Blair leads walk for organ donation awareness  

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

KaidynWalk.3  by Sylene Argent

In his continued effort to raise awareness about the organ donation registry and in continuing to encourage local residents to sign up to be a donor, 15-year old Kaidyn Blair, a liver transplant recipient, led around 100 individuals through Town on Saturday morning during this year’s installment of “Kaidyn’s Dream…A Walk for Life.”

The majority of the eventgoers walked through town, while others made the trek to Windsor Regional Hospital Metropolitan Campus.

This year’s event raised awareness and funds for organ and tissue donation and W.E. Care for Kids’ $400,000 Campaign to the new Ronald McDonald House in Windsor.

Born with Biliary Atresia, Blair received a lifesaving organ transplant shortly after his first birthday. Having a second chance at life is what motivates the local ambassador for organ donation to spread awareness about the importance of signing up to be a donor at

Over the past several years, Blair’s advocacy work has helped increase the number of Essex area individuals on the organ donation registry from 18 percent to 42 percent. He enjoys being a role model for his six-year old friend, Emily Ledoux, who was also born with Biliary Atresia. She received a piece of her father’s liver over a year ago.

Blair was pleased to welcome many individuals to the walk, especially two special guests in Dr. Aubrey Goldstein and his wife, Caroline Vanneste.

Goldstein explained when he was in med school in 1982, he was experiencing health issues and was diagnosed with a liver disease. It would take 13 years for him to get the proper diagnosis, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, as he did not have enough signs during testing.

When he moved to Ottawa from Windsor, he saw a Hepatologist and was given the diagnosis then. In early May of 1998, after he said he almost blead to death, Goldstein received a liver transplant. The disease is now coming back, he noted. He will need another transplant. He may be the first in Canada to utilize a living donor as a second transplant.KaidynWalk

His wife Vanneste donated a kidney to a friend. She said she was in good health, and had witnessed people suffer in need of a transplant. She thought this would be a way she could help. Her friend was one she met through the transplant community.

“It was incredible,” Vanneste said of the experience. “I really didn’t feel it was a big sacrifice on my part.” She noted she was in the hospital for four days and felt back to normal in around two weeks.