“A silent killer” – Greenfields family raise funds during Big Red Kidney Walk

A Greenfields woman and her family took part in a community walk recently to highlight the risk of kidney disease, which kills 53 people a day in Australia.

Cally Ellis and a number of her family members have been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease – a condition that sees cysts grow on the organ and eventually stop it from functioning.

Ms Ellis said the annual Big Red Kidney Walk, which is in its seventh year and took place at Perry Lakes Reserve on September 2, was important in raising funds for research.

“I got involved because I have a new kidney that I received 18 months ago,” she said. 

“My family has polycystic kidney disease – four children and six grandchildren – we get involved to raise awareness of the condition.

“Like all kidney diseases there are no symptoms – you don’t really know until it is probably half way too late. 

“It is a horrible thing and unfortunately my family is riddled with it.”

Kidney Health Australia clinical director Dr Shilpa Jesudason said the message was as critical as ever.

“The growth of the Big Red Kidney Walk is a result of the devastating effect undiagnosed kidney disease can have on individuals and their families,” she said.

“Every day, 53 people in Australia die with kidney-related disease. It is a highly undiagnosed condition - most are tragically unaware they are affected until it’s too late, in fact 90 per cent of kidney function can be lost without experiencing any symptoms – it is a silent killer.”

Ms Ellis said organ donation had saved her life and was something people should consider.

“I am very grateful to the family that allowed the donation of their loved one’s organ,” she said.

”Organ donation is just an amazing thing – if you are not registered please make an effort to do so.

“So many people pass away and lots of organs go to waste. If you are an organ donor you are going to help at least eight people by donating.”

For more information on Kidney Health Australia, which is in its 50th year, visit www.kidney.org.au.