Living Donor Kidney Transplant Recipient Plays in First NHL Game as the Emergency Backup Goalie

By ASN Staff

February 24, 2020

In a story that has transcended the kidney community and touched the mainstream, David Ayres, a 42-year-old kidney transplant recipient and director of operations at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, a local arena in Toronto, entered an NHL game on February 22nd between the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, Canada. When two of the Hurricanes goalies left the game with injuries, Ayres, the emergency backup goalie – a position that is almost never used – was called in to play the remaining 28 minutes of his first ever NHL game. He went on to save 8 of 10 shots and lead the Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory. Even fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs cheered him on, as he is a native of nearby Whitby, Ontario.

It was due to a living donor that Ayres was able to not only survive, but thrive. Fifteen years ago, Ayres received a kidney transplant from his mother, Mary. He said in speaking with Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com, “I never thought I’d play hockey again at that moment. To go from that to what happened [on Saturday] is just unbelievable, unreal.”

This story is a concrete example of how living donors can transform the lives of patients with kidney diseases. Currently there are about 93,000 people on the waiting list for a donor kidney. The American Society of Nephrology advocates for more incentives to increase living donor donations because, as stated in a recent letter from ASN to the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to advocate for living donor incentives, “ASN believes that this proposal could increase the number of transplant recipients receiving a better-quality organ in a shorter time period from living donors. In general, recipients of kidney transplants from living organ donors have better clinical outcomes than those who continue dialysis or those who receive a deceased donor kidney transplant.”

Stay tuned for future ASN coverage of this story.

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In a story that has transcended the kidney community and touched the mainstream, David Ayres, a 42-year-old kidney transplant recipient and director of operations at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, a local arena in Toronto, entered an NHL game on February 22nd between the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, Canada. When two of the Hurricanes goalies left the game with injuries, Ayres, the emergency backup goalie – a position that is almost never used – was called in to play the remaining 28 minutes of his first ever NHL game. He went on to save 8 of 10 shots and lead the Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory. Even fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs cheered him on, as he is a native of nearby Whitby, Ontario.

It was due to a living donor that Ayres was able to not only survive, but thrive. Fifteen years ago, Ayres received a kidney transplant from his mother, Mary. He said in speaking with Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com, “I never thought I’d play hockey again at that moment. To go from that to what happened [on Saturday] is just unbelievable, unreal.”

This story is a concrete example of how living donors can transform the lives of patients with kidney diseases. Currently there are about 93,000 people on the waiting list for a donor kidney. The American Society of Nephrology advocates for more incentives to increase living donor donations because, as stated in a recent letter from ASN to the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to advocate for living donor incentives, “ASN believes that this proposal could increase the number of transplant recipients receiving a better-quality organ in a shorter time period from living donors. In general, recipients of kidney transplants from living organ donors have better clinical outcomes than those who continue dialysis or those who receive a deceased donor kidney transplant.”

Stay tuned for future ASN coverage of this story.

Date:
Monday, February 24, 2020