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Focus on kidney health in March

Organizers of the 2017 Kamloops Kidney Walk chose Susan Duncan, a kidney donor, as that year’s honouree.




Organizers of the 2017 Kamloops Kidney Walk chose Susan Duncan, a kidney donor, as that year’s honouree. Here, she introduces Lloyd Garner, who received her kidney, his wife, Gen, and their three children — Joshua, Josiah and Makayla — to the crowd prior to the walk at McDonald Park.


By Gregg Drinnan

First . . . the bad news.

There isn’t a cure for kidney disease, which affects one in 10 Canadians.

Now . . . the good news.

Targeted screening is available for those with one of the main risk factors — diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, family history of kidney disease, kidney health issues, or an ancestry that is Asian, South Asian, Aboriginal, African, South Pacific, Caribbean or Hispanic.

Those three screenings are scheduled to be held at the Q’wemtsin Health Society, 130 Chilcotin Road, on March 15; the Brock Activity Centre, in the Brock Shopping Centre, on March 16; and the Sikh Temple, 700 Cambridge Cres., on March 17. There will be a registration table — it will be flagged Are You At Risk? — at the March 8 Health Fair at the Northills Shopping Centre, or you may register by calling Edna Humphreys at 250-376-6361.

Remember that knowing early on will allow you to make the lifestyle changes necessary to protect your kidney function.

Meanwhile, the Kamloops Kidney Support Group is here for you, too.

The group was co-founded by Humphreys, who is the executive member for the Kamloops chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC and Yukon Branch, and kidney transplant recipients Dorothy Drinnan and Margaret Thompson. It meets twice a month — on the second Saturday, at Romeo’s Kitchen, 1250 Rogers Way, and on the second Wednesday, at Denny’s, 898 Tranquille Road. The next meetings, which are most informal, are set for March 10 and March 14, both starting at 10 a.m. Should you choose to attend, you won’t get any medical advice, but people and family members who have been impacted by kidney disease are there to exchange information, provide support and chat.

In the meantime, March is Kidney Health Month, something that has been proclaimed by Kamloops City Council.

• March Drive canvassers will be going door-to-door on behalf of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC and Yukon Branch. The March Drive campaign is important for programs that support those with kidney disease. For example, transplant recipients must spend about two months living in Vancouver, and the March Drive helps provide funds for patients who need financial aid.

• The Kamloops Blazers are scheduled to entertain the Vancouver Giants on March 2 at the Sandman Centre, and it will be Organ Donor Awareness Night. The first 1,000 fans through the doors will receive Don Cherry bobbleheads, and Upper Deck trading cards and cherry lip balm will be handed out, compliments of RE/MAX. There also will be a Don Cherry cardboard cutout available with which fans will be able to take selfies.

During the game, the Blazers will wear sweaters fashioned after Cherry’s wardrobe. Those sweaters will be available for fans to purchase via auction. There also will be representatives of the BC and Yukon Branch of the kidney foundation and the Kamloops Kidney Support Group on hand to chat and answer questions.

Cherry and his family’s involvement with the Kidney Foundation goes back to 1979 when daughter Cindy, then 22, gave a kidney to her brother, Tim, who was 13.

“It’s probably one of the most unselfish things you’re ever going to do in your life, and, to me, not to consider it is just absolutely ridiculous,” Cindy told Tori Stafford of the Kingston Whig-Standard six years ago.

• On March 8, the spotlight shifts to the Northills Shopping Centre and World Kidney Day for a free health fair that will focus on kidney disease and women’s health. Arranged by nursing students from Thompson Rivers University, the fair will include health information booths, with numerous health-related agencies in attendance, as well as AED (automated external defibrillator) demonstrations and lots of door prizes.

• The Kamloops Kidney Support Group also has been involved with the production of a few episodes of PLUGGED IN, the BC and Yukon Branch’s 30-minute TV show that is available via Shaw TV or YouTube. In recent months, the show has featured the likes of Maggie Thompson; Susan Duncan, a local woman who donated a kidney; local broadcaster Hugh McLennan, a recent kidney recipient who is the host of The Spirit of the West Radio Show; Wes Vath of Acumen Machine Ltd., who has dealt with kidney cancer and is a long-time sponsor of the Kamloops Kidney Walk; and Dale Calibaba, whose cross-Canada cycling trip was interrupted by a transplant. As well, Murray Lane is scheduled to be on an upcoming episode.

Gregg Drinnan was the last sports editor of the Kamloops Daily News. He continues to write at