ONE FOCUS

Ryan Hogan has been there, too often, during the worst time in a person’s life. A police officer in a mid-sized Ontario town, 43-year-old Hogan has seen people suffer, and sometimes lose their lives, in traumatic incidents. He knows better than anyone how quickly things can change for victims and their loved ones.

Hogan wanted to give someone their best day, in fact their best life. And he knew how he would do it. All because of a guy he calls “Scrooge.”

In 2012, Hogan’s friend of 20 years was diagnosed with kidney disease. Joe, who Hogan says they call Scrooge because he’s a big bear with a heart of gold, got progressively sicker until his wife was found to be a match. With a new kidney, Hogan was amazed at the dramatic change in Joe’s quality of life.

So Hogan reached out to St. Michael’s Hospital where Joe had the operation and asked a lot of questions. “I learned that the number of people waiting for transplants is astronomical. How many people die because they can’t get a transplant was a shock to me,” says Hogan. “I had no idea how vast the problem was.”

Hogan knew he wanted to be an anonymous donor. At first, he worried about not having a kidney for Joe just in case he needed it down the road. But they agreed the situation was too dire. Hogan had to go ahead and donate.

By donating his kidney to a stranger, Hogan set off a domino effect: his donated kidney triggered a chain of multiple living donor transplants that would otherwise not have occurred. Suddenly, Hogan’s urge to do something positive became, as he puts it, “progressively powerful.”

On July 11, 2017, surgeons carefully placed Hogan’s kidney into a cooler. From there, it was rushed to Toronto Pearson airport and on board a flight to Vancouver where it was delivered by police escort to the waiting recipient.

“Vancouver is a beautiful place and now there’s a part of me cruising the streets there,” Hogan says. A year post surgery and Hogan is, by his own description, “healthier than ever” and even closer to his friend. For Hogan, doing something good was a no-brainer. “I only need one kidney and I couldn’t imagine not doing it. It was the right thing.”

The Transplant and Kidney Care Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital is grateful for people like Ryan Hogan. Each year, the centre performs 150 transplants, twice as many as we performed just 10 years ago. And we treat more than 1,700 post-renal patients annually because the reality is, people with kidney disease are patients for life.  

Ensuring we can meet the needs of our current and future patients is the reason for One Focus, a $7 million fundraising campaign to equip our centre with the state-of-the-art facilities our patients deserve. The campaign will also support world-leading research to ensure that transplants work as they need to. Our history of innovation combined with our leading-edge physicians and scientists have made St. Mike’s a destination for the best in kidney care. 

But we can always do more. Please join us as we take kidney research and treatment to the next level and give our patients what they need to manage this lifelong disease.

To donate, please click here, or contact Ashley Downey at DowneyA@smh.ca