In the News; Against All Odds

Last September, after  I restarted dialysis after about 31 years with my kidney transplant from July 1987, I wanted to raise awareness about organ donation. 

That lead to my calling the Penticton Western newspaper, and a reporter interviewing me and printing a story in the paper showing me on dialysis.

Now it’s nearly six months since my April 24, 2019 surgery and I decided  to call the Penticton Western newspaper again so they could do a followup report.

October 11, 2019 – appropriately close to Thanksgiving, this is the story that they printed. 

You can read here or below.



Penticton resident David Folstad has now had three kidney transplants in 32 years. The odds of successfully finding a match for him when he was placed on the transplant list for the third time were just one per cent, but thanks to a donation chain expanding across the country and dear close friend, they found him a match. (Jordyn Thomson – Western News)

The Headline :

Against All Odds: Penticton resident looks back at receiving three kidneys in 32 years

David Folstad received his third successful kidney transplant in Vancouver in April

Against what may seem like impossible odds, Penticton’s David Folstad is six months post-surgery after successfully receiving his third donated kidney in 32 years.

Folstad received his first kidney at the Vancouver General Hospital in 1986 after being diagnosed with kidney disease at age 19.

This surgery would prove unsuccessful, his body rejecting the transplant, leaving Folstad fighting for his life for the next five months.

Luckily, fate was on his side and he received another kidney in 1987 that went on to last him for 31 years.

“When that transplant gradually diminished in operation, I started the process to find a donor, and they said they could give me another chance but the only way they could do it is if someone else donates a kidney for you,” said Folstad, who was forced to start dialysis again at Penticton Regional Hospital in September 2018. “Since there are so many people waiting to have a transplant and I’ve already had two, it made sense.”

So Folstad began contacting friends and relatives to see if anyone would consider donating a kidney.

But unfortunately, it wasn’t just a matter of whether someone was willing to donate.

Because he had survived on a donated kidney for over three decades, his body had built up resistance due to the medication he was on, meaning there was about a one per cent chance of finding a match for Folstad this time around.

“I had quite a few friends and family that got tested, but nobody was a match, which is what we expected,” said Folstad. “But the second option we could do is (my friend or family member) could offer to be a donor for someone else, causing a chain reaction where someone else who wasn’t a match for their (loved one) could still offer to donate to someone else and all of the donors in the chain are matched with recipients.”

Folstad said he had a close friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, willing to donate his kidney to someone else so long as Folstad received one in return, so he was put on the transplant list.

He said he was still told it could take years if they ever find him a match, but they would be searching through the national database four times per year. It didn’t take that long.

“The phone rings and it’s the transplant coordinator for Vancouver General and she says ‘I’ve never seen this happen, I don’t think I’ll ever see it again, but we found a close match for you on our first try,’” said Folstad.

“They told me the donation chain that I was on involved multiple people in hospitals across Canada. They also said to not get your hopes up because someone could get sick and the chain could break.”

He was advised to not even talk about the fact that they had lined up a donor, because donation chains can break for any number of reasons, such as a donor getting sick.

It wasn’t until the end of January that he finally got the call that his surgery had been scheduled for April.

“So this meant that I had 12 more weeks of dialysis, and all of a sudden it was like swimming the length of a pool underwater, but you can see that you’re going to be able to breathe at the end if you just hang on,” said Folstad. “Before this, there was the possibility that I would just die on dialysis because there are people waiting and dying on the list every day.”

Folstad said the surgery was a success overall, although he had some complications so it took an hour longer than expected, and he was discharged from the hospital within six days. He had to stay in Vancouver for the following six weeks to be assessed by the hospital’s transplant team, but Folstad used it as a chance to stay and visit with his father who lives in the area.

Now six months later, he is enjoying the freedom of no longer having to be on dialysis three times a week for 4.5 hours at a time. Looking back, he said he never lost hope in the process, but recognized that there are many out there who didn’t get the happy ending he did.

“It wasn’t that long ago that an elderly relation of mine was sick, and they told him he had kidney failure, and he decided he didn’t want to dialysis and he died after about six days.

“And that happens, people get tired of the whole process and the diet and the discomfort, etcetera. So I never gave up hope because my family saw the one per cent chance as ‘Yay, one per cent!’ because it wasn’t zero,” said Folstad.

I am fortunate to live in a city that has a newspaper that promotes Community news, and that includes helping raise awareness about Organ Donation.

I hoped you enjoyed this post. 

Please consider talking to your family about being an organ donor, let the doctors decide after you pass what they can use to help someone else.

Living donation is happening more and more. You can find out more about that by clicking here. 

About dfolstad58

I live in the South Okanagan. BC. I enjoy reading, exercise, toastmasters. spending time with my son, my daughter, & her husband , and my patient wife. I try to respond personally to every comment on my blog, and in this way I hope to get to know my readers a little bit and and am able to thank readers for their encouragement on what they liked and suggestions on what they would like to see me try in order to improve.
This entry was posted in FAVORITE POSTS - A Few of them ♥, health, okanagan related and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to In the News; Against All Odds

  1. Simply Pao says:

    God is good! God bless you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful story, Dave, and thanks for bringing attention to it. A good friend of mine is on dialysis and waiting …

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Elaine says:

    What a brilliant story 3 transplants over the years, amazing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • dfolstad58 says:

      It’s been quite a ride! Thank you for commenting, I appreciate it Elaine.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi David Folstad,

      I concur with Elaine. May you live for many more years happily doing whatever that brings you satisfaction!

      Liked by 1 person

      • dfolstad58 says:

        Thank you, I hope to live many more years enjoying much better health. I woke early to panoramic pink sunrise, it was gone in ten minutes. Life is like that, enjoy it while you can.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hi David Folstad,

        You are very welcome! It is delightful to know that you are enjoying life and nature as you wish and to your satisfaction.

        I have composed a very comprehensive essay about living in the moment and its corollaries.

        Speaking of appreciating something such as the sunrise or living in the present moment, you might be interested to peruse my “magnum opus” at

        Some of my posts and pages can be very long. However, they each have one of more navigational menus to allow readers to instantly jump to different sections within the post or page concerned.

        Please be informed that many of my multimedia posts will benefit from being viewed on a large screen of a desktop or laptop computer, since those lengthy multimedia posts and my blog could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

        May you find the rest of the year very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, thinking and blogging!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. joyroses13 says:

    That is great!! We never know what may happen, even when the odds are against us!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. It’s wonderful that things have worked out for you.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Lynn says:

    Fabulous article! Stay well my friend!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great article, and thanks for sharing. I hadn’t realized that donation chains existed.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dalo 2013 says:

    Such an amazing and inspiring story, David. Shows the beauty of good people will shine through when needed, it is what I love about human nature especially in this time of negativity. I had never heard of donation chains, and what an incredible service. Great write up, great post. Wishing you a great autumn – and every day being a Thanksgiving. Take care.

    Liked by 3 people

    • dfolstad58 says:

      We just had Thanksgiving, this year it was October 14 and the newspaper article was out close to that. I have much to give thanks for, and people to give thanks to. Gratitude is an attitude I tried to have even during the dialysis as it was keeping me alive. I appreciate your visit and your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Kamran says:

    Loved reading this. Thanks for the follow pal

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Pingback: Against the odds, time for a trip | Life and Random Thinking

  11. lorieb says:

    amazing and inspirational story! I had no idea donation chains were a thing, what a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Do You Know What Day It Is? | Life and Random Thinking

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s