Medical student rides for kidney awareness
A cyclist in the first days of a solo ride across Canada to support organ donation estimates his journey will take less time than the best-case scenario of 136 days for someone needing a kidney.
In fact, second-year medical student Quinn Thomas who arrived in Kamloops Friday noted the national average wait is 1,258 days for a kidney from a deceased donor.
That's not news to Margaret Thompson, who received a kidney transplant one year ago.
"Seven years is a long wait," said Thompson, who was at Gaglardi Square Friday morning to greet Thomas on his way through the city.
"I'm back to work full time and back to riding my Harley," she told people gathered at the square to meet Thomas and tell their stories.
"It's truly a gift," she said of organ donation. "We have to get that out to people. You're not giving a part of your body — you're giving a gift to someone to carry on."
The 21-year-old Montrealer started his trek from Vancouver Island en route to Newfoundland in order to raise awareness about organ donation. Thomas said while surveys have shown 85 per cent of Canadians think organ donation is a good thing, only 14 per cent have signed donor cards.
"We want to increase awareness of signing up and registering as a donor and discussing it with your close ones," he said.
Thomas is riding without support, not typical on cross-country charity-based tours.
"This trip isn't easy so far, believe me. Some days it gets real nasty. Camping is tough and biking six ours is tough. It's sweaty and smelly."
But Thomas said those challenges are part of the reason he is riding.
"It doesn't compare to what I imagine people on dialysis have."