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Calgary shop teacher’s search for a kidney donor shared on billboards around Alberta
Published Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:07PM MST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 13, 2018 7:39PM MST
A 42-year-old shop teacher at Father Lacombe High School who continues to await a second kidney transplant has taken an unconventional approach in his search for a suitable donor.
As his kidney continues to deteriorate to nearly six per cent of normal function, Ryan Mclennan’s face, phone number and blood type are beginning to appear on billboards throughout Alberta.
According to the 42-year-old teacher, the decision to purchase billboard space was his wife’s and the move followed the placing of window decals on the vehicles of friend and family seeking a living kidney donor and the creation of a ‘Find a Kidney for Ryan Mclennan’ Facebook page.
“Shakina is an amazing person,” said Mclennan of his wife’s effort. “She’s come up with so many different crazy ideas – and I’ve had to say whoa, okay that’s over the top – to try to find someone who may be interested in stepping forward.”
“She definitely is the one that is pursuing this 100 per cent.”
Mclennan says in the past he’s struggled to approach people with his request. “It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to ask,” said Mclennan. “I didn’t want anyone to know I was sick. I didn’t want to be known as the sick guy.”
In 2002, at the age of 28, Mclennan noticed he was often tired but he attributed his fatigue to the fact he was working night shifts and long hours at the time. A mandatory physical exam for all employees noted high-blood pressure and subsequent medical tests determined Mclennan kidneys were failing.
Mclennan’s mother donated one of her kidneys to him in 2002 , a gesture he is more appreciative of as the years progress.
“I didn’t really realize what I was getting,” admits Mclennan. “I didn’t realize that what I was getting was so hard to get and hard to find.”
Mclennan says his current search for another kidney started nearly two years ago.
The first of the billboards advertising Mclennan’s need for a kidney was posted nearly a week ago and, along with the vehicle advertisements, there have been responses to his search but the family is unsure if progress has been made.
“They’ll phone us up and they want to know about our story and they want to help us,” said Mclennan. “We’re dealing with the Kidney Foundation and they send our packages to those people but - because we’re not right involved with helping those people fill out those packages, helping them take it to the blood clinic, helping them doing that kind of stuff - we don’t really know where the process is at.”
Even if the interested parties are not a suitable donor for him, Mclennan hopes someone in need of a kidney will benefit from the offer. “That would be incredible. I know what it’s like to go through this whole process.”
Mclennan’s billboards are currently in place in Edmonton, Calgary and along the QEII Highway.
For additional information regarding Ryan's search, visit Find a kidney for Ryan Mclennan
With files from CTV's Brad Macleod