Two years ago, Todd Reid was told his best friend was suffering from kidney failure. It was a shocking revelation that set into motion a series of events that would eventually end up with Reid on the operating table having one of his own kidneys removed in a bid to save his friend's life. Following a successful surgery, Reid was able to see the power of organ donation first-hand and has since been an advocate for organ donations.
Now, two years later, Reid is working with the Kidney
Foundation of Canada as co-ordinator of the Fraser Valley Kidney Walk, set to take place Sunday, Aug. 12 at Bear Creek Park.
Reid has done everything he can to spread word of the event, and is hoping others will use his story as inspiration to not only become more aware about kidney disease, but to also sign up as organ donors themselves.
"In B.C., 85 per cent of residents believe in organ donation but only 18 per cent are currently signed up, so there's a dramatic gap in the numbers," he explained. "There are also approximately 250,000 B.C. residents walking around who don't even know they have kidney disease right now, or the potential of it."
According to Reid, there is already a shortage of organ donors nationwide.
"Currently there are approximately 3,000 people waiting in B.C. on a transplant list, and in most cases those people are waiting on a kidney," he said. "It's the number-one most needed organ on the transplant list."
That's where the Kidney Walk comes in.
"It's something that needs to be out there so people can know what the warning signs of kidney disease are, (and) to really bring that awareness of how important it is to become a donor," Reid said.
Event organizers are hoping to reach out to the South Asian community, in particular.
"What's really important about this is that, especially in the Fraser Valley area, there's a large portion of South Asian people, and South Asians have a much higher risk of kidney disease and failure," Reid explained. "Bear Creek is a very multicultural park and there's a large number of South Asians who use the park, so we're hoping to get the word out there."
It's free to register for the event, and all are welcome to participate. Sunday's walk starts at 10 a.m. For more details, visit www. fraservalleykidneywalk.ca.
Those interested in becoming an organ donor can go to transplant.bc.ca.