Audrey Schroeder needs a hero.
A resident of Shawnigan Lake, Schroeder, who has had kidney disease since she was 13, is in a waiting game for a donor kidney. The wait started three years ago when her condition worsened, causing kidney failure. Since then, she has been on dialysis three days a week.
The situation sometimes feels hopeless. “I no longer urinate, so whatever fluid goes in stays in until it is removed from dialysis. I go to dialysis three days a week for four hours, and in between it gets harder and harder,” says Schroeder. “I try to stay positive.”
With a relatively rare blood type, B+, she is looking at a possible ten year wait for a cadaver that could provide a match, which makes a living donor her best chance.
Schroeder’s three children, 10, 16 and 17, are in the waiting game with her. She worries about them. “I have three beautiful daughters who really need their mum to be healthy,” she says.
Patients are automatically put on the kidney donation list when they start dialysis. For organ donation, family is the first source to be checked for a match, but Schroeder has only her three daughters, who are too young to donate. “My oldest daughter wants to donate as soon as she is old enough, which is one more year,”
There is fresh hope for Schroeder with the Paired Kidney Exchange program, which makes it possible for one incompatible couple to ‘swap’ donors with another couple in the same situation, therefore enabling two kidney patients to receive a transplant.
In the meantime, feeling ill and exhausted all the time is the norm for Schroeder, who says, “A friend who received a transplant a few years ago told me I’m going to be shocked by what it’s like to feel good.”
For information or to register as an organ donor, visit the BC Transplant page.