Robin Work says he’s no hero, but he’s walking in honour of the many who are – those are the men, women, and children who endure the hardships of kidney disease.
Work will be walking 100 kilometres over three days to raise awareness and support for those heroes by joining the 13th annual Kidney March near Calgary.
“My mother in law had kidney disease, and she passed away in 2017. My aunt Faye is a living recipient of a kidney. So, she’s also going to be needing a new one — they don’t last a lifetime when you get a transplant,” Work said.
“It’s really those two family connections that have inspired me to do this… Kidney disease affects one in 10 Canadians. If we work together and raise awareness and raise funds we will get that much closer to a cure.”
Kidney March is an Alberta-based nonprofit working to support kidney disease prevention, lifesaving research, patient programs, and organ donation drives.
Having seen the impact of kidney disease on the lives of his loved ones, Work said a kidney disease diagnosis is life changing.
“It affects essentially every aspect of your life in terms of what you can eat, what you can drink and the type of activities that you can do. For those who require dialysis you are basically tied to a machine for survival,” Work said.
He said the act of donating a kidney to someone in need is a big commitment.
“I’ve met a number of people in town who are not only recipients of donor kidneys, but who are also living donors. It’s an incredible act of kindness to do such a thing,” Work said.
“They have my gratitude and the gratitude of people all over who are suffering from kidney disease. Hopefully the day will come where we don’t have to make those types of sacrifices anymore.”
It’s Work’s second year doing the walk and he will need to train for months to undertake this physical challenge for a weekend in September. But he can’t do it alone. He’s looking for sponsors to help meet his $2,200 fundraising goal.
“I’m grateful not only for the support I received last year for the march but also to everyone who has so far come forward this year… There have been businesses and citizens alike who have made generous contributions already to my campaign this year.”
Work called kidney disease “a silent killer” that can strike anyone at any age.
“Most people don’t know they have it until their kidneys are near failure.”