‘A world of dif­fer­ence’

Till­son­burg walks to raise money for kid­ney dis­ease re­search, pro­grams

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - John Tap­ley

About 45 peo­ple set out from Till­son­burg District Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal on Sun­day with a goal of rais­ing $5,000 for the Kid­ney Foun­da­tion of Canada with Till­son­burg’s an­nual Kid­ney Foun­da­tion Walk.

Not in­clud­ing what Sun­day’s walk gen­er­ated, the event has raised more than $32,000 since it was brought to Till­son­burg a few years ago.

“For a small com­mu­nity, we do pretty well (with fundrais­ing) com­pared to larger cen­tres,” said Greg D’Hul­ster, chair of the walk for the past seven years.

The money raised goes to kid­ney dis­ease re­search and pro­grams that sup­port peo­ple liv­ing with kid­ney dis­ease.

D’Hul­ster’s son, Dy­lan D’Hul­ster, was born with kid­ney prob­lems and ini­tially had to go to a pe­di­atric dial­y­sis unit in Lon­don three times each week, which took more than seven hours.

Even for peo­ple from the Till­son­burg area be­ing treated in Wood­stock it still took about five hours plus driv­ing time, Greg D’Hul­ster said.

In 2000, D’Hul­ster do­nated one of his kid­neys to his son, which lasted five years.

“It pe­tered out on him,” D’Hul­ster said, ex­plain­ing that his kid­ney wasn’t a per­fect match.

Dy­lan and Ed DeSut­ter got the ball rolling to bring a satel­lite dial­y­sis unit to Till­son­burg District Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal through com­mu­nity fundrais­ing and gov­ern­ment sup­port.

“It just makes a world of dif­fer­ence,” said Greg D’Hul­ster about hav­ing the satel­lite unit in Till­son­burg. “It’s more con­ve­nient for peo­ple.”

Af­ter go­ing back on dial­y­sis, Dy­lan re­ceived a sec­ond kid­ney trans­plant.

Greg D’Hul­ster said the sec­ond kid­ney “worked fan­tas­tic,” but Dy­lan had a weak­ened im­mune sys­tem due to the anti-re­jec­tion med­i­ca­tion he was tak­ing fol­low­ing the trans­plant and con­tracted vi­ral pneu­mo­nia.

Three years ago, on the day af­ter his 19th birth­day, Dy­lan went into the hospi­tal where he spent 12 weeks be­fore he suc­cumbed to the pneu­mo­nia.

Dy­lan was a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and many of the par­tic­i­pants in Sun­day’s two kilo­me­tre and five kilo­me­tre walk routes sported a Leafs jersey in his mem­ory.

Money raised from the walk that is sup­port­ing re­search is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence, Greg D’Hul­ster said.

“Things have cer­tainly come a long way as far as trans­plants and rec­ti­fy­ing kid­ney dis­ease,” he said.

Fundrais­ing for kid­ney dis­ease isn’t as high pro­file as it is for other dis­eases be­cause kid­ney dis­ease isn’t vis­i­ble, said Rizwana Ramzanali, fund de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer with the Lon­don Chap­ter of the Kid­ney Foun­da­tion of Canada.

“It doesn’t get di­ag­nosed un­til your kid­ney func­tion is re­ally, re­ally low,” she said. “You can walk around, you can work and have kid­ney dis­ease and not know it.”

Dial­y­sis is the only treat­ment for kid­ney dis­ease un­til a trans­plant is pos­si­ble.

“On­tario does re­ally well,” ramzanali said. “liv­ing dona­tion is on the rise be­cause peo­ple re­al­ize they can func­tion well with one kid­ney. (but) the need for kid­neys con­tin­ues to rise be­cause of kid­ney dis­ease.”

She said kid­ney trans­plants are hap­pen­ing sooner to­day than they were a decade ago.

Still it can take two to five years to find a suit­able match.

Ri­amzanali said there are more than 1,500 peo­ple await­ing or­gan trans­plants and more than half of them need a kid­ney. tori anger is one of them. a 30-year-old sim­coe res­i­dent, anger said kid­ney dis­ease has made her sick all her life and caused her to spend a year in hospi­tal when she was young.

Fol­low­ing a surgery when she was in grade 9, her kid­ney func­tion “kept go­ing down.”

She had her right kid­ney re­moved more than two years ago and her left kid­ney is func­tion­ing at 11%.

Anger is on dial­y­sis at home for eight hours ev­ery night.

She said has had five peo­ple step for­ward to be tested as liv­ing kid­ney donors and is still wait­ing for a match.

More peo­ple are be­ing tested as po­ten­tial donors, she said, but test­ing can take up to six months.

She said she be­gan par­tic­i­pat­ing in the till­son­burg Kid­ney Foun­da­tion Walk last year af­ter read­ing about it on so­cial me­dia.

She en­cour­aged peo­ple who haven’t been tested to be liv­ing donors to do so.

“There are peo­ple out there who need you.”

The 2nd an­nual Till­son­burg Zom­bie Ad­ven­ture is Satur­day, Sept. 23. Pre­sented by the Till­son­burg & Area Op­ti­mist Club (till­son­burg zom­biead­ventu re.com for tick­ets).

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