Skully White is known around Abbotsford as a charitable guy.
The owner and operator of Lullys Food Experience – a gourmet-hotdog stand that runs out of the Canadian Tire parking lot – raised $5,000 for the organization Jumpstart last year, with the help of his customers.
In June and December, he gave out 1,000 hotdogs, including 350 to every police officer and firefighter in Abbotsford.
And every Christmas, he “adopts” a family to whom he provides gifts and foods.
But White’s latest giveaway is a doozy: He’s donating a kidney to one of his customers, Tim Hiscock.
The pair previously knew each other only in passing. Hiscock and his wife, Cindy, were regular customers of Lullys Food Experience. They used to chat and joke around, but White didn’t even know their names.
The visits slowly declined but White didn’t know that Hiscock, a retired contractor, was undergoing some serious health issues.
The 46-year-old was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes 16 years ago and began experiencing some advanced symptoms last year, including losing the vision in his left eye.
At one point, Hiscock was told that his kidneys were showing some damage and that he would likely need dialysis in about eight years.
But while he was in Disneyland last May with Cindy and their 10-year-old son Alex, his symptoms – including an ulcer on his foot – worsened. He was so ill that he spent most of their stay in their hotel room.
Upon the family’s return, they went straight to the hospital, where Hiscock had surgery on his foot and then spent several weeks in and out of the hospital as his health continued to deteriorate.
Doctors discovered that his kidneys were declining much faster than they had anticipated.
One day, Hiscock and Cindy were coming out of Canadian Tire and stopped by for a quick visit with White and briefly filled him in on Hiscock’s health issues.
“And then finally his wife came up to me and said, ‘He’s not allowed to have any of your food unless he checks with me first.’ And that’s when I actually found out what his name was,” White said.
In November, Hiscock was told that he was approaching the need for dialysis and that he should start looking for a kidney donor. Although Cindy was a blood match, she couldn’t give her husband one of her kidneys because she also has diabetes.
Hiscock saw White again in early December and informed him that he had reached the stage where he requires a transplant and would need to find a donor with blood type B or O.
White didn’t know his blood type, but he didn’t hesitate.
“All right. Well, if I match, it’s yours,” he told Hiscock.
The next morning, White called his parents, his doctor and pharmacists to see if any of them knew his blood type. No one did, so he had a blood test done and monitored his online “My eHealth” profile for the outcome.
White was sitting in a friend’s pub when he got the results: His blood was type O – a match for Hiscock.
He posted the news on the Lullys Facebook page on Dec. 10, stating “I’m a match! Tim, my kidney is yours. I’m so happy.”
Hiscock’s reply was: “Skully I want to thank u from the bottom of my heart. I was down for a long-time and u give me hope all over again … u don’t have to wear a cape to b my hero!”
The two have now been undergoing a series of medical tests to confirm that both are healthy enough for surgery, and White also has to undergo a psychological analysis. Then, a date for surgery will be scheduled at Vancouver General Hospital.
White – known for his sarcastic, energetic attitude – is hoping it happens before March 17 so he can enjoy some Irish whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day.
He has had to clean up his diet – no sugar, salt, alcohol or fatty foods – and is missing some of his favourites. (For his “last supper” on Dec. 17, he enjoyed grape Kool-Aid and one of his foot-long hotdogs.)
“When I’m checking in, I’m bringing Kool-Aid, hotdogs, coleslaw, mustard and a panini George Foreman grill. And as soon as they say I’m allowed to eat solid foods, I’ll be underneath my bed cooking food for the entire ward,” White said.
Hiscock said his current health issues and the prospect of how much life could change for him after the surgery have been an “emotional roller coaster” for him, but he’s grateful for White’s support.
White dismisses claims from his customers – both in person and on his Facebook page – that he’s a hero.
“People maybe see it like, ‘Oh, this is such a great thing.’ I don’t see it like that. I see it like, you’re driving down the street and somebody pulled off into a ditch and you get out in the pouring rain and you help them change the tire,” he said.
“I don’t see it like it’s a big deal. I really don’t. I see it like I get two weeks off work. It’s a vacation.”