The UNC Kidney Center’s “Carolina Kidney Team” ranked first in North Carolina for fundraising, and second in the nation, after virtually completing the National Kidney Foundation’s Annual Kidney Walk on November 15. The team walked for current patients, former patients, their caretakers, and others impacted by kidney disease, calling attention to the prevention of kidney disease and the need for organ donation. Although COVID-19 prevented teams from gathering in person, their reasons were no less inspiring.
Sahana Derebail, daughter of Vimal Derebail, MD, walked for her grandmother who had kidney failure and was on dialysis, and ranked #4 in the nation for donations. “I only got to see her once when I was very young, before she passed away,” Sahana explained on her fundraising page. “I walk because 1 in 3 people are at risk for kidney disease. I walk because 1 in 7 people have it but aren’t aware.”
Sahana’s story inspired Trina Pugh the administrator of the UNC Kidney Center to honor a friend with polycystic kidney disease. Although she registered less than 48 hours before the event, Trina was overwhelmed by the support she received. She ranks 58th in the nation.
“I walked in honor of Tim Hatchel, the father of a very special family friend, Ashley Hatchel Harris. The Hatchel and Harris families have blessed my life beyond measure and when my daughter Peyton suffered a traumatic brain injury, Ashley came to my rescue and helped me in ways that no one else could. I thank God for sending this angel to me so I was so glad when He put her dad on my heart to pay the love forward. Tim’s journey with kidney disease has been long but inspiring.”
Emily Chang, MD, who serves on the board of the NC chapter of the NFK, and Jill Powell, MPH, program coordinator for UNC Kidney Education Outreach, led the kidney team and championed participation.
‘LaceUp’ is the National Kidney Foundation’s new way to walk and new way to join a movement of hope and health for kidney disease. A list of the top fundraisers can be found here.
The National Kidney Foundation describes kidney disease as an under-recognized public health crisis, and the American Society of Nephrology recognizes it as a hidden epidemic. Kidney disease affects more than 850 million people worldwide–double the number of diabetics (422 million) and more than 20 times the number of people with cancer (42 million) or HIV/Aids (36.7 million). Unfortunately, many patients with kidney disease are not aware of their risk, most often because there are no early symptoms. Fighting an epidemic requires advocacy and action.