By the time Alex Skidmore arrived into the world, his parents had braced themselves for the worst: they knew their son would be born with serious health challenges.
The fact that Alex is thriving today, some 15 years later, is thanks to many miracles he and his family would experience on his road to recovery.
Alex’s kidneys had been damaged before birth by an obstruction in his posterior urethral valve. This issue led to scarce amniotic fluid in utero, and kept his lungs from developing as they should have. He was also born with bilateral hip dysplasia.
In June 2002, at age two, Alex received his first kidney transplant, thanks to his grandmother Clarice. But eight years later, his body rejected the kidney; only a new one could save his life.
Just 72 hours before Alex’s father, Garry, was set to undergo surgery to give Alex his kidney, he learned that he carried the same antigens as his mother. In short Alex’s body would reject Garry’s kidney. The surgery was cancelled and the family was left devastated.
Around the time of Alex’s first kidney transplant, the launch of a new Canadian program showed promise for young Alex and his family, and the timing could not have been better. The new Living Donor Paired Exchange (LDPE) kidney transplant registry helps patients who have an incompatible donor volunteer by connecting them with other pairs in the same position.
This prompted Garry to join the LDPE and donate a kidney to a patient in need, and in return, a suitable donor kidney was provided for Alex. His second transplant took place in June 2011.
The road to health and recovery was an arduous one, but the loving care that Alex and his family received at BC Children’s Hospital inspired them to give back.
The Skidmore family contributed an extraordinary $3-million toward the construction of the new BC Children’s Hospital’s Renal Dialysis Unit, to be aptly named the Alex Skidmore Renal Dialysis Unit.
Garry Skidmore says the family’s gratitude for the care given to their now healthy, thriving son inspired their generosity.
“We believe and practice the saying, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’” he says.
The Skidmore family’s gift creates a legacy as well. It celebrates all donors, caregivers, family supporters and staff at BC Children’s Hospital, all they’ve given Alex and other children like him. The gift will provide comfort for patients and families for years to come. It’s also a gift of opportunity for caregivers to do their best work, and the gift of a promise of a bright future for BC’s kids.
“Our family has always been involved with giving, “Garry adds.
“When there’s a cause that we see as beneficial we usually jump in with both feet.”