Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Walk This Way

In about 34 hours I will be on my way to the starting line for the 2011 Kidney March. The march will raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Why? Well to start, two million Canadians have chronic kidney disease or are at risk of it (and don't even know it). For a lot of people (this can mean you too)they won't know they have it until it's too late. See the thing with kidneys is that once they are damaged, they are damaged and while they are awesome, mighty filters, they suck at self repair (in fact they can't do it at all). According to the Kidney Foundation, in southern Alberta alone, the number of people living with chronic kidney failure has doubled in the last ten years. 70% of people who are on the organ donor waiting list are waiting for a kidney. Every year, thousands of Canadians die because their kidneys fail them.

Not only does kidney disease cost enormous amounts of money for our health care system, it devastates individuals and their families. More than half of the people living with kidney disease in southern Alberta live on or below the poverty line. Entire families are impacted when one member has kidney disease, and it can be a lifelong illness. It impacts a person's ability to work, to spend time with their families, to go on simple vacations healthy people take for granted.

I donated my left kidney three months ago today (wow time flies!!). So because of that I am also marching in honour of Leftie (my departed kidney) and for the thousands of people like Leftie's new owner who have been impacted by kidney disease. As strange as it sounds (being one kidney down and all) I actually have yet to meet anyone personally affected by kidney disease. I'm looking forward to hearing some wonderful stories of resiliency and strength on this walk. There are also some other people I've gotten to know online that I am looking forward to meeting in public.

The walk itself will be tough but I know I can do it. At least the weather is looking promising-high 20's and no rain in the forecast. We'll be walking through the beautiful foothills of southern Alberta. It looks like a really well planned event and I'm actually getting excited about it. Here is what the route looks like:

There are cheering stations if you want to come out at any point over the weekend. They are as folllows:

Saturday September 10, Morning
Allen Bill Picnic Area, across from Ranger Creek Road (along hwy 66)

Saturday September 10, Afternoon
Bragg Creek Strip Mall, right beside main 4-way stop

Sunday September 11, morning
Springbank Parks for all Seasons/Springbank Community High School (Range Road 33 and Springbank Road)

And finally, they have a closing ceremony at Canada Olympic Park. Family, friends, coworkers and anyone else can come and cheer on the marchers (or heckle). Spectators are advised to be at COP by 2:15 PM Sunday. Come one, come all.

Thanks again to everyone who sponsored me, told me I was crazy, gave me words of encouragement and/or promised me they'd come along next year.  I'll be updating Facebook and Twitter (@laurenherschel) along the way when I can (I even brought a special battery powered iPhone and Blackberry charger as we all know I'd go twitchy without them after about 24 hours). Wish me luck!

The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk. ~Mark Twain

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