Spallumcheen’s Joan Froats, left, with her son-in-law-to-be and kidney donor, John Byrne. (Froats Family photo)

Spallumcheen’s Joan Froats, left, with her son-in-law-to-be and kidney donor, John Byrne. (Froats Family photo)

Spallumcheen woman thankful for new kidney

Joan Froats undergoes successful transplant with help from future son-in-law

Thanksgiving means a lot to Spallumcheen’s Joan Froats.

So was she thankful for a full house of family and friends, and turkey dinner with all the trimmings, back in October?

Heck no.

Froats was thankful to John Byrne, a man who, in September, became Froats’ son-in-law-to-be and her kidney donor.

The Morning Star reported on Froats’ plight in a March 2020 story. She was diagnosed in 2014 with Granulomatosis with Polyangitis (GPA) and, in 2017, she was put on home dialysis. Froats was in dire need of a transplant.

“John is my daughter’s fiancée but I didn’t approach him about a transplant because I didn’t think it was my place to ask him how he felt about the possibility of being a donor,” said Froats. “He asked me one day what was going on with my health. He read on Facebook I was looking for a kidney donor and he asked what’s going on. I explained it to him and he said, ‘Oh, I can do that.’”

Byrne went in for testing in March and, in June, found out he was a prospect for being a donor. At the same time, many other people offered to be tested after reading Froats’ story, and a close friend of hers was also a prospect.

The two prospective donors were tested, Byrne was selected though neither were Froats’ blood type.

With a donor found, Froats spent the summer getting her body prepared for the transplant. She was tested until the end of August when she and her family were given a date. The transplant would take place Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).

“I was beside myself,” said Froats. “I had a feeling it was close but with COVID, they cancelled all elective surgeries in the spring so I thought this could go anywhere. When it came to having an actual date, that was quite a hurdle.”

Froats and her husband, Gary went down to Vancouver Sept. 28. The day before the scheduled transplant, Froats had to have a COVID test.

Transplant day, Sept. 30. Byrne went first and his surgery was about three hours. The same surgeon who removed Byrne’s kidney performed the transplant on Froats, which took about three-and-a-half hours.

“Everything went really well,” she said. “The kidney started to work immediately. That’s something that they look for because sometimes it’s delayed a day or two, but the kidney started right up. John’s kidney was in wonderful condition. His kidney was very strong.”

Byrne stayed in hospital for 48 hours, then went to recuperate at a condo near Stanley Park which the Froatses rented for Joan’s post-transplant recuperation. She was in hospital for five days before being allowed to go to the condo, which had to be 30 minutes away from VGH in case any emergency cropped up.

So far, there have been none.

Froats and Gary passed the time in the condo watching seaplanes land in the nearby harbour at English Bay, with a slight view of Stanley Park. Froats couldn’t leave the condo nor have visitors due to her compromised immune system and COVID.

Froats returned home to Spallumcheen on Nov. 25.

“I’m doing really well, no real problems,” she said. “The transplant clinic takes a great deal of care of you in the first two months. I had bloodwork twice a week and they regulate the anti-rejection medications in that time along with other meds.

“I have my first appointment with the Kelowna kidney clinic this week, and I’ve been having bloodwork every week since I’ve been home. I’m missing people with this COVID thing. After seeing not anybody that I knew for two months it was great to get home but with my immune system so low, there is no chance of me being out and about.”

Byrne and Froats’ daughter, Angela, plan to marry in the spring of 2022 .

In the meantime, Froats has warmly welcomed Byrne to the family.

“He’s an awesome young man,” she said. “He’s always been positive, such a generous person. His donation fits his M.O. to a Tee. I’m amazed he has the bravery and generosity to do something like that.”

READ MORE: Spallumcheen woman hopeful for kidney donation

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Local News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Spallumcheen’s Joan Froats can return her lifeline dialysis machine to the supplier after receiving a kidney transplant in September from her future son-in-law. (Froats Family photo)

Spallumcheen’s Joan Froats can return her lifeline dialysis machine to the supplier after receiving a kidney transplant in September from her future son-in-law. (Froats Family photo)

Just Posted

The Vernon Public Art Gallery's new Regional Reach program which sends supplies and lessons to classes, has been a hit in the North Okanagan classrooms. (VPAG photo)
Travelling art kit a hit in North Okanagan schools

Art Gallery’s new Regional Reach program delivers art education to the classrooms

A kaleidescope of colours was captured over Lake Country Sunday, Feb. 28. (Wendey Innes-Shaw photo)
Colourful close to month with North Okanagan sunset

From all angles: Vernon and Lake Country photographers capture sunset Feb. 28

(File photo)
UBCO introduces another reading break in November

The break only affects the Okanagan campus

The Okanagan Screen Arts Society is set to take over Vernon’s historic Towne Cinema on 30th Avenue June 1 as fundraising for building upgrades is a third of the way to its goal. (Photo contributed)
Historic Vernon cinema rolling into society’s hands

Okanagan Screen Arts Society will take over and run with volunteers the Towne Cinema starting June 1

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Pastafarian Gary Smith, pictured here dressed as a pirate, wanted to wear his tricorn (also pictured here) in his driver’s licence photo, arguing that the display was a religious observance. Photo: Facebook
B.C. Pastafarian loses Supreme Court fight to wear pirate hat in driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith of Grand Forks, put his case to the Supreme Court in Rossland in early February

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

City council passed resolution in support of an expansion of the licence area at Salmon Arm’s Marionette Winery for the inclusion of a lounge area. (Marionette Winery/Facebook)
Salmon Arm council supports lounge addition at Shuswap winery

Marionette Winery expanding licence area to host small gatherings

(File photo)
UBCO introduces another reading break in November

The break only affects the Okanagan campus

An injured skier was helivaced from Apex Mountain Resort to Kelowna General Hospital Monday, March, 2021. (Linda Geggie / Facebook)
Injured skier helivaced from Apex Mountain Resort

The skier was taken to Kelowna General Hospital

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)

Most Read