Walk With Us Virtually, Anywhere – Anyhow!

Walk With Us Virtually, Anywhere – Anyhow! Windsor Kidney Walk

By Erika Muscat – Fund Development Officer, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Windsor & District Chapter

Not having the freedom to travel when they want and where they want is the hardest part about being a dialysis patient for Shawn Byrne and his fiancée Jessica Bondy.

Shawn had known for six years that his kidneys would eventually fail when he ended up in the hospital with severe hypertension and was extremely sick in 2014.

For three more years he would continue to be followed by a nephrologist (kidney specialist). But it wasn’t until 2017 when he got really sick again, that Jessica brought him to the hospital and they were shocked to find out that in addition to severe pneumonia, his kidneys were not functioning at all. Shawn stayed in the hospital for two weeks that time, and he has been on dialysis since. Shawn is on hemodialysis, which means that he must be connected to a machine that cleans his blood, three times a week for 4 hours each time. Dialysis is a life-sustaining treatment, so it is not something you can skip!

As a result of their experiences, Shawn and Jessica have a newfound respect for people who have any kind of chronic illness. At the age of 44, with their blended family of four, Shawn may seem fine on the surface, but life certainly is a different kind of normal for their family. It is difficult for their children to watch their dad go through this. But as Jessica says, “Don’t give up, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.” A year ago, on the day his mother passed away, Shawn was notified that he was on the transplant list.

This will be the third year that Shawn, Jessica and their children will be participating in the Kidney Walk. They are very excited to bring it to their hometown of Amherstburg and to educate people about the disease. “The Walk has become a family tradition for us,” says Jessica.

Why not join Shawn and Jessica and show the hundreds of kidney patients in Windsor-Essex that you have their back! Walk anywhere, anytime on Sunday, September 27 or during the month of September.

Heck, you can skip, hop, jog or bike if you want to! The choice is yours on when, where and how to do it, but the reasons for doing it are still the same.

Simply visit www.kidneywalk.ca and register under your community ‘Windsor-Essex’. You can also donate directly online. For more information, call The Kidney Foundation office at 519-977-9211.

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