Providing hope for a friend
Todd Reid would do anything for his best friend Graeme, so when he learned Graeme's kidneys were only functioning at 15 per cent, he had only one question: "What can I do?"
At that point Reid didn't even know what his blood type was, so he began the lengthy process to find out if he qualified as a kidney donor.
"Nothing happens right away. You have to go through all this different testing and there's things that can pop up all the way through," Reid said.
During this time, Reid was also doing plenty of research. He learned that if Graeme's condition worsened to the point that he needed dialysis, the transplant would be less likely to succeed.
"The whole way through we were trying to get it done quick so that he didn't have to go on dialysis," Reid said. "I know for sure with the times that I had spoke to Graeme, that that was his biggest phobia. He was deathly afraid of going on dialysis."
It had been three weeks since Reid had been to his last test, and he still hadn't heard anything.
"We were definitely at a wall at that point. Both Graeme and I were feeling just wiped from the whole scenario and just scared that it was stretching too long. What if something pops up now? Then we're right back at the beginning. There was a lot of fear at that time," Reid said.
On June 17, Reid sent one last e-mail asking if they had heard anything. The return e-mail was a simple three-line message.
"It basically said, 'we've signed off, everything is a go, and we've booked an O.R. date for July 6.' When I read that, a million different emotions exploded. I'm just looking at the screen going wow, we've made it."
When Reid finally got into contact with Graeme to tell him the great news, he was helping someone move.
"That just shows you, at that point, one month before the surgery, at 9 per cent kidney function, he was helping someone move," said Reid. "He's such a strong man who tries hard not to show emotion but [when I told him] you could hear his voice crack a bit."
On July 6, 2010 they had the operation. It was a success. The organ began working immediately.
Reid sent Graeme a text after they had woke from surgery.
"We did it," the message read.
"Thank you so much," Graeme replied.
The second day after the operation, Reid, still in pain, walked from his room to Graeme's.
"I just lit up," said Reid. "It was just a great feeling to walk in the door and see him alive and well and know that after all this battle, that it worked."
Reid encourages everyone to sign up to become an organ donor
"It's such an easy thing. Even if you can't be a living donor, you can be a donor after you die," he said. "You'd be surprised at what you can do. Especially when it's for someone you love."
Last week (May 3), Reid was given the Shira Inspira award through the Kidney Stories of Hope campaign.
Reid was one of five winners from across Canada to receive the award, which is given out by the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
"I've read most of the stories on there and it's incredible the stories that people have and the struggle they've gone through," he said. "Every one of those people deserves the acknowledgement."
Reid got the call that he had won on the same day he learned his grandmother had passed away.
"It was a really touching moment," he said. "From death comes life."
You can find all the stories of hope, including Reid's, as well as information on organ donation at http://www.kidney.ca/storiesofhope.