Winnipeg Kidney Walk fundraiser returns to in-person event

Winnipeggers gathered at Kings Park on Sunday to support the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Kidney Walk, in support of their financial assistance program — which has seen a significant increase in demand this year.

“Kidney disease is such an expensive disease … that when the cost of groceries go up, your special diet costs also go up,” Ashley Tobin, the foundation’s community engagement manager explains.

According to the foundation, approximately 131,000 Manitobans live with chronic kidney disease, and 382 are waiting on a transplant.

In an email to CBC News, organizers of the Kidney Walk said that there has been an 82 per cent increase in applications for financial assistance since the beginning of 2022. 

The program offers relief to patients so they can purchase medications, transportation to and from appointments, and groceries.

Once you start dialysis, patients can see anywhere between $2,000 to $2,500 out of pocket expenses,” Tobin said.

Funds raised at the Winnipeg walk will be invested into the financial assistance program.

Donovan DeBattista spoke at the event, and shared his journey with kidney disease.

After being diagnosed with end stage renal failure in 2014, DeBattista spent a few years on dialysis before receiving his first kidney transplant in 2017.

His first transplant failed, but he got lucky and was able to receive a second transplant shortly after.

The surgery was successful, but the organ has only been functioning at 20 per cent—so he’s back on the transplant list.

As of 2022, DeBattista back on the transplant list.

“I’ll be waiting awhile, but I don’t lose hope for another transplant. That’s why the Kidney Walk is so important to me, because not only do the funds go to research and support for people like me, but I get to see so many different people come out,” DeBattista told the crowd.

The Manitoba chapter of the kidney foundation hosted a walk in Brandon on Sept. 18, and will host one in Mordern on Oct. 2. To date, the chapter has raised over $76,000 in 2022.

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