Every week you can find Debbie Onishenko sitting at her kitchen table checking out local flyers for best deal on groceries. But what she needs most, right now, is a kidney.
“It was slow processing at first,” said Onishenko. “You try everything you can to stay as healthy as you can but now it’s just progressively gotten worse and I’m down to only nine per cent of my kidneys left.”
Onishenko has been living with type one diabetes since she was 13. It’s what caused her kidney disease 20 years ago.
It is also considered the leading cause of the disease according to the Kidney Association of Canada. Onishenko is one of up to 60 people in need of a transplant in Saskatchewan.
But it’s not just a problem in the province. It’s a problem across the country. One in 10 Canadians lives with kidney disease
“It’s a multiple year waiting list to get a kidney transplant,” said Joyce Van Deurzen, Kidney Association of Canada’s Saskatchewan Branch Executive Director. “It’s really a bit of a health crisis because people on that list, usually their health is deteriorating.”
The province is hopeful that the overall number of people in need will drop. This year they were able to complete five thousand more surgeries than in 2021.
But Van Deurzen said the need for kidney donation outweighs the number of kidneys available and many on the list end up getting so sick they are removed because they are no longer eligible.
It is what inspired Onishenko to create a messaged decal on her car, in hopes that someone could possibly come forward who is a match.
“It’s really hard to talk to people about asking for a donation of a kidney,” said Onishenko. ” But this way you can get the word out and let people make their own decisions.”
Onishenko is hopeful by sharing her story it will help better educate people on the need for organ donation and its importance.
She has not begun the dialysis process yet but said the time to do so is near.