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Giant billboard convinces truck driver to give kidney to total stranger

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A billboard convinced Tony Timmons to donate a kidney, and, in exchange, he found a friend.

Timmons drives trucks out of Airdrie, Alta. One day on his way to work, he spotted a giant sign with a plea: « Ryan Mclennan needs a living kidney donor, blood type O. »

« It just made me feel obligated, you know, because the guy’s really desperate, » Timmons told the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday.

On Wednesday, he goes under the knife. One of his two kidneys will be placed in Mclennan’s body, a life-saving transplant for the man in renal failure.

‘I got to do something’

Mclennan’s wife, Shakina Mclennan, bought 27 billboards, making their heart-wrenching situation hard to miss.

The unorthodox plea for donations made headlines last winter, and it got results. Mclennan received about 170 calls, with 50 applying to see if they were a match. The Kidney Foundation in Calgary also reported dozens of donation inquiries. 

After Timmons spotted one of the advertisements, his wife showed him a news clip about the family. Mclennan’s own mother had donated a kidney to him 15 years ago but that one was now failing.

« She couldn’t donate, obviously, her last one and he never had no family members that could, » Timmons said. « So I just said I got to do something, someone’s got to do something. »

Ryan Mclennan’s family set up 27 billboards in Calgary to search for a living kidney donor. (James Young/CBC)

Miraculously, he was a match, which is no small feat. Others have been tested to see if they’d match with Mclennan with no luck.

Mclennan said he’s still surprised the billboards worked.

« You don’t believe it, » he said. « Your head is in the clouds and you just can’t believe that this day is going to come….

« It’s almost like you’re drowning and someone jumps in and saves you — and it takes sometimes a very, very, very special person to do that. »

New friends, a ‘huge bonus’

The « huge bonus, » Mclennan said, is he has gotten to know Timmons, which would be impossible with an anonymous donation.

The two couples are like family now, Lisa Timmons said. They had dinner together Sunday night to get mentally prepared for surgery this week.

From left to right: Ryan McLennan, Tony Timmons, Lisa Timmons and Shakina McLennan had dinner on Sunday ahead of the week’s big surgery. (Submitted by Lisa Timmons)

Lisa said she admires her husband, who very much doesn’t like to be centre of attention, for doing the selfless act out of kindness and not for publicity.

« There’s a reason why I married him, for one, because he’s kind-hearted, he’s generous and he puts other people first, » Timmons said.

Lisa Timmons says she knew her husband was kind when they married but she’s extremely proud of him for donating his kidney. (Lisa Timmons)

Mclennan said he’s looking forward to the transplant he expects will change his life « 100 per cent. »

« I’m getting a third chance. I mean, right now, I’m very restricted in so many of the things I can do, » he said. « I know what it’s like to have a transplant and I know what it’s like to change my life, so that’s why this one’s so important. »

Mclennan was a mechanic when he was first diagnosed with kidney failure in 2003. He then retrained as a teacher and now teaches shop at Father Lacombe High School.

Ryan Mclennan, who instructs in the mechanics and autobody program at Father Lacombe High School in Calgary, sits with his mother, Elaine Austin. The family posted appeals on a number of billboards searching for a living kidney donor for Mclennan. (Submitted by Shakina Mclennan)

After some recovery, Mclennan hopes to get back into the classroom. Timmons said he also expects to limit his time off work, although doctors have asked him to rest for three months.

He also says he’s not as nervous as perhaps he should be, choosing instead to put his trust in the heath-care system.

« I think it’ll be all right. I mean, things go on, made a new friend. That’s about it, » Timmons said with a laugh.



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Anglais

A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Anglais

Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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