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Walking to support kidney disease patients

The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s B.C. Branch is gearing up for their annual Cranbrook Kidney Walk.
Four-year-old Logyn will be walking in the Kidney Walk. Logyn has been living with kidney disease since he was just two years old.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s B.C. Branch is gearing up for their annual Cranbrook Kidney Walk, and this year the walk’s youngest supporters are coming out to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary.

Four-year old Logyn has been suffering from kidney disease since he was just two years old, and this year he and his family will be walking in the Fraser Valley walk to raise funds and awareness for critical kidney disease programs and services.

“I’m so proud of my little guy,” Logyn’s mother Kirstin Hedberg said, holding back tears. “Logyn, for whatever reason, he’s just a shining light. He’s full of life.”

Logyn has become the face of the Kidney Foundations Kidney Walk, sharing his story across the province.

The brave “kidney warrior,” a nickname coined by his mother, was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)—a form of kidney disease that causes his kidneys to scar themselves—when he was just an infant.

Logyn’s family makes around four trips to the hospital each month, and last May one of Logyn’s kidneys was removed.

The toddler has a permanent intravenous therapy (IV) tube in his chest and is on feeding tubes everyday.

When asked how the disease affects her family life, Hedberg replied, “How hasn’t it affected us is the easiest way to put it.” She added, “Everything we do revolved around his illness because we have to be so aware of who and what’s going on with him.”

Despite this, Hedberg said Logyn doesn’t let his illness slow him down.

“You look at my son Logyn and he’s running, laughing, playing and you would never know.”

This year Hedberg and her son will be taking part in the annual walk, in the hopes of raising not only funds but also providing education and awareness about the seriousness of the disease and the need for organ donations.

The Cranbrook walk is one of 25 kidney events happening throughout the province.

“They provide us with a platform in communities all around the province. We are able to not just talk about kidney disease and kidney health, but also [talk about] the platform of organ donation registration, which is so integral to kidney patients in B.C.,” the Kidney Foundations manager of community initiatives, Barb Valentine said. “Many of these events start with that renal community connect, but of course the exposure that we need is out there to the public.”

Valentine said that over 90 per cent of British Columbians are in favor of organ donation, but fewer than 20 per cent of the province’s residents are registered donors.

“That is why organ donation is such a big cause for us,” she said adding that because of these low statistics, “some patients don’t make it.”

Patients, like Logyn need a kidney transplant in order to survive.

“My sons going to need somebody to step up,” Hedberg said. “It takes just one person.” She went on to say, “If I could match my son or someone else out there, I would do it in a heartbeat.”

Although dialysis can treat kidney disease, slowing down the progression of kidney failure, it is not a cure.

“There is no cure for kidney disease,” Valentine stressed. “You will need a transplant, that is the only cure.”

Currently kidney disease patients are on dialysis for an average of five-seven years, while waiting for an organ transplant, Valentine said.

For youngster Logyn, the waiting has only begun, with the family starting his transplant work-ups now.

In spite of this, Hedberg still has high hopes for her son.

“It’s a long path but it’s a beautiful path and my son makes it so worth it.”