Bill Gandy has been a lawyer in the Saint John area for decades and has fought for thousands of clients. Most recently, his fight shifted when he was told one of his kidneys was failing.
Without a new kidney, the threat of living on dialysis may be in his future, and as Gandy describes it, it would be like living with a second full-time job.
“Your new job is to do dialysis either (hemodialysis) at the hospital, or peritoneal dialysis at home, which is a very consuming life-changing way to live.”
Gandy’s fight took him online, where a Facebook page has been started in his name in hope of finding a living donor in the province. Moreover, his fight continues for others on the organ donor list in Canada, as he’s calling for a stalled bill to be brought back to legislature.
Bill 61 proposed in the New Brunswick legislature would provide an automatic opt-in program where it is presumed that a person would be an organ donor in the event of sudden death unless the person opts out of the program. A similar bill was passed in Nova Scotia in January of last year.
The N.B. bill was tabled by Liberal Health critic Jean-Claude D’Amours, but the PC government used their majority to kick the bill over to the law amendments committee for further study.
Gandy, who could be facing dialysis, believes it’s time to retable the bill.
“The bill went through a couple of readings, and it was sent to the law reform committee, and it was in a standing committee standing status waiting for further explanation and has been stalled, quite frankly, because of the pandemic and doctor’s issues,” Gandy said.
The Kidney Foundation of Canada estimates that roughly five-thousand Canadians are on a waiting list in for organs, with an average wait time of two to seven years nationally.
Gandy’s daughter Tawnie supports her dad’s advocacy for the presumed donor bill.
“I want my children to not only know my dad, but to remember my dad,” Tawnie Gandy said.
“You’re maintaining my father’s life. You’re maintaining our family unit. You’re giving my family the ability to know their grandfather.”
Overall, a new kidney for her father would be a new lease for their family tree, she said.
Bill Gandy said many donors choose to donate organs because they’ve had a similar experience in their lives with loved ones.
“It’s a part of life,” said Gandy.
“I’ve been to certain places where people have come up and told me they’re so sorry, and you feel like you’re begging when you’re on Facebook and social media,” he said. “But what I’ve said to many people, we all have to get older and face things in our lives.”
— With files from Silas Brown.