Calgary

Dave from 'Dave needs a kidney' billboards in Calgary finds a donor

With COVID-19 surgery delays, and a billboard campaign to find a donor, a Calgary man now has a new kidney after two years of waiting. 

After years of waiting and surgical backlogs, a Calgary man got a life-saving transplant

Calgarian Dave Mathers found a kidney donor after launching a billboard campaign in the city. (Supplied by Dave Mathers)

Following COVID-19 surgery delays, and a billboard campaign to find a donor, a Calgary man now has a new kidney after two years of waiting.

In September, Dave Mathers was in a hospital gown ready for his kidney transplant at Foothills Medical Centre. Mathers has a rare kidney disease that can cause organ failure. 

"Then all of a sudden the surgeon walked in … He said 'unfortunately not the fault of you or your donor we have to cancel, the ICU rooms are overrun.' And I had to check out," Mathers told the Calgary Eyeopener

The surgical backlog created by the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and influx of sick patients in Alberta delayed the process, which had started years ago. 

Dave Mathers received a kidney donation in November. (Supplied by Dave Mathers )

Mathers' wife applied to be an organ donor in 2019, but wasn't eligible. Neither was his daughter. So the family took the search wider. 

"At some point we decided that we were going to try to advertise, put a Facebook page together, do whatever we could." 

"We knew we needed one to ultimately live." 

The family ended up putting up several billboards around the city in August and September of 2020. 

That's when his eventual donor, Nancy Langlois, reached out. She signed up to be an anonymous donor after seeing a billboard that said "Dave needs a kidney." 

"It said, O-positive, and I was like, 'oh, I guess that's me.' So as soon as I got home, I called," Langlois said. 

Nancy Langlois signed up to be an anonymous donor after seeing a billboard in Calgary. (Supplied by Nancy Langlois)

She said she donated "because I could." 

The two first met at the hospital, and though Langlois knew nothing about Mathers when she signed up to be his donor, they have a lot in common. 

"We both worked downtown for oil and gas, we're both super active here. He was a marathoner. I was a marathoner, a hiker," she said. 

"But it didn't matter. It was just kind of nice that when we did meet that we had stuff in common and then we liked each other." 

Mathers finally got his kidney from Langlois in November, and will mark one month post-operation on Friday. 

Mathers says he's feeling great and he celebrated by walking seven kilometres this week. 

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

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