“Needle in a Haystack”: Albertan Finds Lifesaving Kidney Donor

EDMONTON – Albertan struggling with kidney disease that gets worse with age needs a donor.

Kelly Konieczny lives on a farm in Manville, two hours east of Edmonton. Married to her husband for 25 years and mother of three daughters, she is battling end stage kidney disease.

Konieczny suffers from polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition that gets worse over time. The only solution is a kidney transplant.

“I’ve known since I was 21, I’m now 47. I was followed by a team all the time, but you can’t start the process of finding donors or getting on the list. donors before starting dialysis, ”she said.

The pandemic caused delays in the treatment of Konieczny.

“I want to see my daughters grow up, I still have a lot of life to live. With COVID-19 being so prevalent over the past year and a half, my health is even more in the foreground. It has also resulted in a slowdown in appointments, donor-recipient correspondence and transplants, which is crucial for someone like me, ”she said.

Low energy levels, nausea, upset stomach, headaches, insomnia, blood pressure issues, heart palpitations, and a strict diet are just a few of the ways life de Konieczny is affected.

“Because I’m strapped to a machine four to five times a week, we can’t go very far and if we do, maybe it will be for a weekend,” she said.

“We used to be a busy family. We love to camp, travel, explore our province, do water sports. These are now all strictly restricted or not optional. “

Finding a suitable donor is similar to “finding a needle in a haystack,” the kidney disease warrior said.

“I just started to feel good, to feel that I deserved a transplant. I always felt like there were people who were worse than me, sicker, maybe small children – and I always felt guilty for wishing I could get a transplant.


As of December 31, 2020, there were 276 Albertans on the kidney transplant waiting list. The province performs between 190 and 200 kidney transplants per year, according to Alberta Health Services.

One organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives. There are currently more than 4,500 people in Canada awaiting a vital organ transplant, according to an AHS statement.

“It is recommended that you be your own advocate and bring as many people as possible to the table. Even if they don’t match you, they may consider being an anonymous donor for one of the hundreds more in our province and our country who are waiting, ”Konieczny said.

“It would mean a lot to us because we know she’s been going through this for a long time,” her daughter Payton Konieczny said.

The Konieczny family say that means the whole world needs to get tested to see if they match.

“It’s kind of a miracle that a random stranger can be a match for you and bring you to life,” the mother and wife said.

With files from Geoff Hastings of CTV Edmonton

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About Kristina McManus

Kristina McManus

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