Friday, May 18, 2012

Kidney Stories of Hope

I was on the fence about this topic and whether or not I should do a post about it. Mostly because I felt like I was tooting my own horn and like so many Canadians I was raised to beleive that's not something we should do.

A brief story I wrote for the Kidney Foundation of Canada, was selected as a winning entry in their national "Kidney Stories of Hope" campaign. I was the Prairies winner. I remember reading last year's entries a couple of months before I donated, when everything with my testing was so uncertain and up in the air. They were inspiring and really helped me get a glimpse of what living with kidney disease is like.

 I've said it before and I will say it again....people and their families that live with dialysis, renal diets, fatigue etc. that are a part of end stage renal disease are amazing, resilient people. I've come to know a lot of people on dialysis and I am humbled by their strength and positivity every day. So often donors are called heroes but in my mind, those fighting kidney disease are much more deserving of the title.

A few months ago I decided I would submit my story to the campaign, hoping it would encourage people to consider living donation. I really want people to understand that donating isn't scary and it is so much easier than people would think. I thought maybe a friend of family memembr of someone on dialysis who might be looking at the stories, might see mine and it might help them make the decision to step up and be tested as a potential donor. Never in a million years did I think my story would be selected as a winner.

I was away at a conference/mini Ontario vacation when I received an email from my local chapter of the Kidney Foundation, letting me know I had been selected. The stories were judged by a committee of volunteers and kidney foundation staff using the following criteria:

Novelty: Is there something unique or different about your story? Have you found a new way to cope with kidney disease?
Impact: Will your story help or change how other people with kidney problems work or live?
Human interest: Does your story inspire or motivate people in some way? Did someone inspire you—if so, how?

It was really an honour to be selected. It was also a reminder to me that as much as I sometimes still feel uncomfortable talking about what I did (almost a year ago!!), it has the potential to make a difference in peoples' lives by continuing to share my story. I'd be really proud if one day if I influenced someone to consider being a living donor.

Thank you so much to the "Kidney Community" for letting me be a part of your world and for acknowledging me in this way. It really means a lot.