Bruce W. Cook needs a kidney.
The well-known editor and publisher of The Bay Window magazine, popular Daily Pilot columnist, Balboa Bay Resort Governor, father, grandfather, husband, friend and Newport Beach resident, is suffering from a rare, genetic kidney disease.
It has progressed to the point of necessitating that he have dialysis multiple days a week to stay alive.
He didn’t want me to write a column about finding a potential donor, but the toll the disease and the dialysis is taking finally changed his mind. A band of friends are trying to reach out to the community with the hope that potential donors will come forward.
Anyone who has met or knows Bruce, knows that he is a thoughtful and gentle soul, and has been a true friend to countless people and charities over the span of his career. He’s been a brilliant voice and a tireless champion in the community, giving of his time and talent to promote worthy causes and speak on behalf of those who are unable to do so themselves.
I met Bruce many years ago when I was the society writer for Newport Beach 714 magazine. I immediately took a liking to his sweet countenance and quiet, observant style, and we’ve been pals ever since.
At the many events we cover, I am always happy to see his sweet smile and admire how many people from every walk of life he knows and how many of them clearly admire him and his work.
And therein lies the irony of his situation. Because Bruce is not the type to seek attention for himself, he needs our help in finding a matching kidney donor.
Married forever to wife Cathy, the Cook’s have three children and three grandchildren.
Bruce has been undergoing kidney dialysis (a grueling and painful procedure) three times a week, yet he rarely complains. He doesn’t lie about how he’s feeling if you ask him, but he doesn’t bring it up.
Many of you know that I co-host a weekly radio broadcast on KOCI 101.5FM with former Daily Pilot publisher, Tom Johnson, who suffers from the same hereditary kidney disease as Bruce. Tom’s brother donated a kidney to Tom 10 years ago.
Their sister, who is afflicted with the same disease, received her life-saving kidney from a pink dot donor. Neither of them would be alive today had they not received those ultimate gifts of renewed lives.
“It’s the ultimate gift anyone can give,” Tom told me when I asked him what Bruce must be facing as he waits. “A second chance at life is nothing short of miraculous for those of us who suffer from such a devastating, hereditary disease.”
In Bruce’s case, six of his first cousins have the same condition, thus making it difficult to find a family donor. He refuses to ask his children as they have a very good possibility of inheriting the disease themselves.
Bruce is on a donor list, which means every time his phone rings, it could be the call that saves his life. He is on stand-by at all times if a match is found. In a perfect world, a matching donor would give Bruce a healthy kidney, and the surgery could be scheduled so that both parties can plan and do it when most convenient, but time is running out.
Fortunately in terms of a match, Bruce’s blood type is common, thus a healthy person age sixty-five or younger with blood type A or O most likely qualifies for testing.
Only one kidney is necessary to live life to the fullest. A donor’s hospital stay is typically only two days and recovery time is four to six weeks. Of course, all expenses—the initial testing and the operation—will be covered by Bruce.
If you find it in your heart to potentially become a donor, please contact Dr. Eric Wechsler’s Newport Beach office at (949) 642-4974 to schedule a screening.
Finally, please help us spread Bruce’s message electronically, via social media, smoke signals or whatever it takes.
He only needs one extraordinary person to save his life. Not much to ask for a man who has done so much for our community.
Lynn Selich resides in Newport Beach. Reach her at [email protected].