Battling kidney disease

Thursday walk raises awareness

As Doug Hobbs lays sleeping in his bed at night, the dialysis machine working beside him represents life.

The Langford resident is one of more than 2,700 people in B.C. on dialysis – including about 160 in Greater Victoria – a process which cleans the blood that failing kidneys can’t do.

He doesn’t want others to become a statistic too.

“There are a lot of people who have kidney disease and don’t know it,” said Hobbs, 66, who has had type one diabetes since the age of 13. That led to his fight with chronic kidney disease.

His message is timely – March is kidney health month. To mark the occasion an annual awareness walk is taking place at Royal Jubilee Hospital on World Kidney Day this Thursday (March 10).

“It’s a nasty disease,” said Hobbs.

A kidney transplant in 2000 failed in 2009, and since then Hobbs relies on his bedside dialysis unit to clean his blood system for eight hours. By day he volunteers with the Kidney Foundation of Canada, and has helped raise about $60,000 over the past 11 years for people travelling to Vancouver for kidney transplants.

“He’s a very strong person,” said Diana Dobson, B.C. branch foundation director, whose own son received a life-saving kidney transplant.

Today, the transplant wait in Canada is 10 years. More than 200 people in B.C. are on that list.

“We don’t want all this lineup for people,” Dobson said, but the fact remains that “no one is exempt from the possibility of losing their kidney.”

The World Kidney Day Walk happens Thursday. Participants are asked to meet at the second-floor renal unit at 10:20 a.m. at Royal Jubilee Hospital, 1952 Bay St. To register for the free event, please call Diana Dobson at 250-721-3405.