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Penticton pair on road to recovery following kidney transplant

Terry Folkestad and Kellie Wesley share a laugh before their flight to for kidney transplant surgery at Vancouver General Hospital in January. The pair are currently doing well in recovery. - Western News file photo
Terry Folkestad and Kellie Wesley share a laugh before their flight to for kidney transplant surgery at Vancouver General Hospital in January. The pair are currently doing well in recovery.
— image credit: Western News file photo

A Penticton woman who would do almost anything for her friends has taken it even one step further.

Watching Terry Folkestad wither away while waiting for a kidney transplant, Kellie Wesley decided to do something about it, and on Jan. 14 she became a living donor. The pair are now on the road to recovery and friends and family surrounded Wesley last week at a sold-out fundraiser and awareness event at the Best Damn Sports Bar.

“She basically saved his life so we decided to put this together to help support them because she is out of commission for awhile and can’t work,” said Brad Schedel, a friend of the pair. “It is also to raise awareness and to acknowledge this ultimate act of kindness. It is a pretty awesome thing to do and maybe people will see that they can do this for each other and save lives.”

Folkestad, who is also from Penticton, has polycystic kidney disease. His rare blood type made finding a kidney transplant match just that much more difficult.

“With his rare blood type, his waiting list was taking forever and his health was deteriorating quite dramatically. He had weight loss and no energy. He was just gone and I could see him fading,” said Schedel.

While Wesley is now at home recovering, Folkestad has been in Vancouver staying close to the hospital but is expected to be back in Penticton this week. Wesley said the physicians and hospital staff took extremely good care of them and made sure she was at ease before the surgery.

“Terry is doing really, really well and his energy is starting to come back and his appetite,” said Wesley.

Close to 200 people attended the fundraiser on Feb. 14 at the Best Damn Sports Bar.

“It was awesome and we are thankful for those who came and helped. There were people there that I didn’t even know,” said Wesley. “I am not sure how much we raised yet, but it was a huge success because we also signed up a lot of people for organ donation and really raised awareness for that.”

The money will go towards the costs incurred by Wesley and Folkestad before and after the operation, any funds leftover will be going back to the Kidney Foundation.

“We would like to earmark the funds for other people in our situation because it is quite expensive with hotels, food, rental cars and staying in the area after you are released from the hospital for check-ups,” said Wesley.

For her act of kindness, Wesley will be presented the Courage Award at the eighth annual Women Front and Centre Gala fundraiser on March 2 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. To learn more about how to become a registered organ donor, visit www.transplant.bc.ca.

 

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