Calgary man ‘given a miracle’ after stranger offers to donate kidney

Last Update: November 26, 2018 at 11:41 am

SOURCE:  Calgary Herald

DATE:  November 26, 2018


Calgary man ‘given a miracle’ after stranger offers to donate kidney


Ryan Mclennan, the Calgary shop teacher who put up dozens of billboards in the search of a kidney transplant donor, will be heading for surgery late this month after a stranger selflessly offered to save his life.


“A match has been found and a surgery date booked,” reads Mclennan’s Facebook post, written on Friday. “It is the most incredible thing and a chance to live without pain every day; a chance to get some of my life back! The road ahead is unknown, but I have hope.”

Back in February, Maclennan and his wife Shakina purchased 27 giant black and yellow digital signsaround the city stating in all capital letters “Ryan Mclennan needs a living kidney donor” who has blood type O.

The billboards featured a photo of the couple and their phone number for potential donors to call and directed people to a Facebook page started by the family to help spread Mclennan’s story and find him a donor.

He said 30 potential donors came forward after the billboards went up, but one by one doctors ruled all of them as incompatible for the transplant.


But that’s where Airdrie resident Tony Timmons enters the Maclennan’s life.

Maclennan said he’d never met Timmons until a few months ago but, as luck would have it, Timmons’ wife runs a daycare attended by one of Maclennan’s co-worker’s children.

Timmons saw one of the billboards and started going through donor testing and it turns out he was a match for Maclennan.

The co-worker helped connect the two men who have become fast friends, with Maclennan saying Timmons is an “all-around awesome person.”

“You can only say thank you so many times, but he’s definitely a hero in my eyes,” Maclennan told Postmedia, speaking of Timmons and his more-than-generous offer.

“I’ve had extremely good friends and family members who really didn’t have the courage to step forward, and then I have someone who doesn’t even know me step forward.”

Maclennan said he put off announcing the news he had found a match because there still a chance the surgery could get bumped by a few days or he won’t be healthy enough to go through with the operation.

“The docs tell me if I get sick, if I get bad blood results, or for a few other reasons, then the surgery will not happen,” he said. “But I have to be strong and think positive because I have been given a miracle.”


Mclennan was a mechanic before his kidneys began to fail about 15 years ago and he was unable to continue working in his field.

He is now mechanics and autobody teacher at Father Lacombe High School in Calgary, winning a Teacher of the Year award about four years ago.

Elaine Austin, Mclennan’s mother, donated her own kidney for her son’s first transplant around 15 years ago.

She told Postmedia in February her son’s health had been “pretty good” until the last year, when his body began to reject the transplanted kidney.

Mclennan’s surgery is scheduled for Nov. 28 and said it “will be one of the greatest days of my life.”

He thanked all his supporters and followers over Facebook, calling Timmons an “amazing person” willing to change his life for the better.

“This process has changed me,” he said. “It has made me see the light and what is important.”