Sandwich's Dan Desmarais is 60 years young, married, and a proud father and grandfather with a hereditary kidney disease, Alport's Syndrome.
Now in Stage 5, he is in need of a kidney transplant.
Dan was diagnosed shortly after he got married in 1983 and bought his first home. He has lived full time in Sandwich since 2006, and before that owned a summer cottage on Town Neck. His wife's family, the Barrettes, have been here since the 70s, and his brother in law, Dana, was on the Sandwich School Committee.
"At that point in 1983, they didn't know how the disease would progress," he tells Snyder's Sandwich. "In severe cases, it could reach a crisis point in patients in their mid-30s. Luckily, mine was a slower progressing one. I was referred to Mass General. I've gotten great care there."
"For the last five years, my nephrologist was Dr. John Kevin Tucker, who runs the post-residency program and is a highly-esteemed national expert," he continued. "He's a great man, and I'm lucky to have him. He stretched my kidney function to its fullest. Last fall, it crossed the line and I qualified for the diseased donor list. There are just shy of 100,000 on the list. Over 3,000 are added every month. The demand greatly exceeds the supply. It's a sad national issue."
In a plea online, he writes, "I've been fortunate enough to receive wonderful medical care from my internist and nephrologist, but have reached the point where a kidney transplant is needed. I'm on two transplant lists (Boston and Orlando) for an organ from a deceased donor, however the wait is expected to be more than five years, which is not feasible."
"It is an incredible joy to see your children grown up, be successful and have children of their own. The objective now is to be able to receive a kidney transplant and be healthy enough to enjoy the priceless experiences of being able to do various activities with our grandchildren."
It is believed, however, that Dan might be a candidate for a new process.
"I haven't started dialysis yet," he tells me. "I'm a few months away from it. There's a second type of dialysis that fills the abdominal cavity with dialysis solutions, and it preserves whatever residual kidney function you have. It's a bit more conducive to normal life activities. You don't need to be hooked to a machine for many hours a week. But, those who get a transplant before starting dialysis have a much better outcome. That's really why I'm trying so hard to find a donor now."
"I'm adopted, so I have no genetic siblings or relatives available," he adds. "Each of our three children are unable to donate due to medical issues that prevent them from doing so. Three wonderful family members and friends have so far been tested and been ruled out for medical reasons, so we're trying to expand our search."
Dan and his family are looking for a kind, caring person willing to be a living kidney donor. His blood type is B+, which means people with type B+, B-, O+ or O- are all potential donors. With recent improvements in desensitization programs, someone with other blood types could also potentially be a donor. There's also a "paired kidney exchange," so even if you are not compatible, you can still help.
"As science has progressed with anti-rejection drugs, matching isn't as important," Dan says. "They can even use organs from people who are not a blood match. It's really just a matter of finding someone willing to give that ultimate gift."
All the necessary compatibility testing and diagnostic work-up, as well as the procedure itself and follow-up medical care, would be covered by Dan's insurance company. Also, Dan feels strongly that anyone willing to be so generous as to provide the "gift of life" should not incur additional out of pocket expenses such as travel, lodging and/or lost wages. Therefore, he is prepared to cover those expenses a potential donor may incur.
How you can help
Please help spread the word about Dan's search for a living kidney donor by sharing this information widely with family and friends. If you would like additional information, or have questions please send an email to Info@AKidneyForDan.com or call Dan at 508-419-0811.
For more information about becoming a living donor for Dan Desmarais, please directly contact the living donor coordinator at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston at BWHKidneyDonorInfo@Partners.Org
RUMBLINGS AROUND TOWN
Valentines for troops
For the third year, the Cape Cod branch of the National League of American Pen Women will hold a valentine-making party for our Cape Cod men and women in the military. Materials will be provided, but participants are also welcome to bring their own materials. The event is January 27 from 11 AM to 2:30 PM at the Falmouth Artists Guild, 137 Gifford Street in Falmouth. Participants are invited to bring a box lunch. Drinks and finger desserts will be provided.
The Cape Cod Branch of Pen Women has more than 40 members from across the Cape. They are professional artists, writers, musicians, museum directors, and other women who are involved or support the arts on Cape Cod. The national organization, with headquarters in Washington, DC, was founded in 1898 and is the oldest women’s arts organization in the United States.
For more information, call Kathryn Kleekamp at 508-833-1271.
Low-cost dental help
Dental hygienists Teresa Simison and Andrea Read want to help serve the community they live in. And, so, they are bringing low dental help to Sandwich!
Teresa and Andrea will be offering preventative dental services at Oakcrest Cove for families who have MassHealth dental insurance or no dental insurance at all. They can do dental cleanings, screenings, sealants, and fluoride. They will be in Sandwich on January 23 from 2 to 7 PM; February 6 from 2 to 7 PM; and February 24 from 8 AM to 2 PM. To make an appointment, call 508-827-6725 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Snyder, who has written more than 2,500 articles in newspapers and magazines, and published three books, is the CEO of PMPNetwork.com, the internet’s entertainment superstation. He also started the Sandwich News group on Facebook, which has 7400 subscribers. Have a story idea? He can be reached by e-mail via email@example.com, via toll free fax at 866-655-8234, and on Facebookwww.facebook.com/MarkSnyderTVRadio