Calgarians ‘make a huge difference’ for people suffering kidney disease

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Calgarians ‘make a huge difference’ for people living with kidney disease
WATCH: We’re heading into a big weekend for Calgary families struggling with kidney disease. As Gil Tucker reports, people are joining together to show their support and save lives. – Sep 9, 2021

This upcoming weekend is an important time for Canadian families struggling with kidney disease.

It’s a time when people across the country join together to show their support and save lives by taking part in the annual Kidney March fundraising event.

Proceeds from the event go to the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

“Our family is going in the Kidney March to help spread awareness and gratitude,” Lorelei Weisensel said.

The Calgary woman had suffered serious kidney-related health problems for 10 years.

“My kidney function went down to about four per cent and I started dialysis,” Weisensel said.

Relief came in January 2020, after a kidney from a deceased donor became available and Weisensel got the transplant she had been waiting for.

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“It was a huge day — absolute joy and elation and thankfulness,” Weisensel said.

She is thankful for people like Kelly Wise, who is also taking part in the 2021 Kidney March.

READ MORE: ‘Inspirational’ Calgary kindergarteners support classmate with kidney disease 

Six years ago, Wise donated a kidney anonymously to a Calgary woman.

“Thirty years ago, my dad donated a kidney to his brother and he lived a lot longer than he ever would have, and he didn’t have to be on dialysis,” Wise said. “And knowing that I could improve a life by just this one thing, it just made me want to do it.”

Marchers are wrapping up their 100 km walks individually or in small groups to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants are raising money to support kidney patients and for research into kidney disease.

“Research is the path to the new treatments, better treatments, better quality of life and hopefully a cure,” the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Joyce Van Deurzen said.

“People are coming together to make real change, make a huge difference on a huge scale in other people’s lives. And that’s pretty exciting — especially during this year of the pandemic — that people still say yes to helping others.”

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Several members of Weisensel’s family are taking part in the Kidney March, to show their support for her and other kidney patients.

“It’s really hard seeing someone you love so much go through a chronic illness, but the Kidney March gives so many people hope,” Rachel Weisensel said. “When (my mother) got the transplant, it was such a miracle.”

Lorelei Weisensel said she will remain grateful to her anonymous donor for the rest of her life.

“It really puts into perspective how good people really are, to give the gift of life.”



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