WATCH ABOVE: Tracy Nagai has more on the participants marching to raise awareness about the deadly disease.
CALGARY – Hundreds of weary travellers got a chance to rest their feet Sunday night, after quite the journey.
They’ve been marching for the last three days in the sunshine and in the rain, all to raise awareness about a deadly disease.
The ‘Kidney March 2015’ is an event put on by The Kidney Foundation of Canada where participants walk a long trek over 3 days.
Jodi Sapunjis lost her friend to kidney disease.
“We had a dear friend pass away this year because of kidney cancer, so we decided to march in her honour,” Sapunjis said.
It was a gruelling journey, covering 100 kilometres from Kananaskis Country to Calgary and the weather didn’t do participants any favours.
“Super hot, super hot and the longest day. How many did we do? We think almost 40 kilometers,” said Carol Mallabone, who lost her friend to kidney disease.
But for the nearly 300 Kidney March participants, it’s all worth it to get people talking about the chronic illness.
“Since I started Kidney March six years ago, I have learned more about kidney disease than I ever thought I’d know. So getting the message out there that so many people have kidney disease is a big deal,” said Rebecca Stoker, a participant.
There’s motivation all around, with friends, family members and those living with illness taking part.
“Knowing that folks that are on dialysis are walking is inspiration for even the weariest marcher to carry on,” said Diane Panton Kashuba from the Kidney Foundation.
One in ten Canadians has kidney disease. It’s a silent killer, most don’t realize they are even ill until its reached a critical point.
For some, the only answer is dialysis or a transplant.
“I was actually fortunate enough in December, my sister actually donated her kidney to me,” Trevor Ferguson said. “My kidney function went down to 4 percent and then I received my transplant.”
But there is hope that one day there is cure, with marchers in the walk willing to go the distance.
The kidney marched has raised more than four million dollars since it started in 2010.