One of the participants revving up for the B.C. Kidney Walk in Williams Lake is eight-year-old Nash Overton.
Backed by Team Nash, made up of family and friends from Heartland Toyota, Nash will take part in the walk on Sunday, Sept. 27 to help raise money to fight the disease that has been part of his life from age two.
“Our journey with kidney disease started when Nash was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome at two years old — we have been on an emotional roller coaster ride since then, to say the least,” said his mom, Fallon Overton.
“Nephrotic Syndrome is a condition where your kidneys for some reason start filtering out large amounts of protein. Without enough protein (albumin) in your blood, your body can’t regulate fluids and you start to swell. We were told there is no cause, no cure and no proven treatment options — we were devastated.”
She explained that the first plan of attack for Nash’s disease was a high dose steroid treatment (Prednisone) for three months, adding that Nash would relapse very quickly.
Nash was hospitalized three times during that first year: something that was very difficult for the family to watch.
“We were on a huge learning curve and we researched everything we could: we found that it was a real trial and error approach to treating this disease,” his mother continued.
“There is no reason why some kids responded to treatments while others did not. There was no clear answer and that was very frustrating for our family.”
After that first year, Nash underwent a kidney biopsy and was diagnosed with steroid-dependant, frequently-relapsing, minimal change Nephrotic Syndrome. Relieved to learn that there was no scarring on Nash’s little kidneys, his parents were given hope that he may one day grow out of this disease.
Changes in medications, ups and downs, remissions and relapses: it’s definitely been a roller coaster, Fallon said.
Doctors are still trying to find something that works for him.
“Kidney disease doesn’t just happen to people who don’t look after themselves. For Nash, there is no reason,” Fallon said.
“He gets it if he gets tired or run down or catches a cold, those are triggers. He knows he has to check his protein levels. We just started a diary-free, wheat-free diet trying to figure out what works for him. He’s been really good with it.
“When he feels good and the disease is on standby for a bit, he plays hockey, goes motor biking, water skiing, tubing, winter skiing — he loves sports.”
Team Nash did the Kidney Walk with Nash two years ago. In addition to rallying to walk with him again on Sunday, Sept. 27, they’ve been supportive in helping raise money.
The team raised $2,200 on the first walk, held a barbecue at Heartland Toyota and has an ongoing bottle drive at Amanda Enterprises.
To date Team Nash has raised $4,560.35.
The B.C. Kidney Walk for kidney transplantation and organ donation is an opportunity for patients on dialysis, organ transplant recipients, their families, living donors, the medical community and the public to come together to raise awareness about the importance of kidney health and organ donation.
The community is invited to bring family and friends and make a tangible difference in the lives of the one in 10 Canadians living with kidney disease.
“I think that for people living with a disease, it’s nice to be out there doing the walk, getting support and knowing that they’re not alone. You meet people living with the disease, people who have donated kidneys and people who have received one,” Fallon said.
“With Nash it sometimes feels that we’re helpless — but this is something we can do. Come join the walk and help raise awareness, raise some money and sign up as a donor.”
Registration for the Kidney Walk in Boitanio Park is at 9 a.m. Sunday Sept. 27 and the 2.5 kilometre walk begins at 10 a.m.
For more information about the B.C. Kidney Walk in Williams Lake, visit www.kidney.ca/kidneywalks.