With today being World Kidney Day, CNC is republishing an article we ran last year at this time, remembering the enormous work of a great Manitoban in the field of kidney health.
It is with both sadness and fond memories that The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Manitoba Branch remembers Dr. Ashley Thomson (1921-2013), known by many as the “Father of Nephrology” in Manitoba.
After graduating top of his class from medical school at the University of Manitoba in 1945, Dr. Thomson received a grant to research the effects of sodium on WWII veterans who had served in the tropics which took him to Britain in 1948. His research focused on how heat-related illnesses affected the kidneys of veterans who had adapted to changes in environment and temperature after serving in warmer climates. This research would pique the doctor’s interest in kidney function, eventually leading him to become a pioneer in the area of hemodialysis treatment and technology in Manitoba. Dr. Thomson would treat hundreds of Manitobans with kidney disease throughout his impressive career.
After returning to Winnipeg, with the assistance of a technician, Dr. Thomson would go on to build Manitoba’s first dialysis machine with spare parts, including washing machine motors. He was instrumental in teaching in-home ‘self-care’ dialysis to his patients before the concept was even documented. In 1971, Dr. Thomson founded The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Manitoba Branch, after working with representatives from Montreal to form a nation-wide organization to support those dealing with kidney disease.
“Dr. T”, as many referred to him, was always able to intrigue and inspire KFOC staff, who he educated on the importance of the kidneys with his many stories and the vast experiences he shared with them. In 2002, the Manitoba Branch was thrilled to honour Dr. Thomson with the inaugural “Founders Dinner.” In 2004, the Branch established an endowment fund held at The Winnipeg Foundation in his honor to fund experienced researchers with relevant projects in Manitoba. In 2011, Dr. Thomson himself presented the first grant from this endowment fund.
Always a strong advocate for patients, First Nations people, and organ donation, his home prominently displayed signage to support Organ Donation.
The caring ways of “Dr. T” were always appreciated by staff and supporters of the KFOC, Manitoba Branch. Peace and rest have come to this brilliant and remarkable man but his compassion, focus, and spirit will live on within the Branch.