July 20th, 2024

‘Donors can change lives’ says man who gave kidney

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on April 2, 2024.

Submitted photo - DJ Scott donated one of his kidneys to a family friend in May 2021.

DJ Scott, vice principal at Spring Glen Junior High School in Hill Spring, donated his left kidney to a family friend in need during in May 2021.

He has since joined the Kidney Donor Athletes and most recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with a group of 14 KDA members along with a transplant surgeon.

“It has not changed my lifestyle at all. Not even one difference and I was hiking. I’m an avid hiker and backpacker and jogger. I jog and run,” said Scott.

He shared how he first realized his family friend was in need of a kidney transplant.

“I saw a post on Facebook, it was during COVID. They couldn’t get family help from across the line. So, they wanted help… We did a lot of testing on my health, made sure I was healthy enough. And that took about three or four months,” he said.

Once Scott was proven healthy enough to donate a kidney and tested good for a cross match with his family friend, he informed his friend of the good news.

“I called him up and then kind of jokingly said, ‘do you want a kidney?’ And he says ‘yeah, that would be amazing’ and didn’t realize it was already tested and ready to go.

“That was kind of comical because he had lots of people saying (they would) help out but then he realized I was serious. I said, ‘well I’m gonna get some time off work.'”

Scott expressed the impact donors can make in someone’s life and the awareness he shares with his students.

“Donors can change lives and make a difference. And obviously the kids, all my students know that I’ve done this, they were a part of it actually, just because I’m very open with my students…

“People can survive with other people donating their organs, whether it’s people that are passed on or people that have living donors,” said Scott.

He said his friend is currently doing well with his new kidney.

“He’s extremely healthy. His family calls the kidney little DJ, it just went right to work and cleaned his blood like that.”

Scott voiced how he feels being able to help a family friend to have a better life.

“It’s very humbling. The fact that I can even be involved in something like that there’s really no words. The fact that you can help another person basically save their life.

My wife was extremely supportive. And we’re so happy that this young man is better, feeling better and is able to work and be with his family again, and hike, do things that he’s hasn’t been able to do for many, many years.”

April 7 marks Green Shirt Day in honour of Logan Boulet, whose parents Toby and Bernadine donated his organs after he succumbed to injuries suffered in the 2018 crash of the Humboldt Broncos team bus in Saskatchewan.

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