RCMP Cpl. Shane Burridge, presently stationed in “B” Division, is suffering from lupus nephritis; an ailment that is damaging his kidneys, requiring daily dialysis. He needs a transplant.
In the Spring 2018 Edition of The Quarterly, Veteran Helen Cleary-Escott, of Newfoundland and Labrador Division, RCMP VA, writes about Shane’s battle, his wait on the transplant list and his hope for the future.
RCMP Officer Needs a Kidney Transplant: Could you be his donor?
By Helen Cleary-Escott
Republished from the Spring 2018 Edition of The Quarterly with consent
SHANE BURRIDGE was working at a telephone company when he received a call that would change his life. An officer from RCMP Recruiting called him on a Friday afternoon in January 2000, and asked if he could leave for Depot the following Monday. He had been waiting since he was a teenager to get that call. In June 2000, he graduated from Depot and began the career he always wanted. “It was my life long dream coming true,” he said proudly. “Joining the RCMP was all I ever wanted.”
He was determined to be the best Mountie he could be. He graduated from Memorial University with a degree in French before joining the Force. After Depot he was posted to Placentia, Nfld. From there he went to Nain, Labrador, where he said he was the happiest. He married his wife, Colleen, in 2003. In 2006 he transferred to Federal Policing’s St. John’s Custom’s and Excise Section. His life was going according to plan. But then in 2009, his life took a dramatic turn.
“I had gone on the Motorcycle Ride for Sight with some other members from the RCMP. The next morning, I woke up and my two feet were swollen.” It was the beginning of a long road with a disease he never knew he had. “I didn’t think much of it at the time,” he recalled. “A few months before the ride I noticed one hand would swell or a finger. There seemed like something was always wrong with me and I couldn’t figure out what it was.” In 2009 he went for a check up with Health Services and blood work showed there was an issue with his kidneys.
Eventually he was diagnosed with lupus nephritis, also known as systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), an autoimmune disease which is an inflammation of the kidney. His immune system was targeting his body’s organs. If doctors had not caught it, it could have damaged his heart and lungs. The test showed his kidneys were functioning at approximately 12%. In December 2012 renal failure set in. This is the last stage of chronic kidney disease. It meant he could no longer live without dialysis and needed a kidney transplant.
In 2013, he began doing dialysis in hospital but switched to peritoneal dialysis, so that he could return to work. He did peritoneal dialysis four times a day and continued for three-and-a-half years. Peritoneal dialysis removes waste products from the blood when your kidneys can no longer do the job adequately.
“I wanted to keep working. My career was everything to me,” he said.
Cpl. Burridge had been transferred in 2015 to the National Sex Offender Registry at headquarters in St. John’s. He was determined that this disease would not destroy his dream of being a member of the RCMP.
“I would take the dialysis equipment to work with me and while my coworkers were gone to lunch I would close my office door, hook up the catheter to my abdomen and do my dialysis.”
He now goes to a local hospital for hemodialysis; a procedure where a machine takes his blood, cleans it, and then puts it back into his body.
“On dialysis days I get up at 5:30 in the morning, drive to the hospital, do dialysis for four hours, come home, get something to eat and then I have to sleep because I am exhausted.” He does the treatment three times a week, four hours each time.
He is on the kidney transplant list, but the hospital doesn’t tell patients what number they are. “Myself and my wife, Colleen, are always ready to run.”
Cpl. Burridge, who grew up in Elliston, Nfld., comes from a proud family of RCMP officers. His brother, Chad, is a constable in Lunenburg County, N.S. His 2nd cousin Des Burridge retired after 31 years. His brother-in-law, Cst. Frank McLaughlin is stationed in Marystown, Nfld. His nephew, Sgt. Steve Rose is in Parksville and Steve’s wife, Cpl. Jana Rose is stationed in Nanaimo, B.C. His cousin, Cst. Terry Burridge is in Yarmouth, N.S.
Cpl. Burridge is hoping he will find his match soon. Finding out if you’re a match is as simple as taking a blood test. If you are a match, there are more stringent tests to go through before it is determined you can be a donor. Anyone, anywhere in the country can be tested.
If you’re interested, please call the Nursing Transplant Coordinator, Marion at (709) 777-3601. Tell her you want to be a donor for Shane Burridge. Marion will arrange for you to have the blood test done that will begin the process. If you would like to donate and you’re not a match, there is a program called paired exchange. So, if you’re not Shane’s match you could be a match for someone else. If you agree to it, then Shane will be guaranteed a kidney from someone else.
“I have 17-and-a-half years completed and I want to work as long as I can,” said Cpl. Shane Burridge, who beams when he talks about the RCMP and the friends he has made. “I can’t tell you how proud I am to wear that red serge.”
Cpl. Burridge is the type of person who is naturally happy and always smiling. His determination is evident in everything he says and does. “I’m not ready to give up my dream yet.”