Give a kidney?
Your kidneys are awesome, share the love and give one away. I have been fortunate to have had some time this summer to volunteer for the Vancouver Observer as well as the BC Kidney Foundation, and its amazing how these two gigs tied together. VO's editor, Linda Solomon, has a brother who is alive today thanks to kidney donation from Victoria's Shivon Robinsong. (pictured below)
It literally saved his life. We at VO feel that every child and adult deserves the chance to keep their friends and family intact, which is why we are proud to be officially supporting the BC Kidney Foundation's Vancouver Kidney Walk 2011.
Why do kidneys matter?
Because they're awesome, but here's a little bit more info on the subject just in case you're not altogether sure why.
Kidney's filter and regularly remove waste from the blood, regulate blood pressure and produce essential hormones for your body. This and more makes the kidneys one of the most valuable players in your arsenal of organs. They are also one of the most sensitive.
Kidney disease is serious business, ladies and gentlemen. Medical experts have estimated that approximately 1 in 16 Canadians have or are at serious risk of having chronic kidney disease, or CKD for short. Those who are affected by CKD are those whose kidney tissues don't function well or at all, and are most commonly associated with individuals who have diabetes and or high blood pressure.
If you are 1 in 3 Canadians who has diabetes or are simply concerned about your health, be sure to keep a ready eye for symptoms such as foamy urine, puffy ankles and eyes, fatigue, lack of apatite or a persistent bad taste your mouth.
Fortunately, even if you or someone you know is diagnosed with some sort of kidney disorder there is still hope. Though expensive (nearly $60 000 a year expensive) and painstaking, regular dialysis can effectively filter the blood which allows people to live their lives without fully functioning kidneys. People can also live a comfortable and healthy life with just one kidney, be it their own or one generously donated to them. It's also much cheaper than dialysis, priced as a one time expense around $25,000.
The trouble is that extra kidneys are hard to come by.
Friends, family or strangers who offer to donate one of their kidneys are truly amazing individuals, but unfortunately the prevalence of kidney disease leaves their numbers lacking compared to those who are in need. Another option is organ donation, which eliminates all risks for those donating because, well, they are no longer facing any risks so to speak.
Currently, about 87% of Canadians think organ donation is a great idea.
What happens to be rather unfortunate is that only 17% of Canadians are signed up as organ donors.
So if you're comfortable with the idea, please sign up as a donor to help not only those who have kidney disease, but a plethora of people suffering from a variety of ailments that require transplants. It's easily one of the most selfless things we can do to try and help each other, and all it takes is that you fill out a form. Your kidneys are awesome, and so are you.