Kidney donor Carolyn Bartsch and recipient Trudy Burdess

St. Paul’s transplant recipient running Yukon road race to raise funds and awareness of Polycystic Kidney Disease

September 4th, 2016

Painful form of kidney disease can enlarge kidneys from normal weight of ten ounces to ten pounds

Sunday, September 4, is Polycystic Kidney Disease Awareness Day. Raising awareness for any form of kidney disease helps everyone… it’s so prevalent—and so dangerous if left untreated.

It is estimated that as many as 3 million Canadians may have kidney disease of varying degrees, with many unaware of their condition due to the disease’s slow progression.

With polycystic kidney disease, however, patients are aware, very aware.

As the name implies, polycystic kidney disease involves the formation of cysts that affect kidney function. The disease is hereditary and tends to present between the ages of 30-50.

And while the progression of some forms of kidney disease can be slowed or stopped with early intervention and treatment, in the case of polycystic kidney disease, half of patients will experience kidney failure. For these patients, the only options are dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Polycystic kidney disease can be painful because the kidneys can become enlarged, which causes them to push against your body’s other internal organs, resulting in intense abdominal and back pain.

“Some days I would feel pressure on my lungs and it would be hard to breathe,” says Trudy Burdess, a polycystic kidney disease sufferer who was the recipient of a kidney transplant at St. Paul’s in 2015.

Trudy’s kidney function had dropped to just 15% at the time of her transplant. She had endured years of pain and discomfort. When her kidneys were removed, they were grossly enlarged and weighed ten pounds. On average, your kidneys weight ten ounces.

Trudy, who lives in the Yukon, came to St. Paul’s for treatment at the behest of her GP.

St. Paul’s has one of the country’s top renal departments, is a leader in transplant and dialysis, and is also home to the Kidney Care Clinic and its team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and social workers who specialize in the treatment of kidney disease through medical care, education, and counseling.

Established in 1999, the Kidney Care Clinic at St. Paul’s is the longest running program of its kind in Canada and currently cares for more than 1,200 patients at varying stages of kidney disease.

Support Trudy and help her spread the word!

In the true spirit of Polycystic Kidney Disease Awareness Day, next weekend, (September 9-10) kidney transplant recipient Trudy Burdess will be raising awareness (and funds to support kidney research and care at St. Paul’s) by running in the Klondike Road Relay in the Yukon.

A little more than a year since her transplant surgery, Trudy wants to inspire others: for those with kidney disease, she wants you to be strong; and for those who can help, she wants you to give to support research and care.

You can read about Trudy’s amazing journey (and full recovery); and you can make a gift to support Trudy and her team (which includes her kidney donor!) which would truly inspire them for their big race.