Tag Archives: Kidney Foundation of Canada

Two Steps Forward + A Few More

Earlier this week I visited my family doctor for a regular check up on my diabetes condition. Readers of this blog may recall that I was diagnosed with diabetes following my transplant, a not uncommon consequence for those who receive a kidney transplant after age 45.

A common measure for one’s diabetic status is the A1C test. A number of 6.5 or greater is diabetic. My numbers during the last several months have been around 6.9 – 7.1. Happily, though, my most recent number was 6.4! Woo hoo! That means I have dipped into the “pre-diabetic” range.

Another step forward has also come from another blood test that showed that my creatinine level has fallen back into the low 90s. Although previous levels were in the range of 100-110, within normal range, having it drop several points a year after my transplant is really good news.


The “few more” steps refers to the Kidney Walk (click on this link if you’d like to donate), which I will be going on tomorrow (Sunday, September 24) morning. (If you live in London, Ontario, you may want to consider coming out to Gibbons Park at 10:00 AM.) Two years ago, when I first went on the walk, I was in the middle of dialysis. Last year, I was at less than two months post-transplant. This year I’m a full year beyond my transplant and feel like I have actually re-entered a normal lifestyle complete with a degree of health and energy that I haven’t experienced in years.

In gratitude,

Russ Sawatsky


Announcing the 2017 Kidney Walk

Hello friends,

Thanks for all your support for me in the years leading up to, and now one year beyond, the kidney transplant I received on July 29, 2016. Once again, I am participating in the London, Ontario Kidney Walk, raising funds for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. The Walk will take place on September 24. Between now and then I would appreciate any donations you are willing to make for this cause.

Did you know that the largest proportion of those in need of a transplant are those waiting for a kidney? Sad to say, those numbers are increasing. Among other things, the money you donate will help to fund research into finding more effective ways to respond to kidney disease and to support those with kidney disease.

Please follow this link to my Kidney Walk page and click on the green rectangle with “Donate Now” written on it to make a donation as you see fit.

Also, if you have been considering signing up as an organ donor, but haven’t done so yet, please click on this link as well to register as a donor. As the slogan goes, “Don’t take your organs to heaven, heaven knows we need them here!”

Thank you,

Russ Sawatsky

Transplant One Year Anniversary

One year ago, on Friday, July 29, 2016, I received a life altering kidney transplant from a living donor. Once again, I write in humble gratitude for the willingness of two friends in British Columbia to put their names forward as donors, with Gerald Neufeld being the one who finally was the one to “go under the knife.” I think as well of the tremendous care I received while in hospital, and of the loving support of my wife Etsuko, and my four children, Rika, Keila, Aisha and Aaron, who were with me during that day. There were also friends from church as well as friends from our neighbourhood who visited with me and my family before, during and/or after the surgery.

A lot has happened in the last year, much of it documented in this blog (“shout out” to Robert Chute — check out some of his books on Amazon — for helping me to get this little publishing venture off the ground). I seem to have become a “normal” person again: working 9 to 5 at the same place I had been before I went on dialysis — and that’s all right. In fact, I feel more “normal” than I have in 33 years when I was first diagnosed with kidney disease: no high blood pressure, no excess swelling or carrying around extra weight because my kidneys were not able to do the job, no tube coming out of my belly (I’ll avoid attaching the graphic photos for now) nor the related hooking up to a dialysis machine every night. I could go on. 

Thank you for your support, and thank you to every person who has registered as an organ donor.

I’ll post something again as the day gets closer and as I get my donation page a little more up-to date, but allow me to wrap this up by mentioning that I will once again be participating in the Kidney Walk in London, a fundraising event for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

A recent photo of me wearing my Kidney Walk t-shirt from 2016.

Infographics about Kidney Disease and Organ Donation

Here are a couple of recently published “infographics” that contain some stark information about kidney disease and organ donation, courtesy of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Given the increasing prevalence of organ failure in general and kidney disease in particular, it’s quite likely that this is more than mere statistics. Beyond myself, you may very well know someone else among your friends and extended family who is dealing with a disease that may ultimately lead to life-threatening organ failure.

Thanks for your support,

Russ Sawatsky

London Kidney Walk 2016

This weekend, Sunday, September 25, I will be walking in the London edition of the Kidney Walk, a fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Last year was the first time I participated in the Walk. In fact, I hadn’t been aware of it previously, despite 30+ years of living with kidney disease. This weekend, Friday, September 23, to be precise, will also mark eight weeks since I received my transplant.

And, as long as I am marking significant events, this past Monday, my friend Gerald donated one of his kidneys as part of the Paired Kidney Donation program run by Canadian Blood Services. His donation, although after my own surgery, made it possible for me to receive a new kidney. I had the pleasure of phoning him and his wife yesterday, Tuesday, the day after his surgery, and he sounded just fine! Praise God for his tremendous gift. I wouldn’t be where I am now without his generosity.

I’ve made a lot of progress in the last nearly eight weeks, but I still have a ways to go. I get tired very quickly, and a little bit of exertion brings out the sweat in buckets. On the positive side, walking is not that difficult. I’ve already walked more than half an hour at a time on several occasions, so I don’t anticipate any problems with the Kidney Walk. Again, I’ve made progress. Take a look at my vigorous steps two days after my surgery (video courtesy of my long-suffering wife, Etsuko):

With respect to the Kidney Walk, if you are interested in sponsoring me, there is still time to do so online here: Welcome to Russell Sawatsky’s page.

Thanks so much to all those who have already been so generous either with donations or with words of encouragement. They have meant a great deal to me and my family.

How long will a transplanted kidney last?

Transplant science is making progress year after year, but one thing that does give me pause when I contemplate receiving a transplanted kidney is the awareness that a transplant will eventually fail. The worst case scenario is that the transplant fails immediately, which, although rare, does happen. Sometimes a transplanted kidney lives for quite a long time, but a long time does not usually mean more than 20 years, and even that period of time is usually only in the case of a kidney from a living donor.

It therefore came as a bit of a surprise, and gave me not a little more hope, when I came across this article about a man who received a kidney from a deceased donor that has lasted 40 years!

Here’s the article, from CTV News Winnipeg.

Kidney transplant recipient celebrates 40 years since donation

By sharing his story, Perras and the Kidney Foundation of Canada hope to encourage more people to sign up to be an organ donor.

By sharing his story, Perras and the Kidney Foundation of Canada hope to encourage more people to sign up to be an organ donor.

Cameron MacLean, CTV Winnipeg
Published Thursday, May 26, 2016 1:40PM CST

Adrien Perras has beaten the odds by surviving 40 years after receiving a kidney transplant in 1976.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada said the average lifespan for a kidney transplant is 25 years. Only one per cent of transplant patients live as long as Perras.

At 21, Perras was a university student when he started feeling lethargic all the time.

“I’d sit down to study and fall asleep for two hours,” he said.

Doctors at the Health Sciences Centre ran some tests and booked an appointment a few days later. Perras missed the appointment, and a few hours later received a call, telling him to get down to the hospital immediately.

Doctors told him his kidneys were “shot,” Perras said. When he got the news, Perras said he almost couldn’t believe it.

“You almost want to call BS on it,” he said.

Perras chokes up when he recounts telling his mother about the diagnosis.

“That was tough, cause I was her oldest son and she just had so many hopes for (me).”

A kidney donor couldn’t be found immediately, so Perras started preparing to go on dialysis while his name was put on a waiting list. However, only a few days before he was set to start dialysis, Perras got the call that a donor had been found.

“It just blew me away,” he said. “Fortunate doesn’t come into it. It’s almost miraculous, let’s use that word.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.


World Kidney Day

Today is World Kidney Day.

Here is the press release for the Day, which this year emphasizes kidney disease and children:




Kidney Disease & Children – Act early to prevent it.

Support WKD by moving your feet!

Brussels, February 22, 2016 – 10% of the population worldwide is impacted by some form of kidney damage.

On Thursday March 10th we are celebrating the 11th edition of World Kidney Day (WKD), a joint initiative organized by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF). WKD is the most widely celebrated event focused on kidney health across the globe. This year’s theme “Kidney Disease and Children” reminds us that we must all think about our kidneys from an early age and that much adult renal disease is actually initiated in childhood.

With 10% of the population worldwide having some form of kidney damage, there is a long road ahead to raise awareness about the dangers of kidney disease. The latest numbers show that Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is predicted to increase by 17% over the next decade and is now recognized by WHO and other organizations as a global public health issue.
Kidney diseases affect millions of people worldwide, including many children. Some children are born with kidney disease and others develop it when still very young. The symptoms of kidney disease in children are often nonspecific, which means that there is a risk that kidney problems may be missed in children. In childhood the leading causes of kidney failure in children are hereditary conditions, often lacking obvious indicators such as hematuria (red blood cells in the urine), hypertension (high blood pressure) or edema (swelling). Additionally, kidney disease that becomes evident in adulthood may occur more often in persons with risk factors that can be detected in childhood.
It is therefore crucial that we encourage and facilitate education, early detection and a healthy life style in children, starting at birth and continuing through to old age, to combat the increase of preventable kidney damage including Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and CKD and to treat children with inborn and acquired disorders of the kidney

Julie Ingelfinger, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Senior Consultant in Pediatric Nephrology at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, underlines the importance of CKD awareness and prevention from early age on: “It is important to be aware of and to detect pediatric kidney disease. Kidney disease can be treated, even in our smallest patients. Further, because much of adult kidney disease has its roots in childhood, it is critical to focus on infancy and childhood if we are to prevent and cure kidney diseases.“

On World Kidney Day, move your feet! – Keeping fit reduces high blood pressure and obesity, two of the leading causes of kidney disease.

This is why, leading up to March 10 and beyond, we encourage civil society, decision-makers, health ministries and professionals as well as patients to move their feet for healthy kidneys. This gesture is a vivid reminder that regular exercise and physical activity help to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease. Moving our feet is a simple yet powerful action that creates a link between our health and our daily routine.
Show your support online globally – Building on the great success of our WKD campaigns over the last years, which included over 560 reported events taking place in more than 90 countries and 50 million people talking about WKD through the campaign hashtag #worldkidneyday in 2015, we call on our community to share their activities, messages and pictures online and get involved in the fight against kidney disease. For more information and details about World Kidney Day events worldwide – please see www.worldkidneyday.org
Participants can send us messages and their pictures, using #moveyourfeet4WKD.

About the organizers of World Kidney Day:

World Kidney Day is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF).

Founded in 1960, the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) is a global not-for-profit society dedicated to improving kidney care and reducing the incidence and impact of kidney disease worldwide. Through its global network and programs, ISN brings together the developing and developed world in a collaborative effort in fighting and treating kidney disease on a global scale.

More information on www.theisn.org.

The International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF), a not-for-profit Federation founded in 1999, currently has a membership of 63 kidney foundations and patient groups in 41 countries. IFKF advocates worldwide to improve the health, well-being and quality of life of individuals with kidney disease; disseminates standards of best practice of treatment and care; assists with the establishment of kidney foundations in countries where they do not yet exist; facilitates educational programs for it members; and promotes kidney disease research.

More information on www.ifkf.org.
World Kidney Day Official Partners

World Kidney Day is grateful to the generous support of its global corporate contributors who help us make this day of global action possible. Thanks very much to:

  • Our WKD Partners:  AstraZeneca, Danone, Sanofi Renal
  • Our WKD Supporters: Amgen
  • Our WKD Benefactors: Alexion, Baxter, Fresenius Medical Care, and Intuitive Surgical


There is a variety of events taking place, many of which might not occur in your immediate neighbourhood, but one thing you can easily do, if you haven’t already, is to register as an organ donor. In Ontario go to beadonor.ca.