The Kidney Foundation “Six Degree Challenge”
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
WARNING: You may be seeing and hearing a great deal of me everywhere in the next few weeks!
I was recently invited to be the “Six Degree Challenger” to represent Windsor and Essex County in The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s “Six Degree Challenge”.
It kicks off the globally designated “Kidney Health Month” on Monday, March 1 and culminates on March 11, 2021 (“World Kidney Day”) with a 24 hour giving day. (Donations can be made online throughout the campaign).
As a “Six Degree Challenger” I will be getting the message out to the community about kidney disease and how the community can help in fighting this disease. I will be the point of contact for local print and electronic media, as well as posting on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The “Six Degree Challenge” has been a digital fundraising/social campaign since its inception in 2019.
This campaign encourages Ontarians to share their connection with kidney disease to help bring this often-silent disease out of the shadows, and challenge others to do the same to spread the word online while fundraising to support programs and kidney research.
Over the past two years, the #SixDegreeChallenge has raised more than $57,000 to support The Kidney Foundation’s programs.
Vital community support ensures that individuals living with kidney disease have access to the programs and services they need when they need it most. Last year’s campaign challenged everyone to show their support for the high burden of kidney disease worldwide.
This year’s “Six Degree Challenge” theme is “Living Well with Kidney Disease”. It encourages Ontarians to share their connection or personal journey with kidney disease.
Challengers will highlight and share their connection with kidney disease on social media platforms and in the media.
We can help patients, and those who care for them, feel empowered and supported in their journey and ensure they have the resources and programs to help them live well with kidney disease.
With public support, together we can provide hope for the future: hope for better treatments and ultimately a cure.
How does the “Challenge” work?
We are all connected in some way to kidney disease. Whether you have a personal story to share or not, everyone can participate by . . .
- Posting a photo of yourself holding up six fingers on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook with the hashtag #SixDegreeChallenge
- Nominating six friends to do the same by tagging them in the photo caption3 and donating online.
As your local “Challenger”, I have not experienced kidney disease myself. However, I have had friends and acquaintances with kidney disease — some able to treat and maintain the disease through diet and medications, others needing dialysis, and some who are kidney transplant recipients.
The person who taught me so much about kidney disease is Cristina Howorun.
You may remember her as CTV Windsor’s political affairs specialist reporter from 2009 through 2012 before she moved up the highway to CTV London. Since 2015, she has been back in her hometown of Toronto working with CityNews. Currently, she is seconded to its documentary unit.
Howorun tells us: “In March of 2018, I was diagnosed with end-stage Alport’s Syndrome with a kidney function between 6 and 8 percent. Most females with this condition are carriers of kidney disease, but some (like me), express the actual disease.”
Facing a scary diagnosis, Howorun courageously and selflessly decided to share her journey from diagnosis — to dialysis — to kidney transplant recipient with a series of documentary features on CityNews.
I encourage everyone to learn more about her story.
Finally, a few important facts regarding kidney health and kidney disease . . .
- 1 in 10 Canadians — nearly four million — have kidney disease and the numbers are on the rise.
- Kidney disease is often called an invisible or silent disease. A person can lose 50% of their kidney function and have no symptoms.
- 45% of new kidney disease patients are under 65.
- Kidneys are vital organs that are responsible for keeping your body going.
- There is no cure for kidney disease. End-stage kidney disease is treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- 77% of Canadians on the organ transplant waiting list are waiting for a kidney.
- The two leading causes of kidney disease are diabetes and hypertension.
Learn more about kidney health and organ donation online.
In closing, I hope all our Biz X readers will spend time learning more about kidney disease by participating in the 2021“Six Degree Challenge”!