Penticton grandmother, desperate for kidney transplant, pleads for live donor

Penticton grandmother Nicola Sims is issuing a desperate appeal for a living kidney donor to come forward and possibly save her life.

Sims, 63, suffers from a rare autoimmune disease called Goodpasture Syndrome that attacks the lungs and kidneys.

Sims was given a prognosis of three to five years without a kidney transplant. She is going on year six.

Her medical nightmare began just before her eldest son was to get married in Kelowna.

“I missed my son’s wedding,” she told Global News on Tuesday. “I saw the vows but then I had to go back to the hospital.”

What followed was a flurry of tests and the heartbreaking diagnosis.

Sims said she was forced to undergo a procedure called plasmapheresis 30 times to filter her blood and remove harmful antibodies. She was sent home to Trail, B.C. and that’s where her lungs hemorrhaged. The situation was dire and Sims almost lost her life.


“Since then I’ve been very very weak. I can’t do a lot of stuff. For the longest time I had to pay somebody to do my grocery shopping and housework,” she said.

Sims has reached out to family and friends but is unable to find a match. Her blood type is O-positive.

She relies on kidney dialysis three days a week at Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH) to survive.

“I’m just waiting; there is not too many kidneys to go around,” she said. “I don’t have anybody, that’s why I reached out to you people.”

Sims has resided in Penticton for the past year to be closer to her two sons and her grandchildren.

“I love my two boys — they are my whole world, they always have been,” she said. “And my little grandchildren, I love them more than my own life.”

Sims was devastated when doctors told her time was running out.

“He said the thing that would happen if I didn’t get a donor would be that my organs will gradually start to shut down, and in that case dialysis wouldn’t work any more and I would [live] seven to 10 days and then I would pass away,” she said.

“It’s like having somebody hit you between the eyes with a brick. I just obsessed about it and cried for three weeks and now I’m kind of in this fog, I don’t want to believe it and I’m hopeful and I rely on my faith, just hoping and praying that something will come along.”

If you would like to get more information about becoming a living donor, you can phone 604-875-5182 or visit the B.C. Transplant website.

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