Heather's Story

I am so grateful for my new kidney and my second chance at life.

My name is Heather Hockley and I live in Cranbrook, British Columbia. In 2008 I was diagnosed with renal failure and quickly required regular dialysis. I chose to go on "Cycler" which meant I could dialyze during the night while I slept leaving my days free to work and enjoy time with family and friends. But I knew my best option would be a transplant. To my surprise, a friend came forward who wanted to be my donor. During all the testing to see if she was a suitable donor, doctors discovered my friend had cancer. Naturally, she was ruled out as a donor but it was a blessing they found her cancer early. Today after her treatments she is doing well.

I learned that patients can wait for a kidney transplant for as long as 10 years. Imagine 10 years..... waiting on dialysis.....in 10 years a toddler can go from learning to spell in Kindergarten to getting a driver's license. And the hard truth is not everyone is even lucky enough to receive a transplant. In British Columbia, all residents must travel to Vancouver for a transplant at either St. Paul's Hospital or Vancouver General Hospital and remain in Vancouver for approximately 3 months after transplant for close follow-up by the medical and surgical teams. This can get very costly for transplant patients and their families. The Kidney Foundation helps patients during their stay including finding affordable housing.

I wanted to help the Kidney Foundation and, at the same time, create awareness for organ donation in the Cranbrook area. So, in June 2010, my partner Keith Gray and I hosted the First Annual Kidney Foundation Golf Tournament in Cranbrook, B.C. It was a lovely day and the event brought over 40 golfers to share great prizes, good food, tall stories and, of course, some terrific golf. Not only did we raise awareness for the donor registry, we also raised nearly $2,000.00 for the Foundation.

In May of this year I received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor and I am so grateful for my new kidney and my second chance at life.

I didn't think I would be well enough to host a golf tournament this year but, thanks to my donor and donor family, it is going to be a reality.

With the help of some friends we will be holding the 2nd Annual Kidney Foundation Golf Tournament on September 18, 2011. The tournament is held at Mission Hills Golf Course in Cranbrook. It is a family par-3 course perfect for all ages and levels of golf. In addition this year we have a hole-in-one prize of $25,000.00 cash. Watch for our story and pictures in the next issue of Living Proof.

Today's society recycles many things, newspaper, cardboard, glass........why not add organs to that list and please register to be a donor - it really does SAVE LIVES! I am Living Proof.