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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


UH to host walk for kidney disease cure

With the sobering realities of Polycystic Kidney Disease affecting both members and their loved ones, the PKD Foundation has set up a fundraiser for a cure by hosting “Walk for PKD” Saturday at Lynn Eusan Park.

PKD Foundation representative Kathy Bundrick said that the University’s sprawling campus and diverse community makes the school a clear choice as a location to host the event.

“We chose UH because of the central location in Houston,” said Bundrick. “We feel that it has a gorgeous park and a lot of our walkers with PKD have affiliations with some of the students and faculty here on campus.”

She also explained that all proceeds go toward funding for research and the foundation’s constant push to get the government involved in helping with their programs.

In addition to the walk, the family-friendly event will feature live music, guest appearances, games and plenty of other activities. Registration will start at 8 a.m., and the walk is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

“The walk is just around campus, and it’s about 2 miles,” Bundrick said.

“We encourage all of our walkers and our team to bring their children. We have fun and games. We have The Lost Boys, an indie band, performing live. We also will have Michelle Merhar from Fox 26 news coming out as well.”

The PKD Foundation was founded through a partnership between Kansas City real estate developer Joseph Bruening and Dr. Jared Grantham.

The foundation has funded research leading to 20 clinical trials, while continuing to build volunteer networks and raise awareness through worldwide programs and events that have supported the cause since the 1980s.

“The more money we can spend on research, the faster we can find a cure,” Bundrick said.

PKD develops cysts in the kidneys that inevitably grow as time progresses, which can cause chronic pain in the back or abdomen and kidney stones along with other symptoms.

Because there are two types of PKD, one in adults and the other in children and newborns, anyone can be afflicted by the disease.

“Physically, it’s hereditary,” Bundrick said. “However, there are new cases and studies showing that there are mutated cases of PKD, which means that your parents may not have it, but you have it. There’s also (autosomal recessive) PKD that usually affects children at birth, and can cause them to end up with transplants by the age of two.”

Mary Reed, executive administrative assistant for the UH College of Pharmacy and a victim of PKD, explained some of the complications the cysts may cause and the treatment options.

“Eventually the cyst can cause you to lose your kidney function,” Reed said.

“Some people tend to end up on dialysis and others tend to have a kidney transplant, but it depends how healthy they are and how bad the disease has affected their kidneys.”

An estimated 600,000 Americans are affected by PKD, with an estimated 45,720 affected in Texas, according to the American Kidney Fund.

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