This was originally published as a Facebook note January 20, 2019. The picture is of Patrick and I on the family farm, west of Airdrie.
Over the last number of years, I, like many others have been faced with many obstacles, but through those times, I have tried my best to always respond: “how can I help.” I’m not sure how this came to be my default answer, perhaps it was a lesson learned while growing up on the farm, when I was taught the importance of helping no matter the situation. Perhaps it was in university when I learned about many of the great helpers in history, and the ways that their assistance helped to change the world. Maybe, it was in more recent years, when I was taught the value of helping those facing insurmountable odds and circumstances beyond their control, learning to hold their hands when necessary, and let them go when help was no longer required. Maybe I learned to help when listening to Indigenous Elders like Elsie Yanik who always actively sought out opportunities to help.
As many of you who follow me on social media are aware, I now have a stepson in my life, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I might teach him how to actively seek opportunities to help. I’ve been blessed with one of those opportunities next week, where I will give a stranger the gift of a kidney, while at the same time someone else gives my Dad a kidney to replace the one that doesn’t work. So if you don’t see me for a little while, or you next see me photographed in a hospital bed in Halifax, know that I helping someone, and they in turn, are helping my Dad.
If you would like to help, there are a few things you can do. First and foremost, take a few minutes and visit the Organ Donation Website and ensure your family knows that you to would like to someday potentially help someone with an organ transplant. Second, the program I’m participating in is called the Kidney Paired Exchange, which is facilitated through the work of Canadian Blood Services and the Kidney Foundation; you can find a brief description of the program here. In short, the program helps families who do not have a blood-type match for the person experiencing kidney failure to pair with another family in a similar situation. The program is fully funded through generous donations to the Kidney Foundation as well as through our world-class medical system. If you would like to learn more about the program, or donate to help others, please visit the Kidney Foundation’s Donation page. Finally, just take a few moments today, and tell someone, anyone, “I’m here to help.” That act will make you and them feel better.
See you all soon!