Agnes Werth days after he kidney donation on June 21, 2017. Submitted photo.

70-year-old B.C. woman completes goal of donating kidney

“It was something I really wanted to accomplish in my life”

Agnes Werth always believed in organ donation and on June 21, 2017, she donated one of her kidneys in Vancouver.

“It’s something I always believed. I thought it was an opportunity to do it while I was still here,” said Agnes Werth, a local resident of the South Cariboo. “It was something I really wanted to accomplish in my life and I feel like it was an accomplishment.”

The 70-year-old donor has been on the organ donor list for as “long as there has been one,” she said. But one of the driving reasons for her to pull the trigger was type one diabetes. Kidney disease is often the result of long-term type one diabetes due to high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure causing damage to the organ.

According to Diabetes Canada, 50 percent of people with diabetes show symptoms of kidney damage which can ultimately end in the organ failing. At that point, dialysis or a kidney transplant would be required.

Two of her grandsons have been diagnosed with type one diabetes.

“As someone who’s retired, it was probably easier for me to do it than it is for someone younger,” said Werth. “Apparently, they really like people who are a little bit older because you’re past the age where you’re likely to have certain diseases.”

However, it was quite a rigorous process. Werth had to spend two days doing strenuous medical and psychological examinations. On the bright side, the BC transplant Society keeps track of Werth, making sure her health is in good standing, particularly the functioning of her lone kidney. The society will watch her for the rest of her life and requires her to notify her of address or physician changes.

Werth said she was willing and prepared to give all the time needed for the process and thought she would be in some pain in the aftermath but found it not that bad. She required no medication for pain and was out of the hospital within three days, even walking the day after the surgery. It did take her six months to fully recover though.

Given her age, there was some concern shared by her eldest daughter, an emergency room nurse, and her husband.

“They were supportive of me and of each other. It’s quite interesting, the reactions of people. A lot of people say why would you do that but I looked at the risks and felt my giving of a kidney was really worthwhile of making someone else’s life so much better,” she said.

After reviewing the risks of the procedure, Werth said nothing stood out to her or worried her. It also helped knowing four other people who have lived with one kidney for various lengths of time.

She also lives a healthy life, exercising several times a week.

Even though she is curious about who received her kidney, she has no interest seeking them out. Her donation was anonymous and through a chain.

A chain typically has seven or eight people, where family members of people who need a transplant or a person such as Werth who want to donate their kidney link up and match their kidneys with a person in need. For example, if Joe Average’s wife needs an organ and Jane Doe’s husband needs one but aren’t compatible, they can sign up for a chain with five other people. Within this chain, Jane Doe might be a compatible match for Mary Average and the latter would get the former’s kidney.

All Werth knows is that her kidney went to someone within the province.

“It’s not important to me. The only hope I have is that whoever it is is healthy,” she said. “When I’ve read about someone who received a donation, yes. I look at the date.”

Just Posted

Four Nanaimo athletes make Team B.C. for Canada Winter Games

Judo, synchronized swimming and boxing athletes qualify for games in Red Deer, Alta.

Buccaneers break a third-period tie to beat Generals

Nanaimo doubled up Oceanside 2-1 on Sunday in VIJHL action

100 squares of artwork will be exhibited at Gabriola show

More than 90 artists submitted 12-by-12 inch pieces to Squared Art Show starting Feb. 22

Nanaimo students win award for space solutions project

Students wait to see if they will go to California on the strength of their project

Web poll: What’s the right weekend to have Family Day?

Do you prefer this new Family Day weekend, or how it was before?

Nanaimo students win award for space solutions project

Students wait to see if they will go to California on the strength of their project

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Kidney Foundation trying to keep patients warm this winter

Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Warm the Sole campaign takes chill off dialysis treatments

Man arrested following 2016 drive-by shooting in Nanaimo found guilty

Armaan Singh Chandi guilty of prohibited firearm use with intention of committing murder

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read