Top News

Truro transplant recipient celebrates her good fortune at local kidney walk


A shock diagnosis led to dialysis and major surgery – but Mary MacDonald received a precious second chance

TRURO, N.S. —

Mary MacDonald had no idea her kidneys were failing.

She found out quite by chance at a doctor’s office 19 years ago, starting with a complaint about high blood pressure.

It ended with a year on dialysis and a kidney transplant from her sister, putting MacDonald back on the road to good health.

My sister gave me a gift of life and it’s perfect,” said MacDonald, who lives in Truro. “Before, I was confined to the house with the dialysis and everything. Now, I can go wherever I want.”

On Sept. 14, MacDonald joined about 50 other people at the ninth annual Truro Kidney Walk. Its aim is supporting Canadians living with chronic kidney disease and raising money for medical research.

Often, people like MacDonald are not diagnosed until another issue sends them to the doctor. There, follow-up tests reveal kidneys functioning at only 10 or 20 per cent of their normal rate.

“I felt terrible,” recalled MacDonald. “I didn’t expect it. I had no dealings with it in our family.”

MacDonald was lucky to only undergo a year’s dialysis at home. Many kidney disease patients need it for much longer while they wait for surgery.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada says only 50 per cent of people currently on dialysis will survive. Some people do not qualify for transplants owing to pre-existing health concerns.

One of them was Bill Hine’s wife, who passed away from kidney failure nine years ago. She was 85 when she passed away in 2010 and doctors said she was too old to safely undergo transplant surgery.

“She was at nine per cent efficiency and needed dialysis,” said Hine, now 95. “I had a complete loss.”

Before she passed away, Hines’s wife suffered an infection. This forced her to end home dialysis and undergo the procedure under hospital supervision.

“I was very grateful for the dialysis but it didn’t solve all our problems,” said Hines.

He could not walk the walk itself in Truro, but came to the event in honour of his late wife.

The Truro Kidney Walk raised $11,136 as of the afternoon of Sept. 14.

Recent Stories