Two special young women will have important reasons to walk when The Northeast Kidney Foundation of Greater Buffalo holds the 2015 Walk/Skate for Kidneys/Tim Oehmler Memorial 5K Run Sunday, June 21, at Delaware Park in Buffalo.
In October of 2011, 11-year old Aviya DiStefano found out she had kidney disease after a pediatrician, urologist and nephrologist discovered her creatinine was high and she had blood in her urine. Medical teams from Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo and Boston Children's Hospital concurred she should be on chemotherapy to treat the kidney disease. She was on chemo for six months and on steroids for one-and-a-half years.
Last July, her kidney disease excelled, because of continued kidney damage. In November, it was decided Aviya needed a transplant. After being tested, it was determined her aunt was a perfect match. The transplant occurred Jan. 26. Aviya missed three months of her freshman year at Orchard Park High School - and three years of her childhood.
Fortunately, she is now doing well and is an accomplished cellist and pianist. Her advice to others is, "Stay positive. Don't give up. Humor is everything. There is a light at the end of the tunnel."
Her younger brother Judah sums it up best: "I know she is a strong person and I know she can get through it."
Bryce Northrup is now a seventh grader at Frontier Middle School. At 2 weeks old, her kidneys shut down due to complications with her colon. Her kidneys never started functioning again and she was on dialysis until she was 21/2 years old. She was transplanted with a kidney from her Mom in July of 2004 at Pittsburgh Children's Hospital.
Bryce has a special message to share with everyone to explain why they should participate in the kidney walk: "The walk supports people who don't have a kidney who need one. It helps create awareness that his can happen to anyone at any age."
Bryce is now a normal 13-year-old participating in Girl Scouts and she is active in her church's youth group and bell choir.
Registration for the 2015 Walk/Skate for Kidneys/Tim Oehmler Memorial 5K Run begins at 7:30 a.m. for the run, which starts at 8:30 a.m. Registration for the walk/skate begins at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m.
A butterfly release will take place at the start of the walk/skate event at 10 a.m. to celebrate life and to commemorate the lives of people lost to kidney disease. The festivities will include activities for children, entertainment and raffles. Free admission to the Buffalo Zoo will be provided after the event.
All skaters who raise $50 or more will receive two tickets to a Lake Effect Flurries roller derby match. To register, volunteer and to receive more information, visit www.healthykidneys.org or call 716-512-7918. Sponsors include UNYTS and DaVita.
The event raises funds to bring free kidney screenings to the Buffalo community and enables The Northeast Kidney Foundation of Greater Buffalo to provide patient support, outreach, education and research.
The foundation's mission is to improve the lives of those affected by kidney disease and related conditions; to increase organ donation; and to empower those it serves to be effective voices for better health care at the local, state and federal levels.
For more information about the foundation, call 716-512-7918.