Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we want to know what you’re thankful for this holiday season.  We have heard so many stories from walkers who are celebrating many great milestones this year.  Share yours here!

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In Memory of Marcus

The KMarcus_Kansas City_November 19 2012idney Walk brings together a diverse cross section of people who are affected by kidney disease and many who are walking in memory of those who have passed on. Tanya Matthews walks for her son, Marcus, who passed away in 2010 due to kidney failure.

“My son had talked about the Kidney Walk. He always wanted to get involved, to help people,” said Tanya Matthews, the mother to Marcus Matthews. “He never expected that he wouldn’t get  to do it.”

Marcus was full of life, had a great sense of humor and didn’t take things too seriously. When he started to get severe headaches in 2007, he didn’t think he could possibly have kidney disease.

“He ended up in the emergency room, and they kept telling him he had high blood pressure. They gave him prescriptions, but he never got them filled,” said Tanya. “He figured he was young, that he wasn’t overweight, and so it wasn’t something he needed to worry about.”

But kidney disease struck fast and Marcus went into kidney failure. He spent two years on dialysis while waiting for a kidney transplant. However, in 2010, at the age of 27, he passed away due to circumstance related to kidney disease.

“He was supposed to be on the way home from the hospital when they told me there had been complications,” Tanya said. “He had never seemed sickly or weak, it was a total shock.”

Now the Matthews family is doing what they can to give back in Marcus’ memory, teaming up with the National Kidney Foundation and participating in the Kansas City Kidney Walk to raise awareness about kidney disease.

For Tanya, the Walk is a chance to highlight just how prevalent kidney disease

“Before Marcus died, I never realized there were so many people here who have kidney disease or have transplants. Even our pastor is a kidney transplant survivor,” said Tanya. “Now I always take the chance to talk about kidney disease. I tell people to get their blood pressure checked to make sure their kidneys are alright.”

Tot’s Fight Against Kidney Disease Inspires Family

Megan McSween_New York_November 5 2012Instead of sleepovers and visits to the park, Megan McSween, 6, has spent much of her young life in doctor’s offices and surgery rooms. Megan was born with a congenital kidney disease which resulted in hydronephrosis — a dangerous backup of fluids in the kidneys.

“She’s been through so many surgeries, but she has such a high spirits,” her mother, Natilee, said. “We tell her it’s because she has special kidneys, she likes that.”

While the surgeries keep Megan’s kidneys functioning as long as possible before she eventually needs a transplant, she continues to go to school and finds time to inspire her mom, dad and brother to give back and take up the fight against kidney disease. Her 14-year-old brother is forming a club at high school to promote kidney disease awareness; Natilee has joined a support groups for parents who have children with kidney diseases; and the whole family has a Kidney Walk team for the New York City Kidney Walk.

Megan herself has appeared on local television stations to spread the message of kidney disease, and even got to meet celebrity Nick Cannon at the New York Walk. The McSween family wants to show support to other families and raise awareness of kidney disease in the community.

“I want people to be more aware. We knew nothing about this. It’s important to know there are other people going through this, and that there is hope,” Natilee said.