Former MLA to talk about kidney disease

Community Conversation on Saturday at aquatic centre

Former Rossland-Trail MLA Ed Conroy is a kidney transplant recipient and he wants to share his story, and more, with the region.

On Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., Conroy and the Kidney Foundation of Canada will be hosting a Community Conversation at the Trail Aquatic Centre to serve as a forum for residents. The meeting will allow people to share their experiences with kidney disease, ideas on how to boost the province’s organ donor list and listen to some guest speakers and experts.

Conroy received his kidney from a domino procedure where his wife, Katrine, donated a kidney to a stranger so he could received one in kind from a different donor. By sharing his personal experiences with kidney disease, he hopes to encourage others to share as well.

“A lot of people are reluctant to talk about their personal struggles, but it lets the public know there are people out there in need of transplants,” he said in a press release. “It allows people who have had transplants to support each other. It is valuable to those waiting for a transplant to know they are not alone.”

The meeting has the goal of increasing awareness for the organ donor list and to encourage registration in local residents.

“Every community in B.C. shares a similar story of needing more kidneys than there are available for transplant,” commented Karen Philip, executive director of B.C. branch of the foundation.

“The research shows that 95 per cent of British Columbians support the idea of donating a kidney to someone in need, but only 19 per cent are actually registered on B.C.’s organ donor registry. We want to change this story and invite the public to join the conversation.”

Conroy also wants to see more names on the organ donor list.

“Please get out there and sign up to donate your organs – you never know what could happen,” he said.

The hosted conversation is just one step in the process the Kidney Foundation of Canada is taking to reach their goal of increasing kidney transplant rates by 50 per cent over the next five years. Currently, there are 900 people in the West Kootenay Region suffering from chronic kidney disease and 30 people in need of a kidney transplant.

The Trail meeting is just one of 12 happening across the province to try and promote organ donor registration.