Early each month, I post a message to Twitter that goes something like this:
Nearly 49,000 Canadians are being treated for kidney failure. If you are one, the Kamloops Kidney Support Group will gather Saturday, Aug. 10, 9 a.m., and Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m., at Chances (Barside Lounge and Grill), 1250 Halston Ave. Join us for breakfast and conversation. #kamloops @KidneyBCY
I also post a similar message to Facebook and send a PSA (Public Service Announcement) to various media people and outlets in the Kamloops areas.
So . . . allow me to tell you a bit about the Kamloops Kidney Support Group (KKSG).
It was founded by three women — Edna Humphreys, who has a son who has had a kidney transplant, Dorothy Drinnan and Margaret Thompson, both of whom are enjoying life after kidney transplants. Margaret has since moved to Edmonton, however, so we carry on while she watches with interest from afar.
The KKSG doesn’t have any affiliations, medical or otherwise. We are a bunch of folks who come together twice a month, over coffee and/or breakfast, and talk about our renal-related experiences.
No one has kept track, but I would guess that we have had contact with upwards of 50 different people over the time that we have been around. People come and people go; some are regulars and others show up perhaps when they feel a need for some support or when they have a question or two.
We meet twice a month — on the second Wednesday and second Saturday — and had 17 people attend our last gathering.
Two regulars recently have started dialysis — one hemo and the other peritoneal — as they wait for the phone call that hopefully will come soon, telling them there is a match and that a transplant is in the works.
There are other people in our group who are dealing with one type of kidney issue or another, all under medical care. We have one couple who have joined us a couple of times as they seek all the information they can find, their son having been diagnosed with kidney disease.
Dorothy, who was born with one kidney, had her transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Prior to that, she spent almost four years doing peritoneal dialysis. At that time, there wasn’t a support group or anyone she could chat with — outside the medical community — or ask questions of in a search for information.
You are asking: What kind of information?
It could be answering questions about the interview process one goes through at St. Paul’s Hospital or Vancouver General Hospital in the lead up to a potential transplant.
It could be pointing out that there isn’t a cure for kidney disease — just because someone undergoes a transplant and gets a new (used) kidney doesn’t mean he/she is cured. Yes, it’s true. While there are cures for various kinds of cancer and other diseases, there isn’t a cure for kidney disease.
The trick is to learn how to live with it. Those of us involved with the KKSG hope that we are able to help people do just that.
If you have been impacted by kidney disease, feel free to check us out.
If you live in a community other than Kamloops and wonder if such a group really is worthwhile, I highly recommend it. If you would like more information, get in touch with us.
If you are in the Kamloops area, we will be at the Barside Lounge and Grill in Chances on Saturday, 9 a.m., and Wednesday, 10 a.m.
2019 KAMLOOPS KIDNEY WALK
WHAT: Organizers of the 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk have scheduled a news conference.
WHEN: Monday, Aug. 19, 2 p.m.
WHERE: St. Andrews on the Square, 159 Seymour St.
WHO: Organizers will outline plans. . . . Two honourees will be introduced. . . . Organizers will introduce and thank the largest single donor in the event’s 10-year history.
We look forward to seeing you there.