Give the Gift of Life Walk to be held in Prince Albert

Jodi Schellenberg
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It is a disease that can take people away from full-time employment for months.

The Give the Gift or Life Walk will be held in Prince Albert again this fall. The walk is to raise awareness and gather support for people with kidney disease.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada will be holding the third annual Give the Gift of Life Walk in Prince Albert on Sept. 7 at Kiwanis Park.

“This is the 50th anniversary of the Kidney Foundation this year so it is really all about raising awareness and funds for research and support for families in Saskatchewan living with the burdens of kidney disease,” said Anna Burton of the Kidney Foundation.

Many people don’t understand the complications people with kidney disease have to deal with on a daily basis.

“Somebody who has been diagnosed with Kidney disease typically a transplant is the best option for them,” Burton said. “What that means is it could either be a deceased donor or it could be a living donor as well, generally a family member would be the closest match for that.”

Those lucky enough to get a transplant will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of their lives but those who cannot find a donor have more difficulties.

“If a transplant isn’t available, then a patient would be required to go on dialysis, so that is three to four times a week for about three or four hours every single time,” Burton said. “It is a huge time commitment, which probably means they can’t hold a full-time job anymore, so the financial burden can be quite stressful as well.”

The Kidney Foundation is there to offer support to people with kidney disease.

“We provide a little bit of financial assistance for somebody who might be struggling a little that month and then just research to try to eventually find a cure essentially,” Burton said.

A walk helps give people with kidney disease a sense of community and support, she said.

“If they go into the hospital every day or every second day for dialysis, they might just go and meet a couple people, sometimes it can get really emotionally stressful as well,” Burton said. “It is nice for them to be able to get together and meet other people in the community who are going through the same thing as they are.”

Not only does it give them a place to meet others going through the same thing as them, it also helps raise awareness in the community for people who have no personal connection to kidney disease.

“(They) can kind of see how many people are affected and that this a big problem and a really worthwhile cause that needs donations and needs more research,” Burton said.

The walk day will start with a light breakfast and registration at 9 a.m., with entertainment by Donny Parenteau, followed by a couple of speakers at 10.

The walk will start around 10:30 a.m., ending with a closing ceremony before noon.

“It is growing still -- we are hoping to get 50 people out this year,” Burton said. “Last year there were only about 30. I think that is because it is quite new -- maybe people aren’t totally understanding or getting the word out. Hopefully we will get more people out this year.”

Organizations: Kidney Foundation

Geographic location: Prince Albert, Kiwanis Park, Saskatchewan

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