Living kidney donor Steve Gannon, with his one remaining kidney, will be climbing Mont-Blanc this June
MONTREAL, May 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The adventure that brothers Mike and Steve Gannon experienced is anything but ordinary: In June 2007, Steve donated one of his kidneys to Mike, allowing him to regain a normal life. Indeed organ donation between living individuals is still very rare, despite its numerous benefits to both to the donors and the recipients.
In order to inform the public about this altruistic type of donation, Roche Canada, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Quebec Branch and the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) have joined their efforts to organize the Mont Blanc Ascent, consisting of a team of 12 climbers who will scale the highest mountain in the Alps.
One year later, Mike is in good health, and his brother Steve will join the Mont Blanc Ascent, beginning on the French side of the mountain, in Chamonix, from June 12th to the 18th. "By climbing one of the tallest peaks in Europe, which is an achievement in itself, we want to symbolically show how this type of organ donation represents the challenge of outdoing oneself. A donor with only a single kidney can accomplish this feat," explains Mr. Marc Laroche, Manager of Service Operations, Professional Services at Roche Diagnostics, and one of the visionaries of the project. "The advantages of organ donation between living individuals are numerous. The psychological benefits for the donor definitely exceed the risks of donating," added Dr. Michel R. Pâquet, nephrologist and President of the CHUM Organ Donation Committee, who is serving as the project's consulting specialist and who will also climb Mont Blanc. "Donors must be in excellent heath in order to minimize the short- and long-term risks of damaging the remaining kidney," he said.
More than 32,000 Canadians suffer from kidney failure, including more than 7,000 individuals in Québec, who often require hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or a graft. A kidney transplant, particularly from a living donor, constitutes the best treatment for patients suffering from kidney failure.
To learn more about the Mont Blanc Ascent, to become a living donor or to contribute to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, please visit Mont-Blanc 2008.com.
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