The live kidney donor program has been in operation at Kingston General Hospital for almost a year now.
Eight successful transplants have already taken place giving their recipients a renewed quality of life.
Doctors behind the project say one of the major benefits is the decreased wait time.
“People have to wait for a few years before they will be able to get a deceased donor. When you have a live donor, your transplant can be done within less than a year sometimes,” says Dr. Khaled Shamseddin, the project’s medical director.
The option of going through the procedure, from diagnosis to the recovery in Kingston, saves patients a lot in expenses.
Lynne Anne Anfield is from Prince Edward County and has a kidney disease. She says she has known her whole life that she would need a transplant eventually. Her husband Jim was her donor and they say the option of going through the whole process closer to home was a lifesaver.
“It would have been a huge expense if it was Toronto or Ottawa. I’m so thankful it’s Kingston.”
It’s not just a lack of time and money that makes travelling for care out of reach.
Transplant surgeon Dr. Thomas McGregor says sometimes the disease itself can make the trips impossible.
“A lot of patients have other illnesses that prevent them from travelling. They have to be dialyzed every couple days.”
Now that the program is up and running, the next step is informing the public on how the process really happens.
Donor Jim Anfield says the KGH team did a great job of laying out the whole experience and that it’s not as onerous as one might think.
“It’s the recovery time — once it’s done, there’s very few limitations that you have and then you’re back, hopefully with your lives the way they were before.”
Donors at the event were given a certificate and a medal commemorating their selfless lifesaving act.