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

Sep 8, 2016 | News

Kidney donor Carolyn Bartsch and recipient Trudy BurdessKidney donor Carolyn Bartsch and recipient Trudy Burdess

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.

Read the rest of Trudy’s story here

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