A social media campaign to find a kidney donor is offering a West Kelowna woman new hope for a healthy future and an unexpected surge of support.
Diabetes landed Leona Godin, 42, on dialysis for the better part of eight years, and the organ donation list for the last six of those years.
“It’s been hard to find a kidney, due to high antibodies, and a rarer blood type,” she said, noting that her blood type is B-positive, which only four in 100 people have.
Frustrated, her partner Rick Moodie took matters into his own hands, and tapped into their online community for a solution.
“He wakes up first thing in the morning and goes on Facebook and then when he comes back from work, he’s on there until 11 p.m.,” Godin said.
“He’s just an amazing person.”
As he scrolls through the page they’ve named Leona Kidney, he finds everything from well wishes to people who have a will to help.
“The response has been amazing,” she said. “I didn’t expect it. It’s almost overwhelming right now.”
At least two people who came to know of Godin’s situation are embarking on the lengthy process to see if they’ll be a compatible donor, while many others are just offering stories that make the load she’s carrying easier to bear.
“You hear their stories, and they’re saying they’ve done the same thing, and it makes you think, if (finding a donor online) happened for them, maybe it can happen for you, too,” she said.
A new kidney would change everything for Godin.
A mother of three, and grandmother to two, Godin has been very limited in what she’s been able to do in recent years.
She walks and exercises every day, to try and stay as healthy as she can for transplant, but she also has to fit dialysis into that schedule every second day and that limits her movements.
“If you want to go anywhere, you have to plan a couple months at a time,” she explained.
Not all dialysis clinics will take out-of-area clients, and it takes a lot of leg work to find a slot.
That said, travel wouldn’t be the first thing she’d take up if she were again to reach full health.
“I would have a big glass of water,” she said.
Godin’s only able to ingest a maximum of a litre and a half of fluid per day, and she has to factor all liquid-carrying foods into that equation.
She also has to be vigilant about the foods she eats, as too much of anything could have disastrous effects.
“It’s a full-time job,” she said.
One she’ll continue for some time as she waits to see if her saviour is waiting on her Facebook feed.
Anyone in good health and interested in donating is urged to contact B.C. Transplant at, 1-604-875-5182 and ask for a package to donate to Leona Godin.
Or go to www. transplant.bc.ca. to learn more about organ donation.