Kidney Marchers gear up for different trek

CALGARY (660NEWS) – The Kidney March is determined to raise funds for research and patients despite COVID-19.

Organizers say it will be a lot different this year but they’re making do with the changes that will allow the Kidney Foundation’s largest fundraiser to happen.

Marchers drawn together to fight kidney disease can’t get together on the scale they’re used to, with many at high risk or having vulnerable loved ones.

Event Manager Laura Fleming with the Foundation says this year, instead of walking 100 kilometres over three days from Millarville to a camp in K-Country and then finishing in Calgary, they’re spreading it out.

“What they can do is, from August 10th to September 10th, walk 70 kilometres, just in their neighbourhood and so on, while social distancing. And then the actual three days of Kidney March, which is September 11th to the 13th, they’ll complete 10 kilometres per day, and they will have completed their hundred kilometres,” said Fleming.

They’re suggesting that marchers can make it fun by having their own campsites and doing their own walks, wherever they wish.

Walkers and sponsors can track their progress on the website with the funds going to research, organ donation efforts and helping patients.

“Usually, 99% of people (marchers) have a connection, they know somebody with kidney disease or they have it themselves but I do get people who just say, I’d love to walk a hundred kilometres, so they sign up.”

An estimated 3.5 million Canadians have chronic kidney disease or are at risk and most don’t find out they have it until it’s too late.

According to the Foundation, 78% of those waiting for an organ transplant are there because they need a kidney and since the average wait is four years, many have died waiting.

“It’s so important to raise this money for our kidney patients and to try and put an end to this awful, devastating disease,” said Fleming. “One in ten people are affected by kidney disease and typically, by the time they’re diagnosed, they likely have to go on dialysis.”

She says hemodialysis is required three days a week, typically for about four hours per day. Funds raised through the Kidney March also help provide some patients with machines so they can undergo dialysis at home.

“Dialysis is like life support. If they don’t have dialysis they will die,” said Fleming.

According to the Foundation, the disease is irreversible and kills thousands of Canadians each year.

To sign up for the Kidney March, visit their website.

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