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Estevan dialysis nurses initiate first local Kidney Walk for their patients

Estevan dialysis nurses hit Fourth Street for the first local Kidney Walk in support of their patients. Check the story to learn how you can help.
Estevan dialysis nurses Amanda Kienlen, Gail Torgunrud, Jennifer Juneau, Kelsey Barlow and Anita Messner (missing is Cassidy Sinclair) and their supporters organized the first Kidney Walk in Estevan on Friday.

ESTEVAN - Estevan nurses introduced what they hope will become a new tradition, helping their patients and colleagues.

On Friday evening, dialysis nurses Jennifer Juneau, Amanda Kienlen, Gail Torgunrud, Kelsey Barlow and Anita Messner, along with their supporters, gathered on Fourth Street for Estevan's first Kidney Walk. Another dialysis nurse, Cassidy Sinclair, who signed the group up, couldn't make it to the walk.

With flags and banners calling for support for the Kidney Walk, the group walked from the Orpheum Theatre down to Thunder City Power and Leisure, attracting attention to the cause and advocating for people struggling with kidney disease.

Juneau explained that the Kidney Walk is a national event organized by the Kidney Foundation of Canada. It's meant to raise awareness and funds for kidney disease and the transplant program. It's become more popular in recent years as it also helps the kidney community to connect and to celebrate their many wins, such as when someone receives a transplant.

She added that this year, they decided as a nursing unit to join the walk to help raise money and raise awareness of kidney disease.

"Our dialysis unit here is currently full, and we have people coming from in town as well as over an hour drive away to receive treatment up to three times a week. It's not an easy life to live and any advancements that are made to help make that life easier are welcome," Juneau said.

St. Joseph's Hospital has nine chairs for dialysis, and they do two runs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so they assist about 18 patients. The unit started off with six chairs and then was expanded to nine, serving Estevan and people from the surrounding communities.

Many dialysis patients need the procedure three times a week, and the treatment takes three to five hours. So having it available locally helps at least save on travel time and expenses.

"This is an amazing service we can offer our community as people needing dialysis were driving to Regina prior," Juneau said. "We [decided to organize the walk to] spread awareness for kidney disease and support our friends and patients by raising money for the foundation."

The Estevan team originally hoped to reach $1,000. As of the time of the walk, they were able to raise $1,700 with the help of donations from their families, friends and patients and the donations kept coming.

Provincially the goal was $55,000 and they have achieved over $60,000 so far.

"Saskatchewan has always been known as a generous and helping province and it certainly shows," Juneau said.

Nationally the goal this year is over $2 million, with $504,000 achieved so far.

The funds raised are used for education and awareness for the public and patients, for kidney research, as well as to provide financial assistance for children's camps and short-term patient assistance.

Juneau also noted that the Kidney Walk helps raise awareness about the serious need for kidney transplants and organ donations in general.

The team and the foundation are still accepting donations for the cause. The donations can be forwarded to one of the local nurses or made online at If people wish to support the local team's efforts, their page is called the Estevan Renal Nursing Unit, or they can just enter their donation at the website.

"We are certainly open for more donations," Juneau said. "And I believe tax receipts are issued for donations over $20."

If you want to learn more about kidney disease, check the Kidney Foundation of Canada and Kidney Walk websites for resources.