Walk aims to raise funds and awareness for organ donation

The second annual Kamloops Kidney Walk is happening on Sunday, Aug. 28 at Riverside Park.

Registration starts at 10 a.m. The 2.5 km walk and the 5 km fun run will start at 11 a.m. with the event wrapping up at 2 p.m. There’ll be a barbecue by donation, live entertainment by local musician Dave Coalmine, and a silent auction.

The event will support the 948 renal patients in Kamloops and the surrounding area.

Last year, 111 participants raised $23,000 for the charity. The goal for this year is to double both the attendees and the amount raised, said Leissa Remesoff, community event coordinator for the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s B.C. branch.

“When your kidneys fail, they’re gone forever. The only cure is a transplant,” said Remesoff. However, there aren’t enough donors registered to meet the demand. “We only have 17 per cent of the B.C. population registered as organ donors.”

“It’s something that people talk about and think it’s a great thing. But when it comes down to actually doing it, it gets forgotten,” said Remesoff. “Eighty-five per cent of the province says they support organ transplant and organ donation, but only 17 per cent is registered.”

It’s estimated that one in 25 B.C. residents will develop kidney disease. In Kamloops, 151 residents are in some form of dialysis and 32 of them are on the waitlist for kidney transplant. B.C. isn’t the best place to wait for kidney transplants—the average wait time is five years.

“There are patients here that are in their eighth year of waiting. So over time, the body takes a beating and unfortunately, many of them do not survive to ever receive that gift of life.”

“That needs to change. The only way we’re going to decrease those wait times is if more people sign on as an organ donor,” Remesoff reiterated. “Dialysis is not a walk in the park. It’s four to five hours, three to five times a week. There is no quality of life.”

Individuals can easily sign up to be an organ donor or a live donor through the B.C. Transplant website. People who’ve registered to become organ donors using their driver’s licence are encouraged to register again.

Under the new registry, the option to become an organ donor is available to more people, not just drivers. It also provides individuals with options on which organs to donate and allows health professionals, at the time of death, to check a person’s donor registry information.

“It is now recognized as the legal organ donor consent,” said Theresa Kennedy, spokesperson for the Provincial Health Services

Registration is fast and secure. You simply need to enter your B.C. CareCard number on the online form, hit submit and it’s done.

To register for the event, visit www.kamloopskidneywalk.ca or to register as an organ donor, visit www.transplant.bc.ca.

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