The West Island Community alone has 35 confirmed people living with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), but it’s not something that’s talked about enough. This number may not sound like a lot to some, but if one parent has the genetic mutation there is a 50% chance that their children will inherit this life-threatening hereditary disease. The PKD Foundation of Canada’s local chapter leader, Luisa Miniaci-Di Leo, painted us a devastating picture of the realities that some people are facing, “I know a few patients who have multiple kids and in some cases 3 of the 4 kids have it. Imagine a household with a grandfather, a daughter, and then 2 grandchildren with this disease.”
To put this into perspective, The PKD Foundation compares a polycystic kidney to carrying around a football that weighs up to 30 lbs. Let that image sink in for a second. Once diagnosed, people living with PKD have to make changes in their daily lives to maintain their quality of life. The people who suffer from this chronic disease may need to undergo kidney transplants and dialysis at some point in their lives. Dr. Rolf Loertscher and Dr. Sameena Iqbal, Nephrologists at the Lakeshore General Hospital, have greatly expanded the capabilities of their dialysis departments and spearheaded the PKD Unit of Care to meet the needs of those suffering from PKD in the community without them having to go downtown.
Luisa has dedicated herself to raising awareness for PKD as a member of The PKD Foundation of Canada. These two game-changers should be proud of what they have accomplished together as 33 towns and cities in Canada officially proclaimed September 4th as National PKD Awareness Day! Sad you missed out on this year’s displays of solidarity throughout Canada? Don’t fret, you can still support those afflicted this September 27th, 2020, at the VIRTUAL Walk to End PKD.
The organizers of this event have a clear goal that can’t be ignored, “This year, the Walk to END PKD signifies a group united in spirit, moving towards treatment and a cure for PKD, one of the most common life-threatening genetic diseases affecting thousands in Canada.” Considering the current climate of COVID-19, the organizers have reverted from large gatherings to having participants select their own local route and walk alongside a chosen few. Let’s come together once more, like the compassionate community that we are, to help put an end to the ravages of this disease!
As a grassroots organization, The PKD Foundation of Canada relies on volunteers from dedicated members of the community. If you’re ready to join the amazing souls fighting to end PKD head on over to their volunteer page!
The PKD Foundation of Canada is a registered Canadian Not-For-Profit Charity. Anything that you can donate makes a difference in the lives of those affected. These donations go towards vital research to find a cure, education, and spreading awareness for the 66,000 Canadians and 12.5 million people globally living with this disease.
If you’re unable to donate or participate, sharing this article to spread awareness can go a long way. No matter which way you choose to support the cause, know that your actions truly make the difference in making this world a kinder, more loving place. Together, we can find a cure!