Facing Kidney Disease Together: The Importance of Community and Connection


Top Image: Larry and Francine © Courtesy of the Kidney Foundation

Larry thought he was in good health. Then, his whole life changed on a Friday night about eight years ago. His doctor had run some medical tests, and the results showed his kidney function was just over 10 per cent. The news came as a shock.

“I had no idea my kidneys were failing,” Larry recalled. “I didn’t have any major symptoms. I was running around doing things and then I get a phone call that turned everything around.”

Larry began hemodialysis sessions in hospital about a month later, and then switched to home peritoneal dialysis. The sudden transition from feeling healthy to being hooked up to machines was challenging.

“There was so much to adapt to in so little time,” his wife Francine remembered. “There was so much to learn, and we were feeling quite overwhelmed. It was a lot to take in.”

In 2017, when Larry’s doctors suggested a kidney transplant, Francine did not hesitate. Two weeks before Christmas, they learned they were a match. Larry was concerned at first, worried about his wife’s health, but the surgery was a success.

kidney disease, couple sitting on couch, kidney foundation, kidney function, kidney health
Larry and Francine © Courtesy of the Kidney Foundation

Now the couple, who have both recovered from surgery, are giving back. They are volunteers with The Kidney Foundation’s peer support program. “I love encouraging others, lifting them up and giving them hope. I want them to know they can do this with a supportive community around them,” Francine said.

For Larry, it is an opportunity to share his experiences and help others living through similar situations and challenges.

“Everyone is different. I listen very carefully to what others in the group are going through, and I share what is going on with me,” he said. “I believe we are all part of a community, and I want to reach out and help others. If I can help just one other person, then it is worthwhile.”

One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease, but many don’t know it because the signs and symptoms are often silent.

Kidneys are mighty organs that have an essential role to play in the body. Kidneys regulate water, help to balance the body’s minerals, remove waste products, and produce hormones, making them a critical part of your overall health.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness like kidney disease is life-changing and can happen with little or no warning. Although its signs and symptoms are often silent until people are in kidney failure, kidney disease can be delayed or prevented. The Kidney Foundation of Canada has a risk awareness quiz to help determine your level of risk.

Learn more at www.kidney.ca/risk.

The Kidney Foundation makes sure people with kidney disease are never alone.

As a reliable and trustworthy resource for people with kidney disease and their families, The Kidney Foundation provides high-quality, reliable information and programs like peer support to help people understand and navigate their journey with kidney disease.

The Kidney Foundation stands behind those affected by kidney disease, championing systemic changes, increasing public awareness of kidney health and organ donation, and alleviating the burden of kidney disease.

Make Your Mark this Kidney Health Month. Share your connection to kidney disease to help raise awareness. Your gift today will help support vital programs and services. Visit www.kidneyontario.ca

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The Foundation’s national research program has grown to become one of the most important sources of funding for scientists conducting kidney-related research. We are also committed to providing education, information and support about kidneys and kidney disease.


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