Alain David: giving the gift of life, literally

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by: 

Kate Aley

We frequently hear about lives saved by organs from deceased donors, but far less about a quiet but remarkable group: live donors. 

Breckenridge’s Alain David is in his first week of recovery after having his left kidney removed and given to a total stranger whom he will never meet. This decision to undergo the operation was not a spontaneous one.

“I’ve had this on my bucket list for six, seven years,” he explained. "Laureen Bureau, a kidney recipient herself and volunteer for the Canadian Kidney Foundation asked me if she could talk to my classes [at Grande Riviere high school in Aylmer] about organ donation. She has been coming every year since, […] so I’ve heard the presentation about 30 times. One day I said, you know what, I am going to walk the talk. In Quebec alone, there are so many people who die while on the waiting list, while on dialysis. It was something that got to me.”

At the end of 2015, there were 856 people seeking a donor in Quebec; 613 of whom needed a kidney. During the year, 40 people died waiting.

Last week, David was the first of four live donors who underwent surgery.

“I feel like I got run over by a truck, but it’s easier for the recipient,” he said. “The new kidney is actually placed by the bladder in the front of the recipient’s body so they have to be very careful for the rest of their life. My remaining kidney will grow about 10 per cent to compensate for the missing one. When possible, you always give the left kidney because the tube that drains the urine from the kidney to the bladder is slightly longer; it gives them a little bit more to work with.” 

David’s kidney was tested for health over a five month period. During this time, other donors and recipients were being identified.  People who wish to donate to a family member but are not a match, are encouraged to act as a live donor for someone else and so a chain of donors and recipients is built.

David lost 45 pounds to be in the best possible shape for his surgery. “The doctor told me the healthier, you are the less pain you’ll be in and the faster you’ll heal,” he said.

Devising a 4.6 km route along a series of back roads near his house, David walked the distance to the Olympic Stadium in Montreal in 49 outings and returned in another 49.

After that, he traced lumber baron Philemon Wright’s path in reverse by walking 700 km from Hull from Woburn, Mass., requiring 155 outings.

“After the first time, I got so good at it I walked the route twice the day,” he said. “Once I was in Woburn, I decided to go to Monmouth, Ill., because that is where Wyatt Earp is from, a childhood hero of mine. This journey is approximately 1,885 km so I stepped up my distances to 18.4km a day. I stopped the day before my operation with 30 outings to go.”

 David intends to resume his trip to Monmouth as soon as he is able.

He was recently invited to take part in a National Advisory Panel on the living organ donation program in Toronto, where he plans to call for more information, encouragement and support for live donations.

“Everyone thinks this [my donation] is heroic… [but] the nurses and doctors that deal with transplant patients every day, they are the heroes,” he stated. “The people on the waiting list and on dialysis, they are the heroes. I am just a pawn that helped set some wheels in motion.”

David considered his donation simply as “the right thing to do."

"Just hearing about this, every year, I wondered:' how come there are not more people doing this?'" he pondered. "Through these presentations, I met people who had given a kidney who now run marathons; who lead normal lives. I thought, if they can do it, I could do it as well.”

David hopes that through this story, people will understand the critical need for organ donors. 

“I understand that being a live donor is scary,” he conceded. “But if you just sign your healthcare card, you could save eight lives with your organs and improve 40 lives with other parts of your body after your death. That’s the message I strongly want to get across.”

Comments

Live organ donation

A wonderfully inspirational story. Kate: specifically how do we find out about this? Who to contact? This topic would make an excellent community talk.

Thanks!

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Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

UPDATED: Quyon Community Centre

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●PUBLISHER'S NOTE: It was discovered after this update was published that the Municipality of Pontiac and the builder, Lalonde Cantin Construction (LCC), are locked in a dispute the full nature of which is unclear at this time. Despite multiple attempts to reach out to the Municipality, clarification of the causes of the dispute, as well as the dispute's influence on the completed project's delivery date or when the new community centre will open have not been forthcoming, and are therefore unknown. We continue to follow this story and we will bring you any updates as they become known.

Originally published on October 14th, 2018
under the headline
Work continues on Quyon Community Centre
by: Kate Aley

Everyone is watching the beautiful new Quyon Community Centre nearing completion with equal amounts of impatience and excitement. Final touch-ups on paint and drywall were being done as of last week, including finishing the stairs to the Mezzanine level.

Perfect waste management

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by: 

Sheila McCrindle

There is an old saying among environmentalist “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  This applies whenever solutions to environmental problems are being devised. Especially solutions involving human behaviour.  It means that just because a solution is not perfect does not mean it is not good.  Dealing with household organic waste is just such an example.

Free art classes: meet the teachers part 3

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by: 

Kate Aley


Get Art teacher Tanya McCormick, wearing some of her unique copper jewelry

Believe it or not, all of us have a naturally creative streak and these free art classes, hosted by the Municipality of Pontiac, are the perfect opportunity to dig into it. Next in our roster of Get Art teachers is Tanya McCormick who will be teaching on Saturday, October 27th at the Luskville Community Centre.

Free art classes: meet the teachers part 2

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by: 

Kate Aley

Get Art, the travelling art school based in the Pontiac, is fortunate to be able to offer all-ages classes again this year. Thanks to funding from the Municipality of Pontiac, the four classes across our three communities are absolutely free of charge for residents. 

Today we meet Luskville's Chantal Dahan who will be teaching printmaking in Breckenridge on Saturday, October 20th.

Free art classes for the municipality: meet the teachers

Categories: 

by: 

Kate Aley


Thanks to the generosty of the Municipality of Pontiac, four art classes are being offered to our community, absolutely free of charge. Details of the classes can be found in your fall activities bulletin, delivered in your mail box last week. Pontiac2020.ca interviewed the four teachers to find out more about the classes and the artists.

A Tale of Two Approaches

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by: 

Sheila McCrindle and Kevin Brady

See Also: When you live in a place without curbs, does it make sense to have ‘curbside’ collection of compost?

The MRC des Collines de Gatineau is comprised of 7 municipalities. The smallest Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette is small enough to be exempt from complying with the Provincial Residuals Strategy. The two most densely populated, Cantley and Chelsea, have respectively 83 and 60 people per square kilometre. These two municipalities also have the highest median household income by a considerable margin.

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