The Kidney Walk

Friday, I promised that I would talk more about my husband and my meeting with Susie Rice, organizer for the National Kidney Foundation’s Portland Kidney Walk 2012.  So I am.

But first, let me tell you what the Portland Kidney Walk is about.  It’s a fundraising walk that the National Kidney Foundation puts on in cities all over the country in an effort to raise money for the organization.  Chronic Kidney Disease is sort of the red-headed stepchild of the disease world, with a social stigma attached that is unfair to those who have the disease.

As people in the NKF and in the support groups tell me, people automatically assume they had their kidneys fail because they weren’t treating their bodies right, i.e. diabetes, for example.  Eating crappy, not exercising, etc.  And because there is this misconception, there isn’t a lot of press out there talking about kidney disease and renal failure, there aren’t celebrities going on about their dialysis treatments, and so on.  Additionally, since the body has two kidneys, people tend to assume they’ll just get another one from a parent or sibling and it isn’t such a big deal.  But the fact of the matter is; it is a big deal.  There are many many reasons why kidneys can fail, even minors can be subject to kidney failure, and kidneys for transplants don’t grow on trees.  Not everyone can find a match among their relations, and even when they can, there is no guarantee the transplant can take place.

The National Kidney Foundation is trying to help change these perceptions and educate people.    Straight from their website:

Our Mission:

The National Kidney Foundation, a major voluntary nonprofit health organization, is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.

To do this, the NKF needs money.  The Kidney Walk is taking place on Saturday, June 16th.  It’s not too late to sign up and walk it and help with the fundraising drive the NKF is working so hard to do.  And just so you know your money is going to a good place, the NKF has this to say about the Kidney Walk:

How is the money used?

More than 79 cents of every dollar raised for the NKF goes directly to support programs and services, including free early detection screenings, research support, education, patient services, and much more.

NKF is a nonprofit organization and is approved by major charity watchdog organizations like Charity Navigator. NKF also meets the 20 Standards for Charity Accountability with the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, and is a BBB Wise Giving Seal Holder.

My husband, Micah, is participating in this walk. If you would like to make a donation in his name (rather than walk yourself and find donors to donate in your name), go to this page here.   He has a $200 goal, and he’s raised $25 so far.  Please help him make his goal!

Okay, now that I’ve pitched the organization and the Walk, since I’m excited about them and what they do, I can move on to the meeting we had.

To make it clear, I am not walking in this event.  Well, I am, but I’m doing my walking participation in a different way.  Instead of getting a number, I’m going to be following along with Micah and filming him and filming the Walk for a documentary he’s wanting to do about the struggles he has with just daily living.  He wants people to see what it is like to live his life.

We met with Susie to make sure we had permission to do so.  We didn’t want to be doing filming at the event and then be told, “No, you can’t be here doing that.”    Actually, Susie was thrilled we wanted to do this and is excited about Micah’s project (I say Micah’s project, because this is his baby.  It was his idea and he is the one behind it, all the way.  The Stumptown Movie Makers organization I’m a part of has inspired him.  He joined and now he’s all fired up to make a movie!  I’m along for the ride, happy to be helping).  She said there just isn’t enough media out there about kidney disease and more needs to be filmed about it!  The kidney support group we went to said much of the same thing when we told them what we wanted to do.

So we got permission to film.  Yes!  Also, we discussed a number of other things.  I’m doing this Portland Walk, and I asked her if there was some sort of way I could wear something that would get people’s attention that I’m doing it for kidneys.  So we talked T-shirts and business cards and other things.  She absolutely wants to help with that.  She gave us a bunch of brochures, and we’ve already started handing those out!  She wants to try to help me figure out how I can get the fundraising both for the NKF, but also for me to help me get the walk going next year across America.  I will take all the advice and tidbits and hints she passes my way!

I also discussed Portland Community Media with her and the potential for filming interviews and educational bits and putting them on the air on public access television.  PCM has five different channels and reaches 250,000+ households in the Portland tri-county area.  She was excited about that possibility, too.  I don’t know if I would be helping with the production of those, but I’m happy to help, if I can.

So I’m excited about the possibilities of helping the National Kidney Foundation and getting people educated about the realities of dialysis and the need for more kidney donors.

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