Alain David: giving the gift of life, literally



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.”


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.


Kidney donor

I am deeply impressed by Alain David. My husband has been on dialysis for two years hoping for the miracle. In September, I will go to Grande Rivière High School and meet Alain David to give him a big hug and tell him how a wonderful human being he is. My husband Klaus is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.


Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Celebrating weeds (not weed)


Look what I found in a particularly weedy part of my garden: the first Monarch caterpillar I've seen a very very VERY long time.






I found that chubby little fellow lurking on a blade of grass so I moved him to this leaf, where he lay like a slug for quite a long time. Then I saw that he'd done a neat u-turn. Then I saw he'd eaten a patch of the leaf and taken off like a maniac. No idea where went. Looked everywhere. So I assume he's out there.

Let your milkweed grow. 

Creative summer art classes



Kate Aley

Get some colour into your life this summer with bright new art courses at the Pontiac School of the Arts in Portage du Fort. This year, classes include watercolour painting, printmaking, screen writing and floor cloths (a durable painted canvas mat). 

Now in it's 14th year, the Pontiac School of the Art's mission is to inspire creative discovery in everyone.

For Over 8 MONTHS We’ve Had NO Emergency Route



Ashley Graveline



As someone who lives on Baie road and heads up to Quyon often, it really starts to hit how long Alary road has been washed out — and how annoying it is to detour around to head up to Quyon, Shawville etc.

The beginning of everything: "Origins" watercolour show opens



Kate Aley

You are invited to an extraordinarily moving exhibition of new work by renowned Luskville painter, Ruby Ewen.

Entirely painted in watercolour, the pieces immerse the viewer into multiple magical realms of creationism, imagination and classic myth.

Show runs: Friday, June 22 (opening event, 6 -- 8 p.m.) to July 22, 2018

Site: Stone School Gallery, 28 Mill St., Portage du Fort.

Cooking meets trucking at new restaurant



Kate Aley

After two years of extensive renovations, Au Coin du Camionneur, also known as Trucker's Corner, opened in Luskville on Sunday June 17. 

Owners Benoit Galipeau and Robert Bergeron have completely reconfigured the building at the corner of the Eardley-Masham Road and Highway 148. New lighting, comfortable seating and large windows that open onto a breezy patio create an inviting ambience.

Building a new future for Pontiac with slaughterhouse project



Kate Aley

After five years of planning, construction has now started on the Les Abattoir les Viandes du Pontiac. Set on five acres on the outskirts of Shawville, the slaughterhouse is the brainchild of Quyon entrepreneur Alain Lauzon and three partners, Sofian Elktrousie, Ibrama Diagne and promoter Gilles Langlois.

“We are aiming to be open by end of October,” said Lauzon last week, as he watched forms being set for more concrete to be poured.

Turtle S.O.S.: Save Our Shells!


Trouble in paradise.

It's June and that means those crazy turtles are once again roaming dirt side roads and busy highways alike; intent on finding mates, water and good nesting places as they have always done, paying no mind to the deadly wheels zooming past. I stop for a lot of turtles at this time of the year and so far we have all lived to fight another day. However I have never seen a turtle stuck in the bone-dry and baking-hot rink at the Luskville Community Centre before. Bad turtle terrain for sure.

Open letter to the Municipality of Pontiac recognizing the work of our municipal firefighters



Sandra Barber

To whom it may concern:

Re: Recognition of volunteer Firefighters

While sitting at our dining table enjoying our first coffee of the day on Sunday, May 20 at 6 a.m., my husband and I both heard a very loud “thunk” and wondered what the heck it was. Curiosity motivated my husband to investigate further; he checked our basement, nothing amiss. Checked the living room located on a lower level, noticed a man sitting outside on the guard rail.