The Leitches Creek resident posted an advertisement on the online classifieds site a week ago with the heading, “Boost Your Karma.”
In the ad, Wilkie does his best at selling himself as the ideal candidate to receive a kidney from a compatible donor.
“I am a hard-working father of two, I don't drink, smoke or do drugs so I promise I will look after your kidney,” he stated in the ad.
Up until recently, he did have an ideal donor lined up but after eight months of testing it was revealed she had early-stage cervical cancer and had no choice but to bow out.
Out of jest, he spouted off that he should look for a kidney on Kijiji. Then, he gave it another thought.
“Within 20 minutes of putting the ad on Kijiji I had a response. I’ve since gotten 38 responses from people that have offered to get tested,” Wilkie said.
It’s an extensive process to become an organ donor. Numerous tests are needed, including to test for blood type and to test for antibodies.
Wilkie has an A-positive blood type and could also accept blood from people who are type O, which make them a universal donor.
Wilkie’s kidneys are failing due to a genetic condition that has caused polycystic kidney disease. He said it means he can’t look to a family member as a potential donor.
Despite the disease, the 47-year-old said his health has only started to deteriorate in the past three years with some muscle cramping and ongoing fatigue.
Having to start renal dialysis will soon become a reality since he currently only has nine per cent function in his kidneys.
Wilkie said he’s concerned how that’ll affect his ability to work as a corrections officer at the Cape Breton Correctional Centre.
“They’ve tried three times to put a fistula in my arm to start dialysis but it’s failed all three times, so I’m running out of options.”
A fistula used for hemodialysis is a direct connection of an artery to a vein. Once it’s created, it is a natural part of the body and provides good blood flow that can last for decades.
It can be used whether dialysis is performed at a dialysis clinic or through home hemodialysis.
“I wanted to do the hemodialysis through the fistula so I could continue to work, but if I go with what’s called peritoneal dialysis, a tube is inserted into the lining of my peritoneal sac and I have to pump fluid in and out of that four times a day. That would preclude me from going to work,” Wilkie said.
Faced with those limited options, he’s hoping the ad, which has already been viewed more than 5,000 times — with responses from people as far away as British Columbia and Ontario — someone will be the perfect match.
However, when it comes to the program responsible for managing organ donations and transplants across Atlantic Canada, Wilkie’s method of advertisement isn’t a recommended strategy.
The multiple organ transplant program based in Halifax only permits preplanned organ transplants from a live donor to recipient in the case of family members, said Capital Health spokesman John Gillis.
He said the program doesn’t permit arrangements where a stranger wants to give an organ to another stranger, which is termed “anonymous directed donations.”
“There are processes where people can do what’s called an altruistic donation, where they would say, ‘I’m willing to donate an organ to whomever might need it,’ and there’s a process through Canadian Blood Services to match people,” Gillis said.
Permitting anonymous directed organ donations would likely raise ethical questions, as well as the motivations of the donor, he noted.
Wilkie said he was unaware of that policy. However, he said he still intends to keep his Kijiji ad posted.
He said he will also wait for the test results of those people who responded to his ad so far to see if any have the same blood type, and then continue from there.
“Like the ad says, ‘You can get anything on Kijiji.’ I figured I’d give it a try.”