Looking at those bright blue eyes and heartwarming smile, you wouldn’t think anything was wrong with 33-year-old Cole Derry of Lumby. And anyone who knows the upbeat, happy guy can tell you he doesn’t let much get him down.
Although at first glance it’s not obvious, Derry has End Stage Renal Disease. He also has type 1 diabetes which complicates his health condition. To top it off, Derry has blood type B+, which is uncommon.
“Currently Cole is the only person on the waitlist for a combined kidney and pancreas transplant for this blood type,” said wife Karen. “This means he may be waiting as little as a few weeks or even as long as five years or more before viable organs become available.”
Once getting the call that there is a donor available, Derry will need to be at Vancouver General Hospital within a matter of hours.
This means dropping everything to drive Vancouver or purchasing last minutes flights which can place a significant financial burden on an already stressful. On top of the cost associated with getting to Vancouver, after the transplant, Derry will be expected to stay two to three months to assure that he is in optimal health before returning home.
In the meantime, Derry is not working as he has dialysis three days a week and is trying to make ends meet on disability and Karen’s income.
“It has been challenging,” said Karen. “We’ve been trying not to ask for help, saying, ‘we can handle this, we can handle this.’ We’ve been making do.”
But the financial struggle is the last thing friends and family want to see the couple deal with during this difficult time. Therefore the community is rallying support.
A Kidney Journey Trust has been created for Derry and a special event Saturday will see funds raised go to the cause. A Christmas Market runs Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Old Age Pensioners Hall in Lumby (1737 Glencaird Street). Funds from the table rentals will be donated to the trust, there will also be a table for anyone who would like to donate items to sell, along with a donation jar. Those interested in donating items can contact Cindy Derry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Derry’s sister has also created a Facebook page called Cole’s Kidney Journey to help raise awareness for those dealing with kidney disease in its many forms.
“Even just to raise awareness of his condition and if we can bring forth people who want to look into organ donation,” said Karen. “If it does nothing else except create awareness for organ donation I’ll be happy.”
Anyone wanting to support Derry can make donations to email@example.com or you can send a personal message on the Facebook page to receive information for the trust set up at Scotiabank Lumby.