After her first transplant failed, a Saanich mom with kidney failure gets a second chance at life


WATCH: A 32-year-old Saanich woman with kidney failure told CHEK News last fall she just wanted to feel normal again. But after a failed transplant, that seemed impossible, until a phone call changed her life. April Lawrence reports.

Even simple tasks like making a cup of tea feel a little sweeter these days thanks to a life-saving surgery that has given Drielle Tousignant a second chance at life.

“It’s a happy feeling,” said an emotional Tousignant.

But the past year has been an emotional rollercoaster for the 32-year-old mom of 11-year-old Logan.

CHEK News first spoke to Tousignant in November 2018 as she was about to start dialysis for kidney failure. Only months earlier she had received a kidney from a friend but that transplant failed.

“I don’t remember what it’s like to feel normal,” she said at the time.

Tousignant and her family went to social media desperate to find a new donor then in February she received a phone call.

The voicemail, from St. Paul’s Hospital, remains such a pivotal moment she says she’ll never delete it.

“Makes me emotional listening to it,” she said.

Hours after that voicemail, Tousignant was in a hospital bed in Vancouver ready to receive a new kidney from a deceased donor.

It all went well until the next day when Tousignant started bleeding internally and required a blood transfusion.

It was days before she was out of the woods and as she finally started to recover she noticed an immediate change.

“The first thing I noticed after transplant is my hands are pink, that was the first thing I noticed was pink hands,” she said.

But as her body started coming back to life after years of illness, a sense of guilt also moved in.

“I’m over here humble and happy because I get my second chance at life, where there’s a family grieving. I obviously am still struggling with it a bit, there’s a family grieving a loss of somebody,” said Tousignant.

She plans to write a letter to the family expressing her gratitude for the incredible gift, a gift that has made it possible once again to take her 11-year-old son on adventures and finally remember what it’s like to feel normal.

If you would like to register as an organ donor or check if you have already signed up click here.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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