Doug Hobbs’ Story ~ One of hope, strength and making the most of time
It all began when our good friend Doug Foley told his friend Howie Chinn, that he wanted to give Doug something that would bring him good luck with his kidney transplant. Howie suggested a jade turtle which represents hope, strength and longevity. This served to provide a sense of calm in navigating his way through transplantation. As Howie had recommended, Doug would hold the turtle in his hand, and what came so naturally to him, was to think good thoughts.
For months prior to his kidney transplant, Doug experienced multiple health challenges related to his diabetes, which he had had for over 52 years. For most of his life, since the age of 12, Doug was able to manage his diabetes well. He enjoyed a full and happy family life with his wife Maureen, daughter Heather and son, Colin. However, during his later years, Doug faced even greater health challenges, having to have a leg amputated, and then three years later, the other leg as well. In addition, Doug’s kidneys were failing. Although we had many days of uncertainty and unexpected events, we were not alone. We were grateful for the support we received, for example being cared for by Dr. G. Ganz and the Nursing Renal team at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. We learned how best to cope with our changing life. Doug was initially started on hemodialysis in hospital which was followed by peritoneal dialysis which he continued at home. Doug was a man of tremendous determination, and as he said, “we just have to keep going, deal with the cards that we’ve been dealt, and make the most of every minute.”
Doug was grateful to his brothers, Rick and Keith who both stepped forward to donate their kidney. Following diagnostic tests Keith was selected to be a perfect match, and we were thrilled! Two days prior to his transplant, we flew to Vancouver, and met up with family and friends. Thanks to their generosity, our living accommodation while in Vancouver was taken care of.
On Valentine’s day 2000, Doug received Keith’s kidney. Thankfully both Keith and Doug came through their three-hour surgery without incident, and progressed well in their recovery. It was stunning to note that following Doug’s surgery his creatinine level and his GFR plummeted to a normal kidney function. Hooray For Kidney Transplants! We were both so grateful to Keith and the amazing medical, diagnostic and surgical team at St. Paul’s hospital in Vancouver. Following his transplant, Doug tolerated his anti-rejection medications and worked diligently on his convalescence. We were both humbled by this experience.
Doug’s story is one of gratitude and support for others. Doug wanted to give back, and so we invited friends and family to a fundraising event which we called ‘Kidneys on the Move’ (KOTM). Proceeds from our first KOTM in 2001 were donated to Ken Merkley who, at the time, was the President of the local Victoria Chapter of the Kidney Foundation. Doug, Ken and his wife Bernadette formed a lasting friendship as we all volunteered with the local Victoria Chapter.
KOTM also became the driving force for helping others facing transplantation, such as easing the burden of financial expenses related to accommodation and travel to Vancouver, B.C. As our story and so many others can attest to, the financial burden can never be overstated.
While many people have stepped forward in maintaining KOTM, our good friend Gordie Robinson has recently volunteered as the Director of KOTM. For the skills and expertise that Gordie brings to this position, I know Doug would be so grateful.
With Doug’s positive nature and during this time of COVID, Doug would have us remember the turtle’s message to be calm. Remembering his sense of humour and love of Snoopy, Doug would remind us to “keep looking up, that’s the secret of life.” On Remembrance Day 2012 Doug passed. Dougie will always be loved and remembered as a hero in our hearts.
His loving wife, Maureen Hobbs ~ aka Reno