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'I want one really bad': Steinbach man expands search for kidney donor

Each night, Joshua Prymych hooks himself up to a machine that cleans his blood. (Source: Michelle Gerwing, CTV News) Each night, Joshua Prymych hooks himself up to a machine that cleans his blood. (Source: Michelle Gerwing, CTV News)
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A Steinbach man who has been on dialysis for three years is expanding his search for a kidney donor after exhausting all local options.

Each night, Joshua Prymych hooks himself up to a machine that cleans his blood.

"If I were to start at 8 a.m. for work, I usually want to be done about an hour before I have to start work and it takes about 9 hours, so I'd be doing it pretty early at night. I would've started preparing it at about 9 o'clock," said Prymych.

According to Transplant Manitoba, there are about 200 people in the province like Prymych waiting for a kidney. Those with blood types A, B and AB usually wait four to five years for a transplant, but for type O the wait is twice as long.

"They say about nine to ten years, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was longer because COVID definitely paused a lot of surgeries," said Prymych.

Three years ago, before starting dialysis, he started looking for a living kidney donor to try to find a match faster. Now he says there aren't any more people to ask.

"I have pretty much exhausted everyone that I know and I see on a day to day," said Prymych. "So I am really trying to reach out to other people who may know me in communities who know me well or at least would like to get to know me well and want to donate one of their kidneys to me."

In Manitoba, one must have an established relationship in order to make a directed living donation.

People can also step forward to donate to a stranger anonymously, "Ensuring fairness and equity to all those waiting for a transplant," according to a Transplant Manitoba spokesperson.

Prymych said the last three years have been a roller coaster. "I want one really bad, but even if there's someone out there right now that wants to help somebody else, that's one less person on that list who could've been waiting even longer than me."

He hopes to connect with someone soon who might be a match, and a friend.

"If someone wanted to help me out I'd be more than willing to like establish that sort of relationship and I'd feel like I'd want to anyway to get to know them well."

Last year, 67 kidney transplants were done in Manitoba. Of those, 29 were living donors.

Anonymous living kidney donors can also sign up for the kidney paired donation program through Canadian Blood Services.

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