KAMLOOPS — There are over 500 British Columbians waiting for an organ transplant, including Kamloops native Tony Maidment, who's been suffering from liver disease for 20 years.
It's made work a struggle to the point where Maidment, for the third time in six months, is going on short-term disability.
"My energy level, there's just nothing there, it's tough to get out of bed," says Maidment.
Maidment has been battling with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a form of liver disease. But after a period of getting better, it's taken a turn for the worst again in the last year.
"Work has become increasingly more difficult for me to do as a mechanic. It's a really physical job, so we decided for the third time in the last six months to go with the short-term disability," he says.
This all the while Maidment is waiting for a new liver. He doesn't even qualify to be on the liver transplant list, but ironically, his worsening health actually might work in his favour with priority going to patients who are the most "sick."
"Basically I have to start dying again," Maidment says. "I'll go from the inactive list, which I'm on right now, because I'm too healthy. They have a meld score, which is an end-stage liver disease score. My score's about six. When I was on the list, and fairly high up, I was at about a 23, so the goal is to get back up to that."
The difficulty in getting a transplant is exactly why some B.C. patients are opting to put their name on the Alberta transplant list instead, where anonymous donors can come forward. That is not the case in B.C. or any other province.
Maidment understands the reasoning, but says staying on B.C.'s list is still his best chance for new life.
"I've been with BC Transplant since 2011. I've been dealing with the medical side of B.C. for 20 years. I'm quite comfortable where I am. I feel they're looking after me, and they know me," he says.
Maidment says it could free up spaces in B.C. But as he's done most of adult life now, he's taking one day at a time, not rushing his recovery, and ironically hoping to get worse before he gets better.
You can help people like Maidment by visiting BC Transplant online and clicking on Be A Donor.
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