Garth Schurman and Family
Garth Schurman and his family have seen more than their fair share of kidney troubles over the years.In 1990, Garth lost one kidney to cancer. At that time, it was determined his remaining kidney was operating at 50% and would deteriorate over time. That time came 5 years ago, and Garth has been on dialysis at Summerset Manor ever since. It has become a long term commitment for Garth. He is also fighting cancer again. This time he has myloma in his hip (bone cancer) and that is preventing him from joining the kidney transplant list.
But, the family’s kidney issues didn’t limit themselves to Garth. Garth’s daughter, Tara has also had kidney troubles. Tara’s kidneys stopped developing at a very young age. She eventually found out they were undersized, and, in time, she would need a transplant. With little notice, last year Tara joined her father in hemodialysis at Summerset Manor. But, her cloud had a silver lining. As luck would have it, her mother, Sharon, was a match. In October 2010, mother and daughter shared a kidney transplant. Though still in their first year, both are well on their way to recovery. Sharon felt good about her decision to give a kidney to her daughter. She had wanted to look into donation for her husband, but, because of Garth’s cancer, transplant is not an option even if they were a match. She says of the decision and dialysis treatment, “I didn’t want Tara Lee to have to go through what her father has for the rest of her life. I wanted to see if I could help.” Luckily for Garth and Sharon, their son Rocky has not been affected personally by kidney function. Though as they attest, “It affects the whole family.” It becomes a lifestyle. Three days a week in dialysis, and for them, one more in chemotherapy at PCH.
As a patient, a father, and a husband, Garth Schurman has a unique perspective on hemodialysis in Prince County. He is thoroughly impressed with the staff he encounters three times a week, but wishes the environment matched their quality. “The staff, doctors and nurses are great. Haven’t met a bad one yet,” he chuckled.
Garth has been advocating for a new dialysis unit for some time. He felt that the current unit had outlived its usefulness. Recently his wish came true; the provincial government has elected to replace the unit housed at Summerset manor with a new unit currently under construction at the Prince County Hospital. Garth continues that he has been “helping to work on that for a while,” having spoken to several government officials over the years about the need to relocate the dialysis unit. “It should be at the hospital,” he continues, “especially for those already at PCH (for other reasons).”
“It’s a great convenience. If anything happens to you, you’re right there.” Garth can speak greatly to the convenience. For him it means a great deal. Last year he spent 5 weeks in the PCH due to his cancer. During this time, he had to leave PCH three times a week for his dialysis treatment. Rather than simply walking down a hall, he says, “I had to get dressed, get to the car, be driven to the manor, get in, get undressed and then do it all over again in a few hours.” He continues, “The new unit will be great. I hope it gets up and running soon. It will be a lot better for patients and staff. We’ll be right there (at PCH).”
Says Garth, “The community really needs to know what dialysis is all about, because it (kidney disease) is life-threatening. That’s the reason a patient like me is living. That’s how I’m living.If I decide to stop…that’s it.”