By Brandi Machan
Mike and April Doyle welcomed their first child, Courtney into the world on Dec. 21, 2001.
At first Courtney seemed perfect, but by the end of her first month of life things had dramatically changed. It was discovered that Courtney had a kidney disease called Finnish Type Nephrotic Syndrome.
The next two years of Courtney’s life were filled with massive medical intervention, which included lots of medications, many surgeries, peritoneal dialysis, and hemodialysis to keep her alive. Courtney’s only hope of long term survival was to undergo a kidney transplant. Luckily, her father Mike was a match and on Oct. 28, 2003 he gave Courtney the best gift she will ever receive – a kidney.
Courtney settled in to her new “normal” life fairly well. She got used to the medication, she learned to drink tons of water, she was able to start school and by all accounts is like every other child.
The one major problem that remained was the constant battle with viruses/infections due to her immune suppression medication. In 2010, Courtney had an exceptionally bad spring with infections that really took its toll on her and her kidney.
Courtney had to find ways to stay healthy. That’s when she discovered The Perth Stingrays and swimming. Courtney joined the Stingrays Introduction to Competitive Swimming Program in the fall of 2011 and she hasn’t looked back.
Courtney has never been as healthy as she is right now. Since joining swimming she hasn’t been admitted to the hospital at all, her blood work has completely stabilized, she is sleeping better, she rarely gets sick and best of all she has gained so much confidence, in and out of the pool.
This confidence led to a first every family holiday for the Doyle family and it was centered around Courtney competing at the Canadian Transplant Games. The 7th annual games were held in Moncton New Brunswick earlier this month.
What a wonderful experience the games were for Courtney and her family. Courtney won gold medals in all five of her events (5k bike, 1k run, 50m backstroke swim, 50m butterfly swim, 100m freestyle swim). In her 50m backstroke race, she actually beat the World Transplant Record time, which was set by a British swimmer in 2011.
Courtney now has her sight set on joining Team Canada at the World Transplant Games in Argentina next summer. Courtney is very excited about the possibility of representing her country on the world stage.
Courtney will be back in the pool with The Perth Stingrays in September for training but she will be in search of a local sponsor to assist with travel costs for games in Argentina in August 2015. If you are interested in supporting Courtney’s quest, you can email CourtneyforGold@gmail.com for more information.
None of this would have been possible and Courtney would not be alive today without receiving a donor kidney 10 years ago. Organ donation is so incredibly important. Sign up at Www.beadonor.ca