NEW MINAS – Libby Goucher’s husband Peter received a kidney transplant nine years ago after his own failed due to his hereditary kidney disease.
Now, his new kidney seems to be holding up well. But, she says, that could change any day, and it’s something neither takes for granted.
Goucher is also now a member of the Atlantic branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, and was among those participating in the Kidney Walk Sept. 9 in New Minas at Lockhart Ryan Memorial Park.
She says awareness is on the rise in the Annapolis Valley as work begins to build the Valley Regional Hospital’s new dialysis unit, but that more could still be done.
“It’s something I want to discuss at meetings – being an old nurse, living in community, and having been through dialysis – I can see there is not enough awareness,” she says.
Atlantic branch development coordinator Keri MacIvor was also on hand at the event, speaking about how the foundation receives zero government funding for its support efforts, and thus relies heavily on fundraising efforts.
While much of the money raised is targeted towards education and research, the majority goes toward helping patients with things like short term emergency funding for things like fuel, accommodation and food.
“We provide funds for gas to and from health appointments, for medical workup for their transplant, for groceries for a healthy renal diet – many things,” she says.
With six months on the board now under her belt, Goucher says she’s settling into her position but still has much to learn.
She says she wonders why kidney disease seems to be low on the public’s awareness radar, and wonders what she, a retired nurse, can help do about it.
“On TV, every night, you hear about walks for breast cancer, for heart disease – but you never hear about kidney disease,” she said.
MacIvor agrees, and says the foundation also relies heavily on word of mouth at its walk events to help spread awareness.
This year’s walk saw more people than ever participate – a sign MacIvor says awareness is building momentum.
“These events mean people hear about the disease, and learn a little bit more about it. We’re relying on them to help support the foundation,” she says.