Find your local Walk for Life http://www.kidneywales.com/index.php?p=3782

Assembly Members have added their voices of support to hundreds of patients and fundraisers all over Wales at the launch of the 2011 Kidney Wales Walk for Life appeal.

With the support of AMs from all parties, the launch, held in Cardiff Bay’s iconic Pier Head Building marked the start of the countdown to the Walk for Life, which will be held in communities across Wales, from Amlwch to Ammanford, Halkyn to Haverfordwest on Sunday, March 27.

With the support of four Celebrity Ambassadors: TV presenters Alex Jones, Sarra Elgan and Andrea Benfield, as well as Wales and British Lions rugby star Leigh Halfpenny, it is hoped that the Wales-wide event will be bigger and better than last year, which saw over 75 walks and fundraising events held throughout the country, collectively raising £103,000 to help the charity invest in life-saving equipment and patient care, as well as fund ground-breaking research into kidney disease and promoting organ donation.

With Specsavers confirmed as main sponsor for a third year, the event is aimed at supporting Kidney patients and their families across Wales. Patients like three year old Summer Kansiray from Bridgend. Summer has had both Kidneys removed due to Wilms’ Cancer. She receives treatment at the Children’s Kidney Centre in Cardiff, a facility to which Kidney Wales gives considerable support through funds raised by the Walk for Life.

Joanne Carter-Kansiray, Summer’s mother said:

“The Walk for Life is such an important fundraiser in the Kidney Wales calendar and it raises such important funds for patients all over Wales, including my daughter. Through funds raised by walk organisers, Kidney Wales were able to refurbish the Children’s Kidney Centre in UHW, Cardiff and make it a nicer and more enjoyable place for both Summer and I and all the other patients and families when we visit for treatment. It is such an important event and I would encourage people across Wales to get their walking boots on, have a fun day out and support the appeal.”

Paul Morris, chairman of Specsavers in Wales, says:

‘Sponsoring the Walk for Life again this year was an easy decision as the work the Kidney Wales Foundation does is close to the heart of many of customers, as well as our staff too.

‘Kidney disease is often caused by hypertension and diabetes, which is also responsible for many complications in the eye, so we are proud to support a cause which aims to tackle an issue relevant to many of our customers.

‘Everyone has really got behind the event of the past two years, and we will be doing all we can to raise further awareness of the event this year and encourage more of our staff and customers to take part in a walk, or even set up a walk themselves.’

Raj Aggarwal OBE, Kidney Wales Foundation Chair of Trustees said:

“We are blessed with dedicated supporters all over Wales who are so committed to fundraising for Kidney Wales. It’s amazing what the simple act of walking can achieve to transform the lives of patients.”

Roy J. Thomas Executive Chairman of Kidney Wales Foundation said

“The people of Wales always show fantastic support for the charity which helps raise awareness and the vital funds needed for equipment, research, treatment and support for kidney patients and their families across Wales. Fundraisers across Wales are the cornerstones of our charity work and we are very grateful for their support every year. We know 2011 will be bigger and better than ever.”

For more information on the Walk for Life, walks in your area or to organise your own walk, please contact Kidney Wales on 029 2034 3940 or visit www.kidneywales.com

NOTES TO EDITOR

Case studies will be available for interview at the launch event. For more details and to arrange and interview, please contact Tristan Williams on 029 2034 3940 / 07590 216784

WALK FOR LIFE 2011
This year’s Walk for Life event takes place on or around Sunday, March 27. There are more than 100 walks being held across Wales. Money raised from the Walk for Life is used to make a difference to children and adults in Wales who suffer with kidney disease and renal failure. Life on dialysis is extremely difficult and some are so ill they will never get the chance to be put forward for a life saving kidney transplant.

ABOUT THE KIDNEY WALES FOUNDATION

Established in 1967, Kidney Wales has had over forty years of success in supporting and working with kidney patients in Wales. During this time the charity has supported many aspects of kidney patient care in Wales including transplantation, dialysis, research and patient welfare. Kidney Wales played a major role in getting an organ donor card attached to driving licences in the UK and was instrumental in setting up Lifeline Wales – a computer register of people willing to be organ donors in the event of their death.

In 2007 Kidney Wales launched the ‘People Like Us’ campaign, which put renal patients centre stage as they articulated their vision on how Wales could become a world class provider of renal services . With over 490 people waiting for a transplant in Wales, a chronic shortage of organs and increasing demand, People Like Us had three key suggestions for how to save lives:

· delivering a new dedicated transplant unit for Wales
· working with partners to deliver a substantial increase in donors
· introducing legislation in Wales for Soft Opt Out Organ Donation

All three of these objectives have been met with positive responses from the Welsh Assembly Government and National Assembly for Wales.

The Kidney Wales Foundation also organises the organ donation campaign in Wales; working with six other charities and the British Medical Association to encourage more people to join the organ donor register.
www.donatewales.orgFind your local Walk for Life http://www.kidneywales.com/index.php?p=3782

Assembly Members have added their voices of support to hundreds of patients and fundraisers all over Wales at the launch of the 2011 Kidney Wales Walk for Life appeal.