Tag Archives: Kidney Walk

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.

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.

The 2015 Kidney Walk is History

Thanks once again for all your support. The London, Ontario edition of the 2015 Kidney Walk fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation of Canada is now history. Having never been to any other kidney support types of events, it was a rather sobering experience to see all the people come out for the walk, all wearing signs that said, “I’m walking for…” someone they knew with kidney disease or for themselves personally.

The Kidney Walkers

The Kidney Walkers

A highlight was to hear a brief presentation from a woman who had received a transplant a mere 13 weeks earlier, followed by a tearful speech from the woman who actually donated the kidney. It was great to see them both looking so healthy.

A sobering image that will stick with me was the quilted images of those who had donated organs as a result of life-ending incident, The Gift of Life Donors.

The Gift of Life Donors

The Gift of Life Donors

Another special highlight for me was that my wife, Etsuko, and two of my children, Rika and Aisha, were able to accompany me on the walk, wearing signs that said, respectively, “I’m walking for my husband,” and “I’m walking for my dad.” I’ll admit to feeling a bit weepy when I see this photo.

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Left to right: daughter Rika, wife Etsuko, daughter Aisha

When I announced that I was going to go on this fundraising walk, and invited sponsoring donations, I hoped for a total of only three hundred dollars, of which I was going to contribute one hundred dollars. Much to my surprise and delight, I was the top individual fundraiser, bringing in a total of $1,915 by the morning of the walk, and actually, $2,065 by the end of the day. As I posted elsewhere, this says less about me as a fundraiser and much more about the kind and generous friends who are supporting me. I am grateful.

Me, with my wife, Etsuko, by my side. The lime green shirt was because I had raised in excess of a $1,000.

Me, with my wife, Etsuko, by my side. The lime green shirt was because I had raised in excess of a $1,000.

Thank you.

Update: Going for a (Kidney) Walk

One thousand five hundred and fifteen dollars! Or, in numeric figures: $1,515! Wow! That’s how much has been donated to the Kidney Foundation of Canada through sponsoring me for the Kidney Walk. Thank you so very much. I had set a clearly much-too-modest goal of $300, of which I would personally contribute $100. Well, I kicked in my part, but you responded at a much greater level than I imagined. In fact, so far my low-key fundraising campaign has brought in more money than any other participant in the London Kidney Walk.

Having said that, let me remind readers of this blog that there are less than two weeks until September 27. So, if you would still like to make a donation to the Foundation through me, there’s still time, but the day of the walk is fast approaching.

Here once again is the link to the donation page.

Far be it from me to discourage people from going to church, but if you are in the London, Ontario area, and otherwise unoccupied on the morning of Sunday, September 27, why don’t you join me on the walk at Gibbons Park? The walk begins at 11:15 am, and is relatively modest 5 km.

Thanks again for the financial support for this walk as well as the daily support I get from you in myriad ways.

Russ Sawatsky

 

Going for a (Kidney) Walk

It seems every organ and disease has its charitable foundation. The kidney is no different. The Kidney Foundation of Canada provides assistance and education for those dealing with kidney disease as well as supporting fundraising efforts for medical research into kidneys.

One way the foundation raises funds is by holding an annual “Kidney Walk,” in which walkers solicit donations on behalf of the foundation. I am doing that for the first time this fall on September 27, when the London, Ontario Kidney Walk takes place. I invite you to sponsor me to raise money for a great cause, making a difference for those who are living with kidney disease.

My personal goal is to raise $300. I pledge to contribute $0.50, to a maximum of $100, for every $1.00 you donate. That means, for example, if ten people donate $20 each, for a total of $200, I will add $100 to the amount for a grand total of $300.

Click here to be taken to the donation page.

Thank you,

Russ Sawatsky