February 12th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 6
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Fundraising for Hewison family
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
David Selles Photo
Natalie Hewison and her brother Chris pose for a photo before their operations
as Chris donated a kidney to his sister.
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
In December of 2012, Natalie Hewison was diagnosed with kidney disease and she would eventually need a kidney transplant.

Her combined function of both kidneys fluctuated between 18 and 12 per cent, eventually going to 8 per cent.

In spite of these challenges, Natalie has never let this slow her down.

She is a darling red head with a zeal for life and has always left the doctors to marvel at her activity levels despite what her numbers say.

She loves all sports and volleyball and snowboarding are her current favourites.

She has a wonderful exuberant spirit with a strong personality and the most infectious laugh.

Her brave brother, Chris, offered his kidney and when the time came, while in his first year of his orthopedic residency, the operation was performed in January of this year.

There have been some very serious complications but things are progressing one small step at a time and ultimately the new kidney is doing its job.

Overall, Rupert says thing have been going well.

"It's been going okay. It's a process. When the transplant happened, there's a lot of stuff that goes on for the next 3 months, six months and a year where they're balancing everything out, watching medications and how she's responding to the new kidney. Overall the doctors have been really happy."
continued below ...
There have still been some challenges for the family throughout this process.

"Natalie's had a couple of setbacks. Right now she's being treated for a bladder infection. These are side effects that they're always looking for," said Rupert.

"Juggling our lives with the rest of the family. We've got grandma at home looking after the other kids who are home right now. She'll be going home and then Vicki and I will be going back and forth. Lot's of logistics and making sure everyone's looked after."

There are also future surgeries in Natalie's future.

"Natalie had a surgery on Friday, February 7th to remove a stint that was put into her bladder during the transplant. There will be more in future months as well," said Vicki.

Vicki has taken an extended leave from work for an indefinite period of time.

Natalie is also on a number of new and very important medications, 13 to be exact, one of them alone is just over $700 a month and not all of them are covered or covered fully on Rupert's medical plan.

Out of pocket expense can be quite steep.

There are blood tests everyday.
continued below ...
Natalie was in hospital for 3 weeks for the surgery and is now at Ronald MacDonald House, post op protocol and new medications require close monitoring so she has to go to the hospital and have blood her levels checked which usually takes up the whole morning.

Vicki and Rupert continue to get instructions on the care Nat will need, it can all be overwhelming.

As time goes by she will go home but will have to return to Calgary every week, then every month, for a year.

Another part that makes this process challenging is the lack of a set timeline the family can go by.

"She'll always be chronically ill still. They say it can take up to a year for things to settle down. It's all dependent on how her body takes the new kidney, if there's any rejection or infections, that can affect the timeline as well. You can't really say it will take a certain amount of time or anything like that," said Rupert.

Expenses like gas, food and accommodation continue to come into play and they could really use the financial aid to see them through.

The Hewison's say they are extremely grateful for all the help they've already received.

"We really appreciate the help from friends and the community. The way they've come around and helped us out with so many things has been greatly appreciated."

If anyone would like to donate financial support to the Hewison family, they can do so at the Bellevue Post Office or online at their go fund me page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/fiery-redhead-gets-kidney-from-her-big-brother.
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February 12th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 6
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