I thought I lived in a diverse and inclusive City, but… at a time on this planet, when the COVID-19 pandemic is making things more difficult for everyone, we should be looking for ways to make important things easier and not more difficult. We should be looking for solutions and not creating barriers.

All large venues have been closed, and personal distancing is the new norm. arenas, churches, gurdwaras, gyms, recreational centers, libraries and mosques, to name a few, are now empty. People are finding new ways to conform to these new realities. However, the Mayor of Surrey has built roadblocks instead of pathways for the Muslim Community in Surrey.

During Ramadan, Muslims go through their fasting rituals, and each evening there is a break from fasting when there is a call to prayer. Our Muslim Community asked the City of Surrey for a broadcast of this prayer, known as Adhaan, for the final ten days of Ramadan. This request was for one Mosque in Surrey to broadcast this prayer at dusk, as a symbolic gesture during a time when the Mosques are empty. No social gathering, just one person, broadcasting a 2-4-minute call to prayer.

Every other city in Canada, which received a similar request like this, has proudly adopted the request. Our neighbours in Vancouver and Burnaby have these in place, right now, for a nightly broadcast at dusk. In Surrey? Not a chance. The Mayor’s first reply to the request was one day only and at the end of Ramadan. The second reply was the last five days of Ramadan. This request shouldn’t be treated like a bargaining session. This should have been treated with the dignity and respect that other major cities in Canada have shown.

The City of Surrey celebrates and permits many occasions and events. A number of those are done with loud music and speeches. We seem to get through the noise volumes of Canada Day, Fusion Fest, Vaisakhi, Cloverdale Rodeo, Santa Parade, FVED in the Park and other events that create some noise levels for extended periods. To worry about one location in Newton, for ten days and 2 to 4 minutes of prayer seems excessive.

Come on… change this. It’s no different than the 7:00 pm salute to our frontline heroes… or are you going to stop that too?

 

Pulse FM Logo - MikeStarchuk.comClick here to go to the Pulse 107.7 FM interview about this issue.

 

Here is a new plea for a Kidney for Curtis, through the lens of the donor.

On my YouTube Channel, I will be posting a six part video series, (done via Zoom), to provide “bite-sized” nuggets of information throughout the week, about the organ donation process. Our hope, during this devastating COVID-19 pandemic, is that people will take some of their “down time” and look at how they can make a difference.

Questions regarding why I should donate, what happens to me, how long it takes, and other pertinent questions are answered, from the donor’s point of view.

Help us to help Curtis, or someone else, get their life back.

 

Click here to go to my YouTube Channel, to watch the videos.

 

Click on the green ribbon to get even more information on how to register to be an Organ Donor, in BC.

Organ Donation in British Columbia - MikeStarchuk.com

 

 

While the world is in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for organ donations does not go away.

Please join the Canadian Transplant Association’s Green Shirt Day and see if we can keep the Logan Boulet Effect going… Let’s register, call your friends, call your family… be inspired by Logan’s story.

Let’s see if we can find a kidney for my good friend Curtis, who is still waiting for a life altering kidney transplant.

Let’s see if we can change his, or someone else’s, life.

 

 

In British Columbia, you can register to be an Organ Donor, here:
https://register.transplant.bc.ca/

 

To find out more about the Organ Donor Program in BC, click here:
http://www.transplant.bc.ca/our-services/organ-donor-registry/

 

To find out more about Logan Boulet, and Green Shirt Day, click here:
https://greenshirtday.ca/

 

 

When I heard my good friend Curtis needed a kidney, I, along with 12 others, signed up right away. The process started with lab tests, then tests of my heart and lungs. I even had the “joy” of wearing a BP monitor for 24 hours…TWICE! Things were progressing well, but after these tests, I was the only donor who was viable to go forward.

Curtis - Doing his dialysis - Every four hours, every day - MikeStarchuk.comI began this journey to become a kidney donor late in 2018, when I found out Curtis’ first kidney transplant had failed, after 9 ½ years. Things were going along quite well and I was finding out along the way, my current health condition was very good. We got to a point in the testing process where it was determined I could not directly donate to Curtis. There was some sort of anti-body mismatch and the hopes of donating directly, were gone. It was disappointing to all, but the journey wasn’t over.

There is a program at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver BC, that partners a kidney to the patient in need. Knowing there was another way to help Curtis, I continued the testing to see if there was going to be a possible match of my kidney for someone else who also had a partner with a kidney, that matched Curtis.

At the beginning it felt strange to think my kidney was going to go into a stranger. But after talking with my children, who are wiser than they believe, I decided to go through with it. I was willing to lie down on an operating table and wake up later with one less kidney, knowing that Curtis would get his life back. So why would it matter where my kidney ended up as long as Curtis could return to a normal lifestyle?

The final two tests that I had, took place at St. Paul’s Hospital where I had a renogram and a CT scan with dye. After the renogram was done, things were looking bright because it was very obvious my kidneys were functioning equally. So, it seemed like it was just a formality to map out the kidneys with the CT scan. Unfortunately, this is where the journey ended. The CT scan indicated there was some calcification on one of the arteries. Because the doctors at St. Paul’s place a high priority on the donor’s health, it was determined I would not be a candidate.

It had been about eight months to get to where I was in the process. It was disappointing as hell. But from a personal perspective I definitely had a clean bill of health knowing full well that I had the most detailed and complex medical evaluation of my life.

Now the story changes for me, but not Curtis. Curtis still has to find a private place to perform his own personal dialysis every 4 to 5 hours, each and every day. To put it into perspective, medical supplies that Curtis go through on a daily basis, would fill one and a half photocopy paper boxes. Curtis is virtually handcuffed on a daily basis to these medical supplies, which makes it impossible to travel any great distance. As you can imagine this is not a great way to live one’s life.

The story now goes out to the general public as we shake the trees to see if someone can step up and become a living kidney donor. I’m asking you to look at these links and consider stepping up to the most rewarding challenge you will ever face. The testing is done at your own pace and your own schedule. It’s done privately and confidentially and quite frankly the information you get while you’re going through this process is good for your body and soul.

Curtis is a good friend of mine, and we need your help.

Please share this, repost this, print this, talk about this, and help me, help Curtis, get his life back.

 

Find out more about donating, by clicking the link below:

Transplant BC’s – Living Donation Program – Potential Donor & Patient Guide

 

 

 

I will be the Emcee at the third annual Black Tie Event for the Lark Angels Foundation on September 20th at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel.  I have been a ticket holder to this event from Day One and I am pleased to assist this organization as they take the next steps to create their first sensory stimulation room in Surrey.

The Lark Angels Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to the lives of our senior population, especially those suffering with Dementia, a brain disorder affecting their thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday tasks.

Dementia can happen to your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your neighbour, your friend… it can happen to you.

Lark Angels Foundation - 2019 Black Tie Gala Fundraiser - MikeStarchuk.comThe Lark Angels Foundation goal is to build Sensory Stimulation rooms, designed to reach and open minds to the five senses – sound, smell, touch, sight and taste.  These rooms have proven to be beneficial to seniors with dementia, when no other suitable situations are provided. If people living with dementia have nothing to do, they might become increasingly isolated, frustrated, bored and unhappy. A sad, but true, scenario is watching them sit hour by hour staring into space while their brain, like a puzzle, loses one piece at a time.

Dementia can cause memory loss, loss of vocabulary, change of moods, faulty reasoning, and disorientation, to name a few symptoms.  It is recognized that sensory deprivation and lack of appropriate activity has a devastating impact on a person’s well-being and health.  Older people in particular, who are limited in their physical and cognitive abilities, need to be offered, and helped to engage in, activity that provides multi-sensory stimulation as they may not be able to access this kind of stimulation on their own.    

Everyone needs sensory stimulation in order to comprehend the world around them. The only way we can get information into our brains is through our senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and movement. 

Linda Fernholm, Patrick Doyle & Janet Isherwood, directors of Lark Angels Foundation, hope to have, with the help of Associated Health Systems, the first sensory stimulation room built later in the Fall of 2019.  These sensory stimulation rooms will be open to the public and Lark Angels Foundation will rely on donations to support these rooms.

I hope you’ll attend and if you are not able to attend, they ask you to consider becoming a sponsor of this special event and/or donate a gift for the Silent Auction. They are always looking for help and generous support from large corporations and small businesses within our community to help make this happen.

Please join me in helping them in their quest to build these sensory rooms and buy tickets ($100 per person) and/or donate by emailing Janet at info@larkangelsfoundation.org or by phoning Lara at 778-868-9172.  Donation receipts will be issued at that time.

 

Charity #77740 8113 RR0001