Sunday, dozens of Islanders, at events in Summerside and in Charlottetown, laced up their sneakers to help raise not only money for and the profile of the Kidney Foundation, but to encourage people to help give the gift of life.
The annual Give the Gift of Life walk’s aim is not only to raise money for the foundation but also to promote organ donation.
The event has been held the past several years in Summerside, organized by volunteers, many of whom have been touched either themselves or through a loved one with kidney disease.
Many of those loves ones wait anxiously for a donor, someone compatible that can give them a chance at a better quality of life, one that doesn’t involve regular dialysis.
It might not be known to all but a kidney can come from either a living or deceased donor, as can part of the live, lung, small bowel and pancreas.
Anyone who is healthy with no evidence of high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease or hepatitis and as young as aged 16 — depending on the province — can become a living donor.
The success rate for a kidney transplant from a living donor is 90 to 95 per cent after one yea, with the transplanted kidney lasting 15 to 20 years on average.
And, for transplants from a deceased donor, the success rate is also very high with 85 to 90 per cent of these kidneys working well after one year and lasting, on average, between 10 and 15 years.
But, unfortunately, currently in Canada, about 72 per cent of those on an organ transplant waiting list are waiting for a kidney.
While there are risks in becoming a living donor they are no worse than with any other major surgery.
When it comes to organs donated through a deceased donation, the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas and bowel can be donated. Eye tissue, heart valves, bone, veins and ligaments can also be donated.
With more than 4,000 Canadians on a waiting list for an organ and more than 1,800 who died last year while on that waiting list, signing an organ donation card and having that little sticker on our driver’s licence is a decision many of us who are healthy should consider.
While many may not want to become a living donor, giving the gift of life after we pass is an option to consider.
We can’t take our hearts, lungs and kidneys with us when we go
Why not have them live on in someone else?