Langford man Mark McHugh is donating his kidney to a complete stranger he may never meet in early February. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Why one Langford teacher is giving his kidney to a stranger

‘You get butterflies in your stomach,’ says man who has had 12 reconstructive surgeries

Mark McHugh will have one less kidney in February.

The Langford man is donating a kidney to a complete stranger – one that he may never meet.

“You get those butterflies in your stomach,” McHugh said. “It’s the waiting part where those feelings kick in. I’ve thought about it so much.”

McHugh will be undergoing surgery in Vancouver to donate a kidney under the Living Anonymous Donor (LAD) program. The idea of donating a kidney for the teacher wasn’t a quick decision, but it began nearly a year ago.

In February 2019, Mark saw a social media post from a Langford woman who was in need of a kidney. She needed someone with A positive blood. When he saw the post, he was inspired to get blood work done to see if he was a good match. After all, he wanted to help someone who was going through a health scare – something his family has experienced firsthand more than once.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Furry, four-legged donors make their way to doggy blood drive in Langford

In 2007, McHugh was viciously attacked by a pitbull and had to undergo 12 reconstructive surgeries to his face. Now, the scars on his face are fully healed and barely noticeable.

When McHugh’s daughter was five, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She beat it, but the tumour grew back when she was seven. Fast-forward and she’s fully recovered and is about to graduate from Lighthouse Christian Academy, where her dad teaches applied design skills technology classes, plus does marketing for the school.

“I thought about asking [the surgeons] for a photo or video of the surgery for teachable moments,” joked McHugh. “It’s a journey with the students as well. I’ve talked about it to my classes and we’re on this ride together.”

ALSO READ: 66% of B.C. residents want opt-out system for organ donation: poll

Weeks after blood tests were complete, McHugh found out that the woman he initially would donate to had already found another organ donor, but he wanted to continue the process.

On Dec. 24, 2019, he was given the “all-clear” and he confirmed a surgery date in early February.

With the days counting down, McHugh isn’t scared. Notably, there is a three out of 10,000 chance of death during the surgery. His determination is inspired by another teacher who received two kidney donations 22 years ago.

John Dobson’s first donated kidney was rejected by his body, but luckily the second donation worked and has been functional ever since.

“I believe God was working through all of this,” said Dobson, a Grade 5 and 6 teacher. “It’s been a huge blessing not having to be chained to the rhythm of dialysis. It was an indefinite gift and a huge blessing.”

Mark will not be able to teach for two months, but Principal Karen Daniels said they are training a temporary replacement. McHugh’s time off is taken care of by his health coverage and his expenses for travel and accommodations in Vancouver are covered by The Living Organ Donation Expense Reimbursement Program.

The only thing that’s missing is the identity of the person he’s giving his kidney too.

According to McHugh, he has to wait a year to write a letter to the recipient – and that is a day worth waiting for.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula Branch of Royal Canadian Legion leaves North Saanich after 90 years

Branch will temporarily operate out of SHOAL Centre for Seniors

Police watchdog looking for witnesses to arrests in Victoria’s inner harbour

One male left injured after arrests near Red Fish Blue Fish

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

City frustrated as truck lodged under bridge one week after Victoria installs new signage

Dozens of trucks and buses have hit the E&N Rail bridge on Hereward Road

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Most Read