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'He’s going to run out of time': The campaign to find living kidney donor for Surrey father

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Two years ago, as they were preparing to celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary, Dave and Carla Jung got devastating news.

Dave, who has Type 2 diabetes and a family history of kidney problems, was told he urgently needed a kidney transplant. Since then, the Surrey father of two young boys has gotten progressively sicker.

“His last few years have been a lot of swelling, a lot of exhaustion, he coughs a lot, he’s tired, he has acid reflux,” said Carla, adding Dave now has less than five per cent kidney function. “So he has to have a transplant, or he’s going to run out of time.”

For Carla, it’s deja vu.

“I lost my dad waiting for a liver. So transplant is one of those things that is a huge fear for me. Because I know what it’s like to lose someone waiting for an organ that never came. So I can relate, and I don’t want my boys to go through what I went through.”

Dave’s illness has meant less time doing the things he loves with his two sons.

“He has always been a very hands-on dad when it came to teaching them how to fish or camping. So for him not to be able to do those things is hard not just on Dave, but my boys as well. Because they miss out on doing those things with their dad,” Carla said.

While the Jungs wait for Dave’s name to move to the top of B.C.’s kidney transplant list, Carla is doing everything she can to find her husband as living donor.

“I have put his face all over the internet I have put him on TikTok, I have put him on Facebook, I have put him on Instagram,” she said. “I have tried anything I can possibly think of.”

That includes reaching out to Scully White, the owner of Lully’s, a hot dog stand in Abbotsford. After donating a kidney to one of his customers, White began posting and promoting stories of Fraser Valley residents in need of living donors.

“We have never not succeeded. Every single person who has been on our list we have found a kidney for,” said White.

And Dave Jung’s story is about to be added to the list at Lully’s.

“We have spoken a few times his wife and I, and I’ve met Dave before, and we are going to be splattering his story all over Facebook and Instagram and hopefully a living donor steps forward to help save him,” said White.

“He has been really successful in finding the right people and getting the word out there,” said Carla. “All his hotdog stands will have a picture of (Dave), and hopefully the right person will see it and be drawn to donate.”

She’s also encouraging people to look into what’s involved in becoming a living kidney donor. “There are lots of programs that help with expenses for donation, and I feel like if there was more education of what donation looks like, that would be helpful.”

People interested in donating to a specific recipient can contact the BC Transplant program at Vancouver General or St Paul’s hospital. “In order to be tested for Dave specifically, they would just provide his name and his transplant ID number(#24894).”

Carla is hopeful the extra attention Dave will get by having his story featured at Lully’s will be the breakthrough he needs.

“Everything is riding on him getting a kidney. Life would change,” she said. “He would get so much freedom to actually live a life, rather than just existing.”

In the couple's bedroom, alongside boxes of dialysis equipment, are two duffle bags.

“These bags here are our hospital bags,” Carla explained. “We are packed, we are ready, we just need a call and a kidney, and then we are ready to go.” 

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