An Abbotsford hot dog vendor will go under the knife in December to donate one of his kidneys to a customer.
Skully White, owner of Lullys Food Experience, a gourmet hot dog stand in the parking lot of the local Canadian Tire, first met Tim Hiscock when he bought a hot dog from him several years ago.
“He was a customer for almost three years before I knew his name,” White said while chopping onions for his famous onion jam on Friday morning.
“One day his wife called me up and said he had some medical issues and I wasn’t supposed to feed him without her permission.”
Hiscock’s issues became a crisis in May 2019 when his diabetes led to advanced kidney failure.
In a GoFundMe campaign created this week to help cover White’s costs while he is recovering from surgery, Hiscock’s wife Cindy Rhyno said her family was coming out of Canadian Tire late last year when they saw White.
“We told him that we just found out that Tim needed a new kidney,” she said. “Skully asked (about) the criteria for donating, and we told him the donor had (to have a matching) blood type. He quickly said, ‘If I’m a match you can have mine.’”
White wasn’t just paying lip service to a favourite customer. He went for a blood test and found out his blood type.
“Two days later, Skully contacted us saying that his lab results came back and … Tim could have one of his kidneys,” said Rhyno.
At 4:15 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2019, White enjoyed his last hot dog and a grape Kool-Aid in preparation for surgery in early spring.
As a result of COVID-19 and some other issues, the kidney removal and transplant was delayed. But the surgery has now been scheduled for Dec. 14.
Two days after surgery — exactly one year to the minute since he last enjoyed a hot dog — White hopes to be eating his favourite meal in his hospital bed.
White, who loves to tease his customers as they line up for his foot-long dogs imported from Nathan’s in New York, is almost dismissive when asked why he would donate a part of himself to a virtual stranger.
“It’s such an easy thing,” he said. “You live a normal life afterwards.”
He said he’s become friends with Hiscock and often refers to the pair of them as the doctor and Frankenstein — “I’m the doctor and he’s Frankenstein,” he said.
The biggest challenge for White will likely be his recovery. He won’t be able to lift more than 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) for three months.
“That kind of sucks,” he said. “Apart from the customers, I love this job,” he joked. “I often say the only reason I’m doing this is to get time away from my customers.”
Rhyno has started a GoFundMe campaign called Skully of Lullys is Giving my Husband a Kidney , aiming to raise $15,000 to cover White’s expenses while he’s recovering and unable to man his stand. The campaign is at $5,300 after two days.
White said he hopes to return to his hot dog stand as soon as he can. Originally from the Montreal area, he’s always had a passion for meat. He ran a stand in Victoria for several years before moving to Abbotsford and opening Lullys six years ago.
The father of two has three rules that every customer must follow: No ketchup, no sauerkraut and no Manchester United. He proudly flies a Liverpool FC flag above his stand and has been known to turn away patrons wearing a rival Man United jersey.
Singing along to classic rock, ball cap worn backward, he tells pre-lunch customers on Friday to “eat first, pay later” while encouraging them to try his homemade sauces, such as pesto, chili mayo and onion jam. His personal favourite is coleslaw and onion jam.
If there’s one thing he wants people to take away from reading about what he’s doing, he said it’s that donating a kidney is “not a big deal” in the grand scheme of things.
“I think it will actually be really fun,” he said. “They’re taking something out of my body and putting it into his, and it’s really going to help him. Why not?”