A LEADING optician has pledged its support to a campaign aimed at funding clinical research and renal facilities for children with kidney disease.

Specsavers is backing the Kidney Wales Foundation’s Walk for Life, which is built on a series of organised walks across Wales on Sunday 29 March 2009, planned by local people and attended by thousands.

Details of local walks will be announced next month when sponsorship packs will be available from Specsavers stores.

It is the first time the event has had a principal sponsor and, with the help of Specsavers, Kidney Wales hopes to organise 50 walks across Wales and raise more than £80,000 to improve the lives of the many children across Wales affected by kidney disease and failure. The campaign has also attracted the attention of world-famous soprano, Katherine Jenkins, and Olympic gold medallist, Nicole Cooke, who are ambassadors for this year’s walks.

Kidney Wales aims to raise money to help meet the funding gap between the clinical need and the resources the government can provide. Its objective is to promote strategies and services to prevent and treat kidney disease, and to help deliver better quality and quantity of life for patients, families and carers. Kidney Wales has already helped provide dialysis units and finance and promote positions for consultant nephrologists, transplant co-ordinators, nurse specialists, social workers and psychologists across the whole of Wales. Alongside the health service it also recognises the growing demand for renal services.

Kidney Wales is also leading the Donate Wales campaign to encourage more people to join the Organ Donor Register. The Walk for Life will also be used to promote this message.

Anne Lowndes, of Specsavers, says: ‘Kidney disease is often caused by hypertension and diabetes, which is also responsible for many complications in the eye, so we were delighted to get behind such a worthwhile campaign that is relevant to many of our customers. We have already been encouraging customers to take part in a walk and some of the team here are interested in taking part too. By raising awareness of the campaign, hopefully we can get people walking on the 29th March.’

Noel Davies, of the Kidney Wales Foundation, says: ‘We’d like to thank Specsavers for sponsoring this year’s Walk for Life and, with the help of such a well known-retailer, we hope that more and more people will take part this year and raise money to help transform the lives of children affected by kidney disease and failure in Wales.’

For more information about the Walk for Life or to organise a walk visit www.kidneywales.com or contact 029 2034 3940.