On March 13, take a moment to thank your kidneys for the important job they play in your overall health. Your kidneys flush toxins and excess water from your blood, they help regulate your blood pressure and to produce red blood cells.
Today is World Kidney Day and we are celebrating this hard-working little organ that performs a huge role in our daily life!
Chronic kidney disease can sneak up and surprise many people because we can lose up to 90% of our kidney function before we experience any symptoms, such as fatigue, swelling, difficulty concentrating, decreased appetite, blood in the urine and foamy urine.
According to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, approximately 2 million Canadians are living with a chronic kidney disease. One of those people is Craig Dunbar. You may have heard of Craig and his recent Kidney 4 Craig campaign to find a donor. In 2007, Craig was unexpectedly diagnosed with Iga Nephropathy. His situation became increasingly dire as the access points in his body where dialysis could be performed began to fail. After more than a six year search, Craig’s donor turned out to be someone he knew. On January 16, 2014, Craig received his new kidney from the wife of his former chief at the Stittsville fire station, where Craig was a volunteer firefighter.
Today, Craig is recovering well at home. He remains, as always, a huge advocate for organ donation and research to help find a cure for kidney disease. “I’ve been helping other patients with their journeys to seek a donor.” Craig is also passionate about educating people about kidney health including the damaging role anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen, can have on the kidney. “Anti-inflammatories are what triggered my underlying kidney disease. It is really important not to mask symptoms or pain with anti-inflammatories. It is vitally important that people are aware of the side effects of anti-inflammatories.” Among its 8 Golden Rules for Kidney Health, the World Kidney Day’s website recommends not taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories because they are known to cause damage and kidney disease if taken regularly. (Read more about this and the other ‘golden rules’ here.)
Organ donation saves lives not only for the recipient but also for the potential donors. Throughout his campaign, many people underwent testing to see if they would be a match. For some of these people, the tests revealed serious underlying health issues, for which they immediately underwent treatments. Craig adds that several of his friends lost weight and got in shape in order to improve their chances for being a donor. Since then, they have maintained their weight loss and fitness. “It is very impressive what some of these people have done to change their lives. I hope it inspires other people to consider donating a kidney.”
We are certainly inspired by all of Craig’s efforts to raise awareness of donation and kidney health. We are delighted to have Craig join us the Alive to Strive Race on April 27!
Why not follow the World Kidney Day’s first ‘golden rule’ of kidney health to keep fit and active by registering for the Alive to Strive Race? Join Craig and our team for a fun race that supports people in our community living with chronic kidney disease! Register here.
Today, on World Kidney Day, give your kidneys a loving pat on the back for the incredible work they do for your body.