Teen finds kidney donor after long search during pandemic
WATERLOO -- A Waterloo teen diagnosed with a genetic disorder has recieved a kidney donation following a long search.
Shaden Weinberger recieved the call just before 2 p.m. on Saturday that there was one ready for him and was rushed to London for surgery at 4:30 p.m. his sister Skye MacDuff told CTV News on Sunday.
She says the kidney came from a deceased donor and that he is doing very well following the transplant. He is expected to be in hospital for five to seven days.
Weinberger was coaching his nephew's hockey team this time a year ago. A few months later, everything changed for him.
"It's been difficult," his mother, Michelle, said.
Shaden's parents took him to the doctor in March after they noticed a drop in his energy levels.
"We thought he had low iron and anemia, things of that nature that are remedied through time," his father Bernie said.
Instead, Shaden was diagnosed with acute kidney failure and Alport syndrome, a genetic disorder.
"He had almost no energy level at all," Bernie said. "He would sleep 15 hours a day and he wasn't eating well."
Shaden's routine now included him going to Grand River Hospital for dialysis three days a week.
"I had no idea that this is a life he'd be living," Michelle said.
His family said dialysis is only a temporary solution and they were looking for a kidney donor.
"Instead of this constant worry," Michelle said. "Right now he's hooked up to a machine that keeps him alive."
Shaden was on the waitlist, but his family worried that could take years.
"There are 1,600 people in Ontario waiting for a medically urgent life-saving transplant," said Ronnie Gavsie, CEO of the Trillium Gift of Life Network.
The network said there are two dozen people in Waterloo Region waiting to receive an organ donation.
The province's organ and tissue donation agency said COVID-19 could be the reason why donations have been so low. Public education events have been cancelled and fewer people have gone to places like Service Ontario to register as donors.
There's been a 20 per cent decrease in donations compare to last year and registration numbers are down drastically.
"Registration is down 76 per cent since April," Gavsie said.
The Weinbergers want to see more people signing up as a donor.
"If it's not a match for Shaden, it could be a match for someone else," Michelle said.
The Gift of Life Network said one organ donor can save up to seven lives.
The family has started an online fundraiser to help raise money for Shaden's treatment. His sister tells CTV News the page is still active and accepting donations as there are plenty of upcoming expenses for him following his transplant.