Fifteen years ago, Victoria local and professional landscaper Michael Smith was working on a building in the downtown core when he was accidentally pricked by a carelessly discarded needle.
This happened in the spring of 2003 after which he became ill. By fall, he was officially diagnosed with HIV, leading to over a decade of physical health complications and the draining mental health issues that came with it.
Then, in 2013, Mike and his family were hit with the news that one of his three HIV anti-viral drugs – Truvada – had started to cause his kidneys to fail. Despite trying everything in his power to save them, Mike was told that he would soon need a kidney transplant and dialysis in the meantime.
After months of gruelling in-hospital and at-home dialysis treatments, he also developed severe anxiety disorder and began experiencing panic attacks, for which he has had to take medication, delaying his prospects of getting a transplant.
A silver lining on the horizon
Smith, his wife Kathleen, and his two daughters, Michaela (25) and Ashleigh (22), have spent the last 15 years trying to find a way for Mike to be able to lead a normal life.
About four years after his transplant assessment, Mike is finally on the transplant active list and things are looking up.
After some more blood- and paper-work (and if everything else goes according to plan), he will be receiving a call within the next two months to tell him to get ready for the kidney transplant surgery!
But they need our help
Mike’s surgery will be taking place at St. Paul’s Hospital so he and his wife will have to move to Vancouver for at least 2-3 months (perhaps more) during the time that it takes for him to heal.
According to his Facebook post, Kathleen will have to close her business in preparation for the move, and neither of them will be earning for the next few months.
So they’re turning to the extremely generous community in Victoria to help them sustain themselves during this difficult time.
Kathleen Smith and myself are going through a lot of emotions right now as it finally really looks like my kidney…