It’s time to pay attention to your kidneys

There are 1,253 people suffering from kidney disease in the Kamloops area

Third-year TRU nursing students Talia Ollek and Brie Fehr helped to organize a free health fair in recognition of World Kidney Day on March 10 at Northills Centre

Third-year TRU nursing students Talia Ollek and Brie Fehr helped to organize a free health fair in recognition of World Kidney Day on March 10 at Northills Centre

By Jessica Klymchuk

Kamloops This Week

Thompson Rivers University nursing students are reaching out to the local school district to help spread this year’s World Kidney Day message  — act early to prevent disease.

“Kids think they’re invincible,” said third-year nursing student Taryn Christian.

On March 10, Christian and three other students, in partnership with the Kidney Foundation of Canada, organized a free health and wellness fair at Northills Centre in recognition of  World Kidney Day.

Linda Bonner-Brown has been with the foundation for 20 years and has helped organize this event for the last nine years. Three years ago, the TRU School of Nursing came on board and, with it, brought fresh-faced students with a roster of new ideas for raising awareness, she said.

“I think people think kidney disease and only think it affects an older population, but there are a lot of young people who are suffering from it, kids who are suffering from it,” student Talia Ollek said.

“None of us necessarily want to work in a dialysis unit, but no matter where we are, we’re going to see people who have problems with their kidneys. I think it’s kind of opened our eyes to what that looks like and what they’re dealing with.”

There are 1,253 people suffering from kidney disease in the Kamloops area. Last year, 271 British Columbians underwent kidney transplants, according to BC Transplant.

By leading a healthy lifestyle and addressing smoking, alcohol consumption and unhealthy body weight, Christian said people can reduce the risk factor for not only kidney disease, but heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

“Everything goes along with kidneys,” she said.

Patients from the community dialysis unit spoke about their experiences at the fair.  Nursing students were on hand to check blood pressure and blood sugars. Pharmacists were also available for cholesterol checks.

Several community groups joined them, including the Canadian Diabetes Association, Canadian Celiac Association, BC Transplant, Canadian Blood Services, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Kamloops Brain Injury Association and the Kamloops Hearing Aid Centre.

The Big Little Science Centre and School District 73 are also planning programs directed at youth.