.
Despite a seemingly giant heart, after years of managing diabetes Amarjit’s kidneys are no longer keeping pace.
“My health is deteriorating. My other organs are suffering,” said Amarjit.
He has been hospitalized twice in the last month and a half. He’s now on twice-a-week dialysis as his family desperately searches for a kidney to save their ailing father.
“Slowly we’re figuring things out. But I guess slowly isn’t the way to go in this, right?” said his son Shubraj Rakhra.
“Understanding what to do to get a match has been like putting pieces of a puzzle together without instructions,” said Wells.
About a month ago, she created a social media push to find Amarjit a donor.
Many people were eager to help.
“It just melts my heart when I see 28 or 30 people responding, in which 8 are exact matches,” said Amarjit.
And despite willing participants, the family said the process with Alberta’s Living Donor Services has stalled.
“There’s never an answer when you call the phone number,” said Wells. “A lot of the people trying to match for Amarjit have been playing phone tag.”
The program needs to test each potential donor to confirm the match, with two candidates tested before trying others.
“If they’re spending three months on two and, God forbid, one is not a potential match, then another three months and another three months?” Amarjit said.
He may not have that kind of time. His doctor suggests his kidney is only functioning at eight per cent.
He’s no longer working and deals with constant fatigue, nausea and weakness.
Alberta Health Services said Friday it was looking into the matter.
Meanwhile Amarjit is biding his time, grateful for a community of people now also ready to give back.
“There’s a very strong support system I have,” said Amarjit. “And that’s a really great push for me to keep going.”
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