Richard and Tracy Stuart have been supporting each other through some very tough times. Richard found out last summer that he will be needing a Kidney. Tracy, after being tested to donate her kidney to Richard, discovered she has blood cancer. Now the two are still in search of a kidney donor while trying to manage their many medical appointments. (Photo courtesy of Tracy Stuart)

Richard and Tracy Stuart have been supporting each other through some very tough times. Richard found out last summer that he will be needing a Kidney. Tracy, after being tested to donate her kidney to Richard, discovered she has blood cancer. Now the two are still in search of a kidney donor while trying to manage their many medical appointments. (Photo courtesy of Tracy Stuart)

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Richard and Tracy Stuart would give the shirt off their backs to someone in need if they could.

But the Nanaimo couple, who have been together for nearly 25 years, are facing problems of their own right now.

Richard has diabetes and last summer, his kidney function dropped rapidly. He was told to find a kidney donor.

His wife Tracy was more than willing to donate her kidney to her husband and found out she was the perfect match after some blood work. She continued with the rest of the tests necessary to donate but the tests revealed something unexpected.

Tracy has myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells which are a type of white blood cell that produce antibodies.

“I just put my head down and apologized because I felt so guilty having cancer and not being able to save his live,” Tracy said. “You can’t imagine the feeling of guilt that went through me.”

Before the diagnoses, Tracy was a manager at PetSmart in Nanaimo and Richard worked at London Drugs in both Nanaimo and Duncan.

READ MORE: Victoria mom calls for more organ donors after first kidney transplant fails

The couple now spends their time caring for each other and managing the several appointments they each have to go to. They bought planners to keep track of everything and left their jobs.

“It’s almost overwhelming,” Richard said. “We try to plan what’s next and what we have to do.”

Richard began kidney dialysis earlier this month while Tracy begins chemotherapy at the end of January. Her chemotherapy is expected to take at least five months after which a stem cell transplant will require her to stay in Vancouver for a month.

“I don’t want to leave him for a month,” Tracy said.

As Richard prepared for dialysis, he also found out he has heart problems (requiring stent implants) as well as a hernia.

Graham Bunn, a Langford resident, is Tracy’s son and Richard’s stepson.

He said dealing with the news of Tracy and Richard has been difficult on him and his brother.

“It felt like you got punched in the face once with my stepdad’s kidney and then you find out your mom has cancer and get punched in the face again,” Bunn said. “They’re my family, they’re my loved ones.”

READ MORE: Langford mother donates kidney to daughter

A friend of Tracy and Richard’s set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the couple’s everyday costs as well as costs to go to Vancouver for treatment. But they are also in search of a kidney donor.

“You can have all the money in the world but in the end you still have cancer, you still need a kidney,” Tracy said.

A few people have been tested to see if they could donate a kidney but none have worked out so far.

According to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, everyone has two kidneys but can live a healthy life with just one. Living donations give someone an alternative to dialysis or a deceased donor transplant.

Donating a kidney is the most frequent type of living organ donation and most successful of all transplant procedures.

At the moment, Bunn is in the process of being tested as is another friend of the family.

“We’ve had huge support from friends and family members,” Bunn said.

Tracy and Richard are also receiving a great deal of support from Tracy’s parents, they said. Tracy’s father beat three separate bouts of cancer and has been able to speak with Tracy about what to expect.

“We went down to the cancer clinic yesterday,” Tracy said. “I looked at my father and he was starting to tear up because he knew what was to come for me and he didn’t want that.”

Despite everything the couple is going through, Tracy said she is still willing to speak on Richard’s behalf and find him a kidney.

“We’re so worried about each other that we’re not worried about ourselves…it’s hard to explain,” Tracy said. “We’re so tired, we have no energy, it’s just so much stress.”

Tracy and Richard’s GoFundMe page can be found here.

Those interested in donating a kidney can e-mail www.kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An acre of the former ‘Bus Garage’ property has been sold to Naked Naturals Whole Foods Ltd. (Town of Qualicum Beach photo)
Qualicum Beach sells prime downtown property to Naked Naturals for $2.75M

Town to retain more than an acre of land for development of public amenities

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Parksville area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Colin Springford expressed his thanks following a birthday truck parade that was held for him on his 75th birthday on April 10, 2020. (Submitted photo)
Longtime Nanoose Bay farmer Colin Springford dies at age 75

‘He will be deeply missed, always loved and never forgotten’

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Most Read