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By Christine Rumleskie


A provincial organization wants to raise awareness about a ‘secret’ disease.

The BC Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada recently got Fort St. John City Council to proclaim March as Kidney Health Month.

While there’s no kidney chapter currently in the city, Communications Manager Pauline Buck says she anticipates one will open within the year.

She says when it does, it will expand opportunities to promote kidney health. And she says that’s important, noting that Kidney disease can be called a ‘secret disease’ because many symptoms don’t show up until the kidneys are pretty much destroyed.

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Fort St. John boasts the Northeast’s only Regional Hemodialysis Community Clinic. Around 15 patients routinely use the kidney dialysis clinic, three times a week.

Executive Director for the Hospital Foundation, Ashley Bentley, says the clinic is used by people from as far away as Fort Nelson.

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She says the B.C. Kidney Branch has donated $7,000 towards the Fort St. John dialysis clinic since 2006. The money goes towards things like patient-comfort items.

Registered Nurse Diana Sloan sees firsthand how the donations help patients. She works in the clinic and says it’s hard to see so many people suffering, because Kidney Disease is preventable.

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She advises everyone who is at risk for the disease to get tested before it’s too late. Those at the highest risk are those with diabetes.

Pauline Buck says canvassers will be going door-to-door during March, to collect money for the B.C. Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

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