Linda Bonner-Brown and Margaret LeBlanc have a unique friendship.
It was forged via their mutual connection to kidney disease — Bonner-Brown lost her husband to it in 2000, while LeBlanc has been on dialysis for two years.
The two are residents at the RiverBend seniors community.
LeBlanc receives treatment at Royal Inland Hospital every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Bonner-Brown is always there to see LeBlanc off in the morning and welcome her back again in the evening.
LeBlanc said the friendship has been a valuable part of her treatment.
“To have someone to wait for me, coming home and going there, it really enhances my life,” she said. ““She’s my best friend.”
Bonner-Brown feels the same way.
“I couldn’t ask for a better friend, either, my dear,” she said. “It’s a tough road.”
Bonner-Brown is a volunteer with patient services for the Kamloops chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada and both are active in the annual Kamloops Kidney Walk, which will take place this Sunday in McDonald Park in North Kamloops.
Registration is at 10 a.m., with the walk beginning at 11 a.m.
“Margaret was in the hospital last year for the kidney walk, so she was very disappointed she missed it,” Bonner-Brown said.
“So we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes right for Margaret so that she can be there.”
“So far, so good,” LeBlanc replied.
According to local statistics provided by Bonner-Brown, there are 1,124 patients in pre-dialysis mode, another 114 patients on dialysis and 140 who have successfully received kidney transplants.
Catching kidney problems early can help keep people off dialysis.
When LeBlanc was first diagnosed, she was told she would be on dialysis within five years, but she managed to make it 15 years before requiring treatment.
THE KIDNEY WALK
From Kamloops Kidney Walk organizer Gregg Drinnan:
As of mid-August, in the region served by Royal Inland Hospital, there were 1,378 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) being monitored by nephrologists. Of those, 140 have undergone transplants, and 114 are on dialysis.
The annual walk is in support of kidney transplantation and organ donation. It uses Rivers Trail from McDonald Park to the entrance to McArthur Island.
Following the walk, the Brock Central Lions Club will have pancakes and sausages available, along with coffee, by donation.
The walk raises funds for programs and services to support those affected by CKD and donors when a transplant is arranged, as well as supporting vital research.
To donate to a team or an individual, go online to kidneywalk.ca.
The 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk’s goal is $20,000.