Jonathan Kalmakoff is a father of three children. He said he has a close relationship with his kids and they talk about everything, including his need for a kidney.
"Chronic regular fatigue, and that's meant that I’ve been no longer able to work full time and it's certainly created challenges for being a single father of three children," said Jonathan Kalmakoff.
In 2002, Kalmakoff was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, but in 2017 the disease shut down his kidneys and he had to start dialysis.
He uses a home dialysis system called peritoneal dialysis. The system takes a lot of dialysate, enough to fill Kalmakoff’s walk-in closet, and that only lasts him one month.
"While it keeps me alive, it keeps me going, it's not a substitute for a full functioning kidney," said Kalmakoff.
Kalmakoff said it's because of his children that he stays strong and positive.
"My kids have certainty been there emotionally and they've also stepped up their game around the house to help out,” he said. “They help with their little brother and jobs and errands and if anything it’s really brought our family together."
Kalmakoff’s oldest daughter Katie said the whole experience has really taught her a lot of about the importance of organ donations.
"I gained a lot of respect for him and how he's handling and how well he's doing, but he's still the same person to me," said Katie Kalmakoff
The Saskatchewan Health Authority said the average wait time for a patient in need of a kidney from a deceased donor is 2.6 years.
"The deceased person doesn’t need those organs but they can be given to help give the gift of life to up to seven other people to keep them alive and that's a phenomenal thing to keep in mind," he said.
Anyone can also get tested to see if they are a match to become a living donor. The Health Authority said aside from the risks of surgery, living kidney donors can lead long healthy productive lives after donation.
Kalmakoff's blood type is AB + making him a universal recipient which is good news, because for him, dying of kidney disease is not in the cards.
“Having a functioning donated kidney would mean getting my normal life back again and being able to do all of the things with my family and friends that I want too,” said Kalmakoff.