Kidney health front and centre in Kamloops

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March 10, 2016 - 4:47pm

KAMLOOPS — Right now in British Columbia there are 448 people waiting for a kidney transplant, and statistics show most patients will die before being matched with a donor.

Today is World Kidney Day, a day set aside to raise global awareness about the importance of our kidneys and the vital role they play in our lives.

At Northills Mall a group of TRU Nursing students held a symposium to raise awareness about kidney disease, and teach people how to keep kidney issues at bay.

WATCH: Full story by Reporter Tanya Cronin

Three times a week, four hours a day, Maureen Thompson goes through a gruelling dialysis routine.

"I have anti-bodies in my system, that's why it's taking so long, I go on for four hours, every three weeks, every patient is different," says Maureen Thompson, Renal Patient.

Ten years ago, Maureen's kidneys failed. In need of a kidney transplant, she's been reliant on a machine to rid her blood of any toxins. 

"It's very hard because you have to keep your arms not moving, and being a mover, it's really hard to do."

Maureen is just one of thousands of people in Kamloops living with kidney disease. As part of World Kidney Day, hundreds of people stopped by Northills Mall, to test their kidney health at a screening clinic put on 3rd year nursing students, at TRU.

"In Kamloops and area we have 1,253 people that have kidney disease, and that's accessing dialysis, on the transplant waiting list or newly diagnosed," says Taryn Christian, 3rd year TRU Nursing Student.

From blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index, nurses are checking for any indicators of kidney disease. Important for everyone, especially those with family history and considered high risk. 

"We have free blood pressure testing, blood glucose and cholesteral testing, we have two pharmacisits here from independent grocers, and superstore that are providing this all free to the public," says Christian.

Chronic Kidney disease is incurable, it's often undetectable in its early stages and  is considered the fastest growing health concern in the province. Linda Bonner-Brown lost her husband to kidney failure 16-years ago. She says with over 1200 people living with the disease, the numbers speak for themselves, and prove just how important it is to get tested and think about becoming a donor. 

"People with diabetes need to be careful and high blood pressure, and with my friends on dialysis it snuck up on them, they didn't go to the doctor, they didn't bother," says Linda Bonner-Brown, Kidney Foundation Volunteer.

Renal patients like Maureen are encouraging early screening and prevention, and of course organ donation. While she's on a strict diet and doesn't have the best quality of life, Maureen is confident she'll be given a second chance at a normal life, but until then, dialysis will be her lifeline.

"It takes about 25 hours, this is my part time job keeping me alive," says Thompson.

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