'It's instantly life-changing,' Kidney Walk honorary chair says of transplant

·2 min read
A patient receives dialysis treatment in this stock image. The Kidney Walk fundraiser will take place virtually on Sept. 26. (Salivanchuk Semen/Shutterstock - image credit)
A patient receives dialysis treatment in this stock image. The Kidney Walk fundraiser will take place virtually on Sept. 26. (Salivanchuk Semen/Shutterstock - image credit)

Jeff Monaghan of Charlottetown remembers down to the minute the phone call that changed his life.

"March 6th at 8:34. I'll remember that time forever."

That was early in 2020 when Monaghan, honorary chair of next month's Kidney Walk fundraiser, got word that after years of waiting, he would be able to get a transplant.

"How'd you like we've got a kidney for you?" a woman on the phone said, he recalled to Mainstreet P.E.I. host Matt Rainnie on Tuesday.

Monaghan had been on dialysis since 2016. Within hours, he was on his way to Halifax for the donation. And the morning after his operation, his appetite and energy had returned.

"It's instantly life-changing," he said.

So Monaghan knows the value of an event like the Kidney Walk, which will take place virtually on Sept. 26. The money raised supports people living with kidney disease and funds research.

Monaghan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a youngster in 1987, the likely precursor of his kidney problems. He then let a lot of his health precautions slide in his early 20s.

Thirteen or 14 years ago and spurred on by warnings from his doctor, Monaghan started taking better care of himself. However, things continued to deteriorate until he started three-times-a-week dialysis on the Canada Day weekend of 2016.

Monaghan doesn't know his donor, only that they had died, because he knows other patients received the other kidney and the liver.

What he does know is that he appreciates his renewed life.

"If I have a bad day, [it's] nothing compared to what a bad day was before," he said.

People can register for the fundraiser, put on by The Kidney Foundation of Canada, at kidneywalk.ca.

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