Nova Scotia

Halifax woman in need of kidney 'humbled' after potential donor finds doctor

A Halifax woman in need of a kidney transplant may be a step closer to finding a donor. Brenda MacKenzie has heard from a doctor who is willing to take on her friend Bonnie Ste-Croix to see if they're a match.

Brenda MacKenzie's friend, Bonnie Ste-Croix, wants to donate her kidney but was told she needs a family doctor

Brenda MacKenzie says she's touched that so many people have come forward, offering such an incredible gift to help her. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

A Halifax woman whose search for a new kidney was hindered in part because a potential living donor did not have a family doctor may be a step closer to finding an organ match.

Brenda MacKenzie has been on the transplant list for nearly two years. A friend, Bonnie Ste-Croix, offered to donate a kidney to MacKenzie, but Ste-Croix was told she couldn't be tested for compatibility unless she had a primary care provider.

After hearing MacKenzie's story on CBC this week, a doctor has now offered to take Ste-Croix on as a patient.

And the offers have not stopped there. 

Brenda MacKenzie and Bonnie Ste-Croix have been friends for years. Ste-Croix initially didn't tell MacKenzie she was going to try to get tested to see if she could donate her kidney. (Submitted by Bonnie Ste-Croix)

Over the course of an hour Wednesday morning, MacKenzie said she heard from someone else willing to be a donor, and another friend offered to take up advocacy around changing the current policy.

"I literally started crying because it is totally overwhelming. I mean, to think that ... people would step up," MacKenzie said Wednesday. "I'm honoured and I'm humbled, honestly."

Access to a primary care provider is a requirement for any potential live donor in the Atlantic region, along with being over the age of 19 and in good health with a healthy weight. 

In Nova Scotia alone, more than 60,000 people are registered to find a primary care provider.

Nova Scotia Health said in an email earlier this week that the policy has been updated to include nurse practitioners as primary care providers if donors are unable to find a physician.

MacKenzie is still hoping the provincial health authority will change its policy on requiring live donors to have a doctor or nurse practitioner.

In the meantime, MacKenzie said she'd like to see a database of doctors or nurse practitioners who are willing to take on new patients who are looking to donate organs.

"This would ... open this door up, and that's what we really need to do," she said.

The Atlantic branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada has said it's unaware of any other cases where a potential donor could not be screened because they did not have a family doctor.

The organization is encouraging people to reach out if they have faced the same challenge.