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How healthy are your kidneys?

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AMHERST – It wasn’t the best day for a walk. There was a cold north wind and the sky was threatening rain. That didn’t stop Greg Wilson for bundling up to hit the streets of Amherst for a good cause.

Wilson, who received a kidney transplant more than a decade ago, was one of small group of determined walkers to participate in the 2017 Kidney Walk on Oct. 1 that started and ended at Dickey Park.
“Being told you have kidney disease really changes your focus on life,” said Wilson, who had a kidney transplant in 1995. “You come to the realization that your own health comes first.”
Wilson lived with kidney disease for several years before getting his transplant. He was able to do his dialysis at home four times a day and he said he had an employer who was very supportive of him.
Now he’s dedicated to improving the lives of those with kidney disease.
Sharon Gould said it’s important to keep walking every year.
“We walk for our husbands and wifes and for our children and for everyone afflicted with kidney disease,” said Gould, whose family has been hit hard by kidney disease. “We believe we are making a difference in that we’re offering hope for families of patients with kidney disease. They are seeing what can be done by those who continue to advocate for those with kidney disease. They have the hope things will get better, new improvements in therapies and medications.”
Keri McIvor of the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Atlantic Branch, said walks held across the region not only raise money for research and treatment, they also help raise awareness about a disease that’s much more prevalent than people think.
“We’re trying to create more awareness about kidney disease because one in 10 Canadians are living with it every day,” McIvor said. “We want people to be more aware of their health and the money we raise goes to support things like research and education.”
She said events like the Kidney Walk help support patient services through helping patients travel to and from dialysis up to three or more times a week. She said some patients don’t have the money to fund a kidney-friendly diet to patient services will help purchase food. It also helps with accommodations.
“Getting kidney disease is a big lifestyle change for many people. There are a lot who have to quit their jobs because of the demands of dialysis,” she said.
Money raised has also been put to use to support better and more efficient treatment options. At one time, McIvor said, dialysis units were huge and took up and entire room. Now, some units are small and portable allowing patients to do treatment from their bedside table.
darrell.cole@amherstnews.ca
Twitter: @ADNdarrell
 

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