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Coyote jerseys to promote live kidney donations
When the Osoyoos Coyotes play their next home game on Saturday, they’ll be wearing patches on their jerseys to raise awareness of kidney donation.
The patches show a picture of a kidney and say: “Be the Kidney.”
“Somebody is going to ask what the heck does that mean,” said Brian Rawlings, a member of the local Share Your Spare group. “That just starts the dialogue.”
“It’s a great cause and the Coyotes are very proud and honoured to be involved with such an organization,” said Randy Bedard, Coyotes owner.
The team will wear the kidney patch on both their home jerseys and the burgundy jerseys used for away games, Bedard said.
They will do this for the rest of the season and most likely next year too.
The Share Your Spare group has been together for more than a year and it is a support group for people needing a kidney as well as those wishing to be a live donor.
Although many people receive kidneys from deceased donors, the group says there is a greater chance of a successful transplant when a live donor is used.
People have two kidneys, but can lead normal lives with just one.
The group meets periodically at the accounting office of Kemp Harvey Craig, which has become a virtual kidney headquarters in Osoyoos.
When Rawlings and Bedard inaugurated the patches last week with Coyotes Captain Colin Chmelka, a key person was missing – Terry Craig, the founder of Share Your Spare and owner of Kemp Harvey Craig.
That’s because Craig was in Vancouver where his wife Laura was recovering from a kidney transplant she received January 19.
The kidney came from a deceased donor, and for the Craigs, the news that one would be available came out of the blue.
“They phoned Saturday night about midnight and said we’ve got a kidney for you,” said Terry Craig.
The couple, which lives in Penticton, rushed down to Vancouver the next day and the transplant was performed that night.
Craig said his wife’s new kidney is working very well.
“The kidney itself is just doing remarkably,” he said. “It’s a miracle kidney. It’s pretty incredible that they were even able to find one that’s worked for her.”
Laura had been unable to accept a kidney from most donors because in addition to the need for blood type compatibility, her antibodies would cause her to reject most organs.
Craig donated one of his kidneys to his wife eight years ago, but after a few years, it too failed and she was forced to go back onto dialysis.
The idea for the kidney patches on the jerseys came about as a result of a chance meeting at Osoyoos Signs between Craig, Bedard and sign shop owner Chad Dambrowitz, Craig said.
“We just kind of chatted about what would work out best,” said Craig. “Randy with his experience with what works on jerseys and Chad with his logo experience just came up with something that they felt would stand out for players when they’re on the ice.”
People with questions about organ donation can come by to Kemp Harvey Craig, he said.
“We’re hoping it will generate questions and raise awareness about organ donation,” said Craig. “The best way to get people to consider becoming an organ donor is just through knowledge and awareness. The more times people see kidneys and anything to do with organ donation, I think they’re more likely to become aware of the positive thing of becoming an organ donor and how there can be a chance to save somebody’s life and give them life back.”