Last year the Pembina Valley Kidney Walk raised almost $11,000 and awareness about kidney disease, and this weekend people from the region can come show their support again.
One in nine Manitobans have kidney disease, and Executive Director of the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Manitoba Branch Val Dunphy said the province has the highest rate in the country.
“More and more of our friends, neighbours and relatives are getting kidney disease,” she said. “It can happen at any age. It’s a chronic, serious disease and there’s no cure for it at present.”
There are two treatment options for kidney disease: dialysis or transplantation.
Dunphy said the local walks are hugely important to the work the Foundation does. “We’re so very grateful that we have volunteers in and around Morden that help us do this event because it really raises the profile of kidney health,” she said. “That’s just so important to everyone to think about their kidneys. This awareness is huge.”
Dunphy said money raised from events like the walks goes to research projects to get improved dialysis and transplantations and, hopefully in the future, a cure for the disease.
“It also gives us funds to do local programs,” she said. “We offer many programs for people affected by kidney disease, so that means the patients as well as their family members.”
The Foundation offers short-term financial assistance for emergent expenses, peer support, education programs and on Oct. 20 will be holding a patient symposium in Winnipeg.
Dunphy said the Foundation also tries to focus on prevention. “We’re trying to get the word out to those that might be at high risk for kidney disease to take any precautions and all precautions they can so that they don’t get kidney disease.”
The leading cause of kidney disease is diabetes, and Dunphy said they want to encourage anyone with diabetes to take their medications as prescribed. She said the same goes for people taking medication for high blood pressure.
“There are a number of hereditary kidney diseases, and we really recommend that people follow their doctor’s instructions as closely as they can,” she said.
Indigenous and Filipino communities can also be at higher risk of kidney disease.
“There’s a lot of work to do in Manitoba,” she said. “We just really have to be thinking about our kidneys each and every day. They’re such a vital organ and if we are healthy, we should drink a glass of water for our kidneys today.”
The Kidney Walk is scheduled for Sept. 15 at Morden Park. Registration starts at 1 p.m. and the walk starts at 2 p.m.