More Canadians are in need of kidneys. But a new study shows not nearly enough donors are available to fill the gap.
Cheryl Simoens knows she’s fortunate her family has been able to step up for her.
She was born with cystinosis.
“It is chronic, so basically, my body is always attacking my kidneys,” she says.
By 10, she needed a kidney transplant.
“My dad so graciously stepped forward to donate to me at that point. I was 11 when I got my first transplant.”
Simoens counts herself lucky.
A new report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information says the demand for kidneys still far exceeds the supply.
In 2014, 1,430 kidneys were transplanted. But 3,473 people were left hoping. Sixty-seven people died waiting.
Of all the people needing organ transplants in our country, 77 per cent needed a kidney.
And as rates of kidney disease and kidney failure rise, so does the need for those organs.
There is some good news.
The number of people donating their organs after death increased 44 per cent between 2005 and 2014. The number of living donors was relatively stable.
And more people are donating organs to people they don’t know at all. 28 per cent of donors had no relationship to the recipient in 2014, compared to 15 per cent in 2005.
CIHI says that’s partly because the number of kidney exchanges are on the rise – where someone will give a stranger a kidney so their loved one can get one in return.
Simoens didn’t need a stranger when her dad’s kidney started to fail in the past couple of years.
“We luckily found out that my brother was a perfect match… this year the transplant occurred. It’s just an amazing feeling. It’s pretty terrible to go through kidney failure.”