Lunch for kidney awareness

“You’re asleep at night, you wake up, you’re not well…you can’t think straight, the bell is going off, it’s pitch black… and the first thing you experience is panic,” says Jenny Taylor, describing a late night with a dialysis machine, alarms blaring.

She explains it’s important for the Kidney Foundation of Canada to create easy-to-follow guides for the use of the machines.

She says dialysis machines come with thick, technical operation manuals. The dialysis is done at night, so the person can continue to have “a normal life” during the day. When something goes wrong with the machine, bells go off.

But the Kidney Foundation’s booklets make it easier to address problems, she says.

“It’s more than just a booklet you can understand, it’s a booklet you can understand when you’re panicking,” says Taylor. The Kidney Foundation of Canada, also creates educational materials and provides much needed support for those affected by kidney disease.

That’s one reason Taylor is pleased to help the Kidney Foundation of Canada, through an organization called Jenny’s Warriors.

The group is raising funds for the foundation by hosting a luncheon on Feb. 10 from noon to 4 p.m. at Holiday Gardens, at 3315 Balsam Rd. and Sideline 4 in Pickering. Tickets are $20 for adults, and $10 for children 12 and under.

Taylor worked as a nurse before having her five children.

“Even as a nurse it (kidney disease) wasn’t really most in your mind,” Taylor says. “If you watch the TV they’re always saying ‘heart, stroke, cancer.’ People just aren’t aware, alright, how much its (kidney disease) around.”

To help raise awareness, speakers and a panel discussion will be held at the luncheon for those living with or supporting someone who has the disease. The hope is the stories of real people will help shed light on kidney disease and its effects.

“The event is important because it brings together both the kidney disease community and those not suffering from kidney disease,” says Hannah Stojanovski, Taylor’s youngest daughter, in an email. “That way those not suffering can learn about all of the trials and tribulations someone battling kidney disease goes through, and how they can help out.”

“Last year,” Stojanovski says, “a new family joined our event. They are suffering from kidney disease, and getting to share their story and chat with other patients brightened up their day.”

“The first event took place January 2013,” Stojanovski adds.

Jenny’s Warriors began when Taylor was diagnosed with kidney failure in May, 2012. Her family decided to help raise funds for the Kidney Foundation because they help beyond meeting people’s medical needs, for example providing emotional assistance, and they wanted to help others who had the disease.

“The kids decided to call it Jenny’s Warriors because we (people with kidney disease) were all warriors and I was Jenny,” Taylor laughed.  “Though it’s my name, it’s not me. It’s the whole group who get together for making life better for people with kidney disease.”