Toronto

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders having kidney transplant on Monday

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders is having a kidney transplant on Monday, and his wife is the donor, CBC Toronto has confirmed.

Saunders has been living with kidney disease since the 1990s, wife Stacey is living donor

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders is having a kidney transplant on Monday, and his wife is the donor, CBC Toronto has confirmed. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders is having a kidney transplant on Monday, and his wife is the donor, CBC Toronto has confirmed.

Saunders has one kidney — which is failing — and has been living with kidney disease since the 1990s, he told CTV on Friday. The disease, he said, was discovered during "routine bloodwork" and the chief is on life-saving dialysis for seven hours every night.

Kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, is the gradual loss of kidney function, which can progress to end-stage kidney failure — a fatal situation without dialysis or a transplant, according to the Mayo Clinic.

'A perfect match'

Saunders's wife, Stacey, will be his living kidney donor. "A 'perfect match' in more ways than one," tweeted Sgt. Darla Tannahill on Friday night.

Since news of the chief's upcoming transplant broke on Friday night, well-wishers have been sharing their support on social media.

Mayor John Tory also released a statement, wishing both Saunders and his wife well as they "undergo this surgery together."

"I hope they both will have a quick recovery and I wish them good health in the future," Tory said.

"Battling kidney disease while serving as the Chief of Police could not have been easy. It's a testament to the Chief's strength and determination. I know that will serve him well as he goes through this transplant procedure."

Not clear how long Saunders will be in hospital

It's not yet clear how long Saunders will be in hospital, according to Mark Pugash, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service.

"We'll have to wait and see how the recovery goes," he said.

Pugash said during Saunders's absence, Deputy Chief James Ramer, who currently handles Specialized Operations Command and has been a member of the Toronto Police Service since 1980, will be acting chief.

About the Author

Lauren Pelley

City Hall reporter

Lauren Pelley is a CBC reporter in Toronto covering city hall and municipal affairs. Contact her at: lauren.pelley@cbc.ca