by Kier Junos, Contributor
When they diagnosed him, he was extremely cold, never removing his jacket in the house. His urine was abnormal and both of his kidneys were operating at 12 per cent. He would probably die, unless he could get another kidney.
It means everything to Susan Hunt that she could save her brother’s life.
“You don’t need two kidneys to live,” said Hunt. When the body loses a kidney, the other one increases its operating capacity to compensate for the loss.
She’s been preparing for two years to complete the kidney transplant and she flies to her brother in Ontario this month. Now it’s just the crossmatching that’s left to do, to ensure her brother’s antibodies won’t reject her kidney.
She quit smoking, lost weight with the help of some coaches, went through ultrasounds, blood matching and more. But Hunt was never scared. She said the process has “been easy.”
She’s more scared of the possibility that her kidney will be rejected.
On average, it’s a five-year wait for a kidney. The process is meticulous and requires a near-to-perfect match between donors and recipients. These transplants aren’t cheap either.
Hunt is 60 now, and even by 16, she was already a registered organ donor. When her husband died, she donated his corneas and two people got to see again. She likes to think that she’s always been a giving person. When people broke into the Canadian Cancer Society offices, for example, Hunt’s security firm offered them free alarm systems.
Hunt is a live donor, and the organs of live donors are typically of better quality and can function longer than an organ from a cadaver.
Even if her kidney is rejected – which she said is unlikely at this point – she will still donate it. Doing so would bump up her brother’s priority in the order of people waiting for transplants.
In the meantime, the doctors told her that she’ll still be able to finish her bowling season and catch ZZ Top.