David Uzan, a married father of four young children, with a chronic kidney disease is asking for potential kidney donors to step forward.
Uzan, an active member of Ottawa’s Jewish community, has IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, and will likely require a kidney transplant within six-to-nine months to avoid ongoing dialysis treatments. IgA nephropathy occurs when an antibody (immunoglobulin A) gets lodged in the kidneys, causing inflammation that can hamper the kidney’s ability to filter wastes from the bloodstream.
Dialysis treatment involves being hooked to a machine for several hours several times per week that filters the body’s blood as the kidneys are supposed to do. Uzan said this would keep his body in balance, “but results in a significantly reduced quality of life and life span. So a new kidney is the highly preferred option.”
Uzan said the main criteria for a direct kidney donation would be a donor good health and with a blood types B, O or possibly A. He explained that even if someone doesn’t directly meet the criteria to donate their kidney to him, they could donate it to someone else in need and a donor linked to a different recipient would then donate to him. This is known as a paired exchange.
For someone willing to donate a kidney, some funding for recovery of expenses, such as income replacement, is available through the Program for Reimbursing Expenses of Living Organ Donors, administered by the Trillium Gift of Life Network.
Uzan was on the board of Torah Day School of Ottawa last year and is currently a consultant for the Jewish Ottawa Inclusion Network, which his wife founded.
Leslie Kaufman, vice-president of corporate services at the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, underwent lifesaving liver transplant surgery in 2015, said that since her transplant she has wanted to give back any way she could. After hearing of Uzan’s request, she reached out to the National Capital Region Gift of Life Network to spread the word in Ottawa about Uzan’s search for a kidney. Kaufman said she feels “frustrated” that she is not allowed to be an organ donor, as she and Uzan have the same blood type.
“We have the power – especially with kidneys, which we have two of, and livers, which regenerate – to save a life by organ donation,” Kaufman said. “So knowing you can save a life with a spare organ you don’t need or will grow back, why wouldn’t you do something?”
While Kaufman acknowledged any surgery is risky, this is a surgery “that happens all the time and every day,” she said.
“I know lots of people who are liver and kidney donors who have recovered beautifully. I know a few seniors who even donated when they were in their later years,” she said.
Uzan said he is very appreciative of the community’s support.
“It would be doing a huge favour for me and it would allow me to give back to the community.”
Anyone interested in possibly donating a kidney for Uzan is asked to call the living donor coordinator of the Ottawa Hospital at 613-738-8400, ext. 82778, for information or to start the testing process. Information is also available at https://tinyurl.com/OH-kidney.