Every week you can find Debbie Onishenko sitting at her kitchen table scouring local commuters for the best deals on groceries. But what he needs most right now is a kidney.
“At first it was slow,” Onyshenko said. “You do everything you can to stay healthy, but now it’s getting progressively worse and I only have nine percent of my kidneys left.”
Onishenko has been living with type one diabetes since she was 13 years old. This is the cause of his kidney disease 20 years ago.
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According to the Kidney Association of Canada, it is also considered the leading cause of disease. Onishenko is one of 60 people in Saskatchewan who need a transplant.
But this is not only a problem of the province. This is a problem across the country. One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease.
“There is a multi-year waiting list for a kidney transplant,” said Joyce Van Derzen, executive director of the Saskatchewan branch of the Kidney Association of Canada. “It’s really a bit of a health crisis because the people on that list, generally, their health is deteriorating.”
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The province is hopeful that the overall number of people in need will decrease. This year they managed to complete five thousand more surgeries than in 2021.
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But the need for kidney donations far exceeds the number of kidneys available, and many people on the list get so sick that they are removed because they are no longer eligible, Van Derzen said.
It’s what inspired Onishenko to put a messaged decal on his car, in the hopes that someone might come along who would match.
“It’s really hard to talk people into donating a kidney,” Onishenko said. “But this way you can get the word out and let people make their own decisions.”
Onishenko hopes that by sharing her story, it will help people become better aware of the need and importance of organ donation.
He has not started dialysis yet but said the time to do so is near.
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