The Kalamalka Highlanders led the way for the 2017 Vernon Kidney Walk at Polson Park. This year’s walk takes place Sept. 23. (Lisa Mazurek/Morning Star)

Annual Kidney Walk Returns to Polson Park

Event is set for Sept. 23

According to the B.C. Provincial Renal Agency, the number of British Columbians with kidney disease is growing every year, due to the aging population and increasing rates of heart disease and diabetes.

Kidneys have the important job of filtering blood; they remove waste products and extra fluid and flush them from your body as urine. When your kidneys don’t work right, wastes build up in your blood, causing sickness. According to The Kidney Foundation of Canada, one in 10 Canadians has kidney disease. Four million Canadians live with chronic kidney disease and an estimated 3,000 Canadians die from kidney disease each year.

The Kidney Foundation’s annual Kidney Walk helps raise funds and hope for people living with kidney disease — people like Ashley Poole.

Related: Kidney Walk makes strides

Related: Walk/run in support of those with kidney disease

Poole was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease 10 days before her 27th birthday in 2015 and was told she urgently needed a kidney transplant. She was put on dialysis while her parents got tested to see if they could donate a kidney to their daughter.

In 201, Poole received great news: her dad was a perfect match and that spring donated one of his kidneys to his daughter. Since then, Ashley and her dad have become very involved with The Kidney Foundation, including participating at the Kidney Walk with their team, “Renal Renegades”, and raising thousands for the cause.

“I am part of the Kidney Walk because I believe education and awareness about kidney disease and organ donation is so important,” said Poole. “When I was diagnosed with kidney failure I had no knowledge of anything kidney related. The Kidney Foundation has personally helped me so much, I have seen the miracles and support they provide and I want to be part of the reason they are able to help so many people living with kidney disease.”

Kidney disease has no cure and is often undetectable in early stages. A kidney transplant is often a kidney patient’s best hope for a better quality of life, yet almost 50 per cent of the people on the waitlist for a kidney transplant die waiting. The Kidney Foundation is on a mission to change this. The annual Kidney Walk campaign helps in the fight against kidney disease one step at a time.

“It is really heartwarming to see communities in the Okanagan North come together like this and rally in support of kidney patients – it truly means the world to them. The Kidney Walk could not happen without the tremendous support of thousands of volunteers, donors and sponsors, and it is thanks to them that The Kidney Walk has grown to become one of our biggest success stories,” said Marie Hesse, Director, Community Initiatives at the BC & Yukon Branch.

On Sept. 23, thousands of British Columbians will participate in the Kidney Walk in 15 communities across the province, and here in Okanagan North, the Kidney Walk will take place at Polson Park in Vernon.

Event Schedule is as follows:

9 a.m.: Event registration begins on-site at the Polson Park Bandshell (Spot C on the attached site map). Donations are collected. Lions Club food truck, Kalamalka Caring Clowns, SunFM Radio and sponsor activations on site.

9:15 a.m.: Anyone who is participating in the Opening Ceremonies or leading the walk to check in with Heather (on site cell is 604-314-8685)

9:40 a.m. Opening Ceremonies:

Kee’s Tae Kwon Do kicks us off

Welcome remarks, greetings from MLA Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee

Greetings from Vernon City Councillor Davir Nahal

A personal message from Sid Adams, a kidney transplant recipient

9:55 a.m.: Ladies World will get us all warmed up and moving

10 a.m.: The Kalamalka Caring Klowns and a Sons of Scotland piper will lead the walk around Polson Park Oval (Spot L on the attached site map)

11 a.m.: Silent auction closes and participants celebrate the event

Community donations (cash or items for the silent auction), pledges or walkers and volunteers for the day of the event are still being sought and accepted. Visit http://www.kidneywalk.ca.

Related: Okanagan man reflects on life after being a recipient of kidney transplant

Related: Impact of diluted bitumen on young sockeye salmon deadly, says Guelph study

Related: 70-year-old B.C. woman completes goal of donating kidney

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About the 2018 Kidney Walk in Vernon. (Contributed)

Donation form for the 2018 Kidney Walk. (Contributed)

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