‘Silent’ disease can affect everyone

The third annual Terrace Kidney Walk is on this Sunday. The event promotes awareness for people living with kidney disease

The third annual Terrace Kidney Walk is on this Sunday and for organizer Joan Iamele the event is an opportunity to raise awareness for people with kidney disease and promote the need for citizens to be registered as organ donors.

In British Columbia, “85 per cent of people are in favour of being donor registered, but only 18 per cent actually are,” said Iamele.

“My reason for being involved is awareness. It’s big in the walk to have everyone register at B.C. transplant.”

Iamele herself has been touched by kidney disease, with both of her children being on dialyses and having gone through kidney transplants.

“It may affect you,” said Iamele. “It’s a silent thing.”

Kidney transplants are a more effective treatment than dialysis, said Iamele, because they give the recipient a clean kidney to work with, rather than one that needs to be cleaned out every two-to-three days.

But the average wait time for a kidney is seven years. Currently, there are 375 people in B.C. on the waiting list.

The walk, which has been happening in B.C. for the past five years, was started in order to inform people about issues around kidney disease.

For the past two years in Terrace, Iamele has seen the walk grow. The first year there were between 50 – 60 people, while last year that number almost doubled. This year, she’s hoping for around 200 people. But, “more would be great,” she said.

The event is held at Furlong campgrounds picnic area near the picnic shelter. Anyone is free to walk or run through the Twin Spirit Trail. Dragonboating is also an option.

There will be giveaways, a barbecue by donation, and a scavenger hunt for the kids.

The event is more than a walk, “it’s a chance to raise funds and awareness but also bring the community together to have a fun day,” she said.