The Dave Ayres Story
Like many kids growing up in Canada, Dave Ayres wanted to play hockey in the NHL. He was 25 and at a hockey training camp when his feet became so swollen he couldn’t get his skates on.
“I was on blood pressure medication and I’d been sick to my stomach for a while. One day on my way to work I nearly hit someone because I was so dizzy,” says Dave.
It was Thanksgiving weekend when Dave ended up in the ER. His kidneys were working at 15 per cent capacity and he had to start dialysis immediately.
“I thought I had the flu and the next thing you know they’re telling me my kidneys are gone. I had no clue.”
Dave went on dialysis, three days a week, four hours at a time for the next eight months. He considers himself lucky for many reasons (according to Dave, he was particularly grateful that it was hockey season so he got to watch a lot of games during treatment).
Dave Ayres is indeed lucky. On a sunny day in May, he came to St. Michael’s Hospital Kidney and Transplant Unit where he received a new kidney, courtesy of his mom, Mary.
“My mom and I are super close. She said this was one of the best things she could do with her life, giving me her kidney so I could play hockey and get on with my life.”
It’s been 14 years since the transplant and both Dave and his mom are thriving. He even went on to play six seasons as a back-up practice goalie for the Toronto Marlies.
Dave credits his positive attitude to the staff at St. Mike’s.
“I want people to know that there are so many brilliant doctors at St. Michael’s who keep you going,” Dave says. “I didn’t want the transplant to dictate my life. They told me to go ahead and live.”