After Reportedly Waiting 5+ Years for Kidney, 47-Year-Old Man Dies Just as Potential Match Is Found


One sad fact of life is that heroes don’t always win. Sometimes all your striving just can’t carry the day.

Sadly, that has proved true with a Canadian advocate for organ donation. However, his efforts may still have done some good in the end.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, Steve Dunn — a resident of Orléans in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada — suffered a stroke at the age of 35. Most of us are familiar with the neurological damage that such an injury can cause.

But in Dunn’s case, it did something more: It caused his kidneys to stop functioning.

That caused him to land on dialysis. For three times a week, he had to sit for four-and-a-half hours while a machine cleaned his blood.

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There was only one treatment that stood a chance of aiding him: a kidney transplant. So Dunn found himself stuck in a holding pattern, waiting for an organ to become available.

It’s a plight shared by plenty of Canadians. About 10 percent of the nation’s people suffer from some kind of chronic kidney disease, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

What’s more, 4,300 Canadians need a new kidney at any point in time. So Dunn decided that he wouldn’t stoically wait, but would instead take action.

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He had a message emblazoned on the back of his white GMC truck.

It read, “Asking for help. I need a kidney transplant. Many others like myself need your help. Don’t take your organs to Heaven. Save a life instead.”

Dunn had already tried to see if family and friends could help. But because he had O-positive blood, he could only receive an organ from someone that shared it.

Commenting on his vehicle-mounted message, Dunn told the Ottawa Citizen, “It’s probably not going to help me — although it would be a miracle if it did — but maybe it will help people down the road. At least it might make people think about organ donation.”

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Sadly, he was right. The Ottawa Citizen reported that he passed away on May 27 from a stroke or some kind of cardiac event.

The most tragic part was the fact that he had an organ donor ready to help him.

Family member Dave Dunn said, “He had a donor lined up, and she was undergoing the testing for the transplant, but unfortunately, it was too late.”

However, his sad story had at least one good outcome. Physicians were able to harvest several of his organs so he could save someone else’s life.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Wheaton College
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