Each year the Kidney Foundation of Canada, British Columbia Branch holds its Kidney Walk to raise funds and awareness of organ donation that will help support the work of the foundation.
The foundation is a not-for-profit healthcare organization which raises money to improve the lives of all people affected by kidney disease by funding research; providing eduction and support; and increasing public awareness and commitment to advancing kidney health and organ donation.
The walk takes place Aug. 18 in Centennial Park, with not only a walk, but a day filled with live entertainment, including the Williams Lake Pipe Band, exhibitor booths, face painting for children, a barbecue, silent auction and more. Mascot Sidney the Kidney will also be making the rounds.
Registration is at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m.
It’s an easy 2.5-kilometre hike that will leave from the park, cross Highway 97 through the underpass, circle 100 Mile Marsh, and return.
Dar Cook from Lone Butte is this year’s local Kidney Walk co-ordinator and she took on the job on the suggestion of a relative who is volunteering at the Vancouver walk.
“It’s a good cause and it’s really something important,” she says.
Pledge forms can be downloaded from the Internet at www.100milehousekid
neywalk.ca or picked up at the pharmacy counter at Donex, Pharmasave and Save-On-Foods.
Last year the walk in 100 Mile House raised more than $5,000.
As folks prepare to volunteer and take part in the Kidney Walk, Craig Conklin of 83 Mile House is preparing to actually donate one of his kidneys to a young friend of the family, Will, who was in need of a kidney transplant.
Conklin is also this year’s regional honouree for the 100 Mile House walk.
In early 2012, at his own son’s wedding, Conklin spoke with the 27-year-old man, who had already been on the transplant list for a year, and asked if there was anything he could do to help.
“He said I could donate a kidney,” says Conklin, adding he and his wife Pam Barker discussed it on the way home. “We decided, if one of us could do it, we would.”
Testing proved Conklin to be an excellent match and candidate to donate, and he says it felt great to know he would actually be able to help the friend.
“Will was ecstatic and his wife was speechless,” he adds.
Conklin says the process to donate was involved, with his own family members required to give their OK and himself, having to undergo psychological testing to determine he could handle it.
“They give you every opportunity to change your mind.”
Conklin says he hadn’t previously thought about donating a kidney, but always knew he’d do it if one of his children or siblings was in need.
“There’s always the ‘what if’ question, but I know at least one of my children would donate a kidney to me if I should ever need it. You can’t live your life on the ‘what ifs’. I want to make people aware that its not going to affect your life adversely and the person you donate to, it will change their life for the better in a huge way. They tell me, as soon as the new kidney is plugged in, Will’s colour will change and he’ll feel like a new man.”
Conklin’s testing was extensive and in August last year a urine sample turned up traces of blood. He went to the Seattle hospital where the transplant is scheduled to be done and underwent a kidney biopsy, which turned up nothing of relevance.
“They determined it was not a problem and I was OK to donate.”
The transplant is scheduled for November, 2013.