Vernon walks for kidney disease

The Kidney Walk in North Okanagan will take place at Polson Park in Vernon on June 2

One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease but most don’t know it yet. Kidney disease has no cure and is often under-recognized, and undetectable in early stages. The annual Kidney Walk campaign is helping to raise awareness and funds in the fight against kidney disease, one step at a time.

The Kidney Foundation’s annual Kidney Walk helps raise funds and hope for people living with kidney disease, people like Ainsley Campbell in Penticton.

On June 2, thousands of British Columbians will participate in the Kidney Walk in 13 communities across B.C. The Kidney Walk in the North Okanagan will take place at Polson Park in Vernon.

At the young of age of five, Campbell was diagnosed with a rare condition called Childhood Nephrotic Syndrome which causes the kidneys to leak large and abnormal amounts of protein into the urine instead of into the body’s bloodstream.

When the protein is lost in the urine, this leads to puffiness or swelling, often in the eyelids, feet and ankles and eventually the abdomen. If left untreated, problems with breathing, eating and infections can occur.

“Before Ainsley got sick, we did not know much about kidney disease, and that it can affect children as young as Ainsley,” says his mom Melissa Campbell. “When Ainsley is in remission, she is just like all the other kids her age; happy and active. When she has a relapse, she needs to stay home for periods at a time with low energy levels. She takes steroid drugs for her condition, which can cause side effects.”

“It was really hard at first when she was diagnosed to ‘just be normal’ and not worry. That’s why connecting with the Kidney Foundation was so important to us,” said mom. “Working with The Kidney Foundation we were able to focus on doing something positive, like raising awareness about kidney disease and helping other people living with this devastating disease.”

Campbell, now seven, together with her mom, dad and the entire family and friends have become very involved with The Kidney Foundation’s annual Kidney Walk and their team, the Melissa Campbell Team, which has raised over $5,000 to date for the cause.

“It is really heartwarming to see a community come together like this and rally in support of kidney patients, it truly means the world to them,” said Marie Hesse, Director, Community Initiatives at the BC & Yukon Branch. “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.”

For more information on the Kidney Walk or to register, go to kidneywalk.ca.

Related: Vernon Alzheimer’s Walk honours Margaret Stecyk

Related: Group plans North Okanagan chapter of Kidney Foundation

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