Kidney Walk set for May 6 in Salisbury

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/National Kidney Foundation Kim Butler donated a kidney to her husband Wallace nine years ago. The Cambridge residents are supporters of the National Kidney Foundation, and will participate in the Salisbury Kidney Walk on May 6.

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/National Kidney Foundation
Kim Butler donated a kidney to her husband Wallace nine years ago. The Cambridge residents are supporters of the National Kidney Foundation, and will participate in the Salisbury Kidney Walk on May 6.

SALISBURY – The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Serving Maryland and Delaware will hold its 11th annual Salisbury Kidney Walk on May 6, at WinterPlace Park.

The event will have the support of Cambridge couple Kim and Wallace Burton, who have a good reason to support the NKF – nine years ago, Mrs. Wallace donated one of her kidneys to her husband, who was suffering from focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and undergoing dialysis.

As he continued his treatment, Mrs. Wallace decided to look into the possibility that she could be a donor.

“We talked about a transplant and what the process would look like. I was very excited and said I want to be considered as a donor,” she said in a statement. “Wallace did not want me to be one. Silently I thought he is entitled to his opinion; however, I had another agenda.”

And maybe a bit of humor helped the devoted couple to endure the difficult situation. “Moreover, I asked myself why I was going to start to listen to what he had to say after all these years of marriage,” she remembered.

The Butlers will be among the more than 500 people expected to walk on May 6, to raise awareness of kidney disease, organ donation and the importance of early screening and healthy lifestyle for those at risk.

Personal reasons to help save lives
Other participants will have deeply personal motivations to support the walk. Participants will hit the streets at 10 a.m. following a ribbon cutting by Walk Ambassadors Meghan, Wes and Charlotte Rice of Princess Anne.

Charlotte was born with no kidneys and has been on dialysis since she was 1 week old. She is awaiting a kidney transplant.

“As the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States, kidney disease affects 9,300 Marylanders,” a statement from the NKF said. “With the increase in diabetes and high blood pressure, the numbers continue to climb.”

“Participating in Kidney Walk can help save lives,” Returning Event Chair Stephanie Elliott, MS, BSN, CNN said. Ms. Elliott is renal services program manager with Peninsula Regional Medical Center. “NKF reminds walkers that it only takes two simple tests at your primary care doctor’s office to check for any red flags. That’s important, because kidneys are essential to keeping us alive and healthy.”

Timely detection crucial to health
Timely detection was crucial to Mr. Butler’s treatment and recovery. Mrs. Butler, who is a nurse, recalled his diagnosis, saying, “One evening in late March 2007, Wallace removed his boots. He mentioned his feet were swollen. This occurred several times over a few weeks. I suggested that he make an appointment to see his primary physician and he acted on this in a timely manner.”

Blood was drawn and tested. When the results came back abnormal, Mr. Wallace went to see a nephrologist, or kidney specialist.
That appointment led to his hospitalization and further tests, which revealed his disease.

“Our family experienced angst, shock and an immediate sense of loss,” Mrs. Butler said. “We turned to the one thing that gave us solace, and that was prayer.”

Mr. Butler was followed closely for the remainder of the year by “two phenomenal physicians at the Kidney Health Center, Dr. Anish Hinduja and Dr. Adam Weinstein,” Mrs. Butler said. In January 2008, when her husband began dialysis, Mrs. Wallace started considering donating one of her healthy kidneys to return him to health.

Preparing for the operation
She submitted to a series of tests over the next few months, in preparation for the operation.

“On Sept. 25, 2009 at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, I was able to donate a kidney to my husband,” she said, adding that 17 family members and friends were there to support them.

Participants can choose from a 3-mile route or shorter path for strollers and wheelchairs. There will be refreshments from Panera Bread, Giant and Starbucks, music by Moonbeam Entertainment and the Kidney Kids Corner with face painting and games.

“Funds raised through Kidney Walk will directly support NKF’s local patient services, education and research efforts,” the group’s statement said. “Participation is free, but donations are encouraged. Everyone who raises a minimum of $100 will receive a commemorative walk T-shirt. Additional recognition gifts – including jackets – will be awarded for meeting various fundraising levels.”

To date, top sponsors of the Salisbury Kidney Walk include Christiana Care Health System, Walgreens, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Peninsula Nephrology Associates, Farmers Bank of Willards and Delmarva Kidney and Hypertension Specialists.

Quick facts
• Kidney Walks in U.S. raise $9 million a year
• 85,000 walkers participate
• Visit www.kidneywalk.org to register online
• To sponsor or volunteer, call 410-726-8732
• For more information on NKF, visit www.kidney.org

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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