The second annual Kidney Walk is coming to Burns Lake on Aug. 14.
Kay Saul and daughter Shannon Eakin, two of the walk organizers said that their biggest mandate for this year’s walk is to keep it simple.
“It is summer, we want to organize the event so that people can come and walk and then carry on with their day. It is not going to be a long drawn out affair,” Saul said.
According to both Saul and Eakin, while they hope to raise more money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada than last year’s $7,500, the focus for them is more about awareness.
“Eighty-five per cent of British Columbians are in favour of organ donation, yet only 17 per cent have registered as organ donors,” Eakin said. It is their hope that local residents sign on as organ donors at the walk.
The issue is near and dear to Saul’s heart as she donated one of her kidneys to her husband in 1999.
“Dad was on the waiting list and was told it would be two years before he would get a transplant so we decided to look at other options,” Eakin said, adding that there are currently 250 people on the waiting list. These people are looking at a five year wait for a transplant.
“People don’t realize that you can be a living donor. When the wait times are that long you have no choice but to start looking at other options,” Saul added.
The Burns Lake Kidney Walk committee comprises of seven local residents who all had their lives effected in one way or another by kidney problems.
Some have had transplants, others have a family member on dialysis. “All are dealing with, or have dealt with kidney related issues and this is just the people we know about. Seven is a lot of people for a small community,” Saul said
The committee has set a goal of raising $10,000 this year. The funds can be raised in a number of ways including pledges, donations and a new fundraising initiative this year is the ‘Kidney Car’ program.
Locals can donate any unwanted vehicle, boat, motor home, trailer, atv or farm equipment which will then be recycled for scrap metal.
The proceeds from the sale of the scrap metal go directly to the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Donors will receive a tax receipt based on the current value of scrap metal. Or, if your vehicle is still in good shape the Kidney Foundation will auction it off and the proceeds will be used as a donation.
Call the Kidney Car Line at 1-800-585-4479 and a Kidney Car agent will arrange to have your vehicle picked up from the local area free of charge.
With donations the Kidney Foundation of Canada funds research into kidney disease and related medical issues, costing $3 million annually.
The foundation also provides patient services to people living with kidney disease and well as delivering public education.
According to the foundation diabetes is fast approaching epidemic levels in North America. Diabetes is the most common source of kidney disease. One in three diabetic patients develop kidney disease.
Similarly people with high blood pressure are also at risk of developing kidney disease.
What can you do for your kidneys?
The foundation recommends keeping fit and active, keeping regular control of your blood sugar levels and monitoring your blood pressure, reduce your salt intake, don’t smoke as smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys and never take over the counter pills on a regular basis. Common drugs such as ibuprofen are know to cause kidney damage and kidney disease if taken regularly.
There will be plenty of information available at the Kidney Walk including information on how to become a donor.
Pledge forms for the Burns Lake 2011 Kidney Walk are available from the Royal Bank of Canada Burns Lake Branch, as well at the Bulkley Valley Credit Union, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Health in Order.
There was a good amount of local support for the Kidney Walk last year and Saul is hoping that even more people will come out this year.
She said she has already had numerous phone calls from locals who want to participate in the 2011 walk.
The Kidney Walk takes place on Aug. 14 at Spirit Square. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the walk starting at 9 a.m. The event will include entertainment and refreshments and you can register as an individual or a team. For more information or to sign up online go to www.burnslakekidneywalk.ca or phone Kay Saul at 250-698-7632.