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Renal Team promote kidney health with Relay for Life

10 March 2014

Renal Team promote kidney health with Relay for Life

Members of the Northland DHB Renal team will be practising what they preach at this month’s Relay For Life.

Fifteen of the Northland DHB Renal team registered for Relay For Life in February and have already raised over $1000. They sought permission from the Cancer Society and event organisers to draw awareness to World Kidney Week, which coincides with the event on March 15 and 16.

Renal dialysis unit clinical nurse manager, Lisa Harvey-Jack, says that the renal team aim to see families of dialysis and renal patients leading active lifestyles and making good nutritional choices to avoid needing dialysis.

“Even with a family history of diabetes, hypertension or other kidney conditions – getting regular health checks, managing your health from an early stage and choosing a healthy lifestyle can make a positive change for the future.”

One of the changes the team would like to promote is “ditching the fizzy” and drinking water as the best alternative, as well as becoming more active. To demonstrate this, the renal team will be participating in the Relay for Life whilst promoting kidney ‘warrants of fitness’.
They aim to promote the kidney health message by providing information, as well as free blood pressure checks during the Relay For Life event at the Otaika Sports Ground, south of Whangarei.

The main risk factors for kidney disease are if you:
• Have high blood pressure
• Have diabetes
• Smoke
• Have a family history of kidney disease
• Are over 60
• Are of Maori, Pacific or South Asian heritage.

The team will have information about kidney health and how to maintain it as kidney damage can be slowed down or stopped if discovered early. They will also have kidney kids’ books – fun colouring and activity books about kidney health for our future generations.

In Northland there are over 200 people monitored by pre-dialysis nurses who help manage the health of this group of people with the aim of keeping them well and off dialysis for as long as possible. The transplant nurse specialist cares for and monitors 71 people with kidney transplants. There are a total of 165 people on dialysis in Northland, of whom 76 dialyse are at home either on haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Thirteen people attend the Kaitaia Haemodialysis Satellite Unit, 25 attend the Kawakawa Haemodialysis Satellite Unit and the remainder dialyse at Whangarei. Of the Northland group, 62 per cent are diabetic and 62.5 per cent of those on dialysis are Maori.

Relay For Life is an inspiring community event that gives everyone a chance to celebrate cancer survivors and caregivers; remember loved ones lost to cancer; and fight back by raising awareness and funds to support the work of the Cancer Society. It begins with a moving opening ceremony, with cancer survivors and caregivers leading the first lap of the event. Next, team members take to the track. Most walk, while some prefer to jog or run. When they're not on the track, teams enjoy a festive, family-friendly environment with heaps of activities and entertainment. Later in the evening, a candlelight ceremony is held to remember love ones affected by cancer. Personally-inscribed candle bags are placed around the track, and their light emits a warm glow throughout the venue. Team members continue to walk or jog through the night. In the morning, teams come together for an inspiring closing ceremony.

ENDS

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