Arlene and Bill Fish stand with Bill’s ‘sister,’ Pat Haddad, who donated a kidney to Bill in January 2011. Both donor and donee are doing well, 10 years later. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Arlene and Bill Fish stand with Bill’s ‘sister,’ Pat Haddad, who donated a kidney to Bill in January 2011. Both donor and donee are doing well, 10 years later. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Flash of insight leads to the saving of Salmon Arm man’s life

Pair urges more people to consider becoming a kidney donor

Pat Haddad did not stop to ponder one of the most momentous decisions of her life; she made it instantaneously.

Pat’s spouse Rod and another Salmon Arm resident, Bill Fish, were both working at BC Hydro at the time.

Haddad had met Fish a couple of times at company parties. At some point, Haddad heard he was in need of a kidney transplant.

Fish was suffering from hereditary polycystic kidney disease, which fills the kidney with cysts, enlarging it until it loses function. Bill’s son could have been a donor, but Fish wanted him to save his kidney for his sister, in case she needed it.

Early that summer, Haddad drove downtown and stepped out of her car when Arlene, Bill’s spouse, walked past.

Haddad describes the moment that occurred more than 10 years ago.

“It was like a momentary, sudden, shot in the head, and I said ‘Arlene, I hear Bill needs a kidney’ and she said, ‘Yes he does.’ I said, ‘Well what blood type is he?’ and she said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘Well you know what, I’m going to go get tested and we’re going to match.’ And that was an instantaneous thing. I said, ‘We’re going to match.’”

Haddad drove straight home and phoned the Kidney Foundation in Vancouver. She provided her name and the donee’s.

Read more: 2019 – Organ donations saved record 502 lives last year in B.C.

Read more: 2011 – A donation for life

The foundation began the testing to see if Haddad would be a viable donor. Lots and lots of testing, she said. Testing which, ultimately, did not just benefit Fish.

The tests revealed that Haddad needed a parathyroidectomy, because her thyroid was stealing calcium out of her system.

“I would have never found out until I fell and broke a major bone,” she explained. “So it was a blessing in disguise for me.”

That piece of news also made a difference for Fish.

“She had a little problem too. When they did all the tests on her and they found out, they probably saved her life too, going down the same road as her mother did. So I felt a little better then,” he said, his voice filled with emotion.

“There’s nothing you can do to repay somebody. I’m not a religious person, but it sure makes you think somebody is looking after you, right?”

In October 2010 Haddad had the thyroid surgery, which didn’t affect her ability to be a donor. In fact, she never wavered. Although Fish was unsure whether Haddad would be a match, she was always certain.

When Haddad returned to Salmon Arm two days after the thyroid operation, she was greeted with a phone message. The kidney transplant surgery was a go; it was scheduled for Jan. 17, 2011.

By this time Fish was quite sick. His kidney function was down to about 12 per cent of normal. Following the surgery, which is done laparoscopically, the results were dramatic – like night and day, he announced happily.

Read more: 2019 – Baby Britton makes billboard debut for David Foster Foundation

Read more: One family’s decision gives three people the ultimate gift on Christmas Day

Haddad said Fish would say to her that she’d given him a life.

“I said no, no, I didn’t give you a life, I gave you your life back, but I didn’t give you a life.”

The pair will soon celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the surgery. Haddad is now 75 and Fish, nearly 68. They refer to each other as brother and sister.

“They kept saying to him, are you sure you’re not related to her, you’re such a close match? He would say no, we’re not related,” smiled Haddad.

They see each other a couple of times a year, and both know they would do anything for the other.

Arlene says with a smile that Bill eats too much ice cream now that he has Haddad’s kidney, because that’s what she does.

“I have a sweet tooth now,” laughs Bill.

Both Fish and Haddad emphasize the same message to the public. If you want to be a donor, sign up now. The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon Branch can be found via Facebook or its website. BC Transplant’s Living Donation website can be found at http://www.transplant.bc.ca/health-info/organ-donation/living-donation.

“We’re all the same way, our lives are too busy to put an ‘X’ on that piece of paper, but it could save a life,” he urged.

Haddad agreed.

“It’s probably one of the biggest, momentous things you can do in your life for somebody.”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon ArmHealth

 

Bill Fish, kidney donee, and Pat Haddad, kidney donor, get together in hospital following the surgery in January 2011. (Contributed)

Bill Fish, kidney donee, and Pat Haddad, kidney donor, get together in hospital following the surgery in January 2011. (Contributed)

Just Posted

A key in the lock of a door. (File photo)
Sicamous residents say lack of long-term rentals detrimental to town

A couple who have lived in Sicamous for 27 years and want to stay might have to leave

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Brodie Stuart and her mom, Mikel Stuart, gather for the celebration at Parkview Elementary on June 18, 2021. (Zachary Roman - Eagle Valley News)
Three Shuswap parents honoured for combined 34 years of volunteering

Parkview Elementary parent advisory council members surprised by appreciative flash mob

Centennial Field in Blind Bay will be the site of Market by the Bay on Thursday nights starting June 24, 2021. (Columbia Shuswap Regional District photo)
Forty vendors expected for new Market by the Bay in the South Shuswap

Market starting June 24 to be situated at Centennial Field in Blind Bay

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to collect donations ahead of Kristy Handel’s 33-kilometre run for Chelaine McInroy (pictured) to cover costs for a new prosthetic leg after her June 12, 2021, surgery. (GoFundMe)
Salmon Arm woman runs to raise funds for friend’s new prosthetic leg

33-kilometre Run for Chelaine to help athlete cover medical costs from latest surgery

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read