Richard and Tracy Stuart have been supporting each other through some very tough times. Richard found out last summer that he will be needing a Kidney. Tracy, after being tested to donate her kidney to Richard, discovered she has blood cancer. Now the two are still in search of a kidney donor while trying to manage their many medical appointments. (Photo courtesy of Tracy Stuart)

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Richard and Tracy Stuart would give the shirt off their backs to someone in need if they could.

But the Nanaimo couple, who have been together for nearly 25 years, are facing problems of their own right now.

Richard has diabetes and last summer, his kidney function dropped rapidly. He was told to find a kidney donor.

His wife Tracy was more than willing to donate her kidney to her husband and found out she was the perfect match after some blood work. She continued with the rest of the tests necessary to donate but the tests revealed something unexpected.

Tracy has myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells which are a type of white blood cell that produce antibodies.

“I just put my head down and apologized because I felt so guilty having cancer and not being able to save his live,” Tracy said. “You can’t imagine the feeling of guilt that went through me.”

Before the diagnoses, Tracy was a manager at PetSmart in Nanaimo and Richard worked at London Drugs in both Nanaimo and Duncan.

READ MORE: Victoria mom calls for more organ donors after first kidney transplant fails

The couple now spends their time caring for each other and managing the several appointments they each have to go to. They bought planners to keep track of everything and left their jobs.

“It’s almost overwhelming,” Richard said. “We try to plan what’s next and what we have to do.”

Richard began kidney dialysis earlier this month while Tracy begins chemotherapy at the end of January. Her chemotherapy is expected to take at least five months after which a stem cell transplant will require her to stay in Vancouver for a month.

“I don’t want to leave him for a month,” Tracy said.

As Richard prepared for dialysis, he also found out he has heart problems (requiring stent implants) as well as a hernia.

Graham Bunn, a Langford resident, is Tracy’s son and Richard’s stepson.

He said dealing with the news of Tracy and Richard has been difficult on him and his brother.

“It felt like you got punched in the face once with my stepdad’s kidney and then you find out your mom has cancer and get punched in the face again,” Bunn said. “They’re my family, they’re my loved ones.”

READ MORE: Langford mother donates kidney to daughter

A friend of Tracy and Richard’s set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the couple’s everyday costs as well as costs to go to Vancouver for treatment. But they are also in search of a kidney donor.

“You can have all the money in the world but in the end you still have cancer, you still need a kidney,” Tracy said.

A few people have been tested to see if they could donate a kidney but none have worked out so far.

According to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, everyone has two kidneys but can live a healthy life with just one. Living donations give someone an alternative to dialysis or a deceased donor transplant.

Donating a kidney is the most frequent type of living organ donation and most successful of all transplant procedures.

At the moment, Bunn is in the process of being tested as is another friend of the family.

“We’ve had huge support from friends and family members,” Bunn said.

Tracy and Richard are also receiving a great deal of support from Tracy’s parents, they said. Tracy’s father beat three separate bouts of cancer and has been able to speak with Tracy about what to expect.

“We went down to the cancer clinic yesterday,” Tracy said. “I looked at my father and he was starting to tear up because he knew what was to come for me and he didn’t want that.”

Despite everything the couple is going through, Tracy said she is still willing to speak on Richard’s behalf and find him a kidney.

“We’re so worried about each other that we’re not worried about ourselves…it’s hard to explain,” Tracy said. “We’re so tired, we have no energy, it’s just so much stress.”

Tracy and Richard’s GoFundMe page can be found here.

Those interested in donating a kidney can e-mail www.kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘It’s a game changer’: 15-year-old wins professional skateboarding contest on two skateboards

‘No one has ever seen it before’ said producer of Cloverdale contest

Winners to come to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre

Former Zellers to also include a gym and daycare

Peace Arch Hospital, Sources requesting volunteers

Program to help seniors get home safely after hospital stay

Saddle bronc rider earns highest score in Cloverdale Rodeo’s history

In 73 years, no one had achieved a 94 in saddle bronc —until last night

Structure fire destroys Surrey tire shop, closes section of Fraser Highway

RCMP have closed Fraser Highway down to traffic from 152 Street to 88 Avenue

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

UPDATE: Multi-vehicle crash on Highway 1 east of Chilliwack

First responders on scene with multiple patients from four vehicles involved in westbound lanes

Police watchdog investigating motorcycle crash in Kamloops

A Kamloops Mountie had stopped the driver for speeding, but they raced off from the 0fficer

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Most Read

l -->