*NOTE: A letter from Karyn Waxman
Today (3/8) is World Kidney Day. Until 12 years ago I would not have given it a second thought. However, since a polycystic kidney disease (PKD) diagnosis turned my life upside down, I have not only learned to appreciate my ailing kidneys, but also to have deep respect and compassion for the other 12.5 million men, women and children who also battle this disease every day.
PKD is one of the most common of all life-threatening genetic diseases. There is a 50 percent chance of inheritance from an affected parent, making this a very prevalent family disease. More than half of its victims end up in kidney failure and have to rely on dialysis or transplant to survive. There is still no treatment or cure.
Although PKD costs our government in excess of $2.5 billion a year in Medicare and Medicaid expense, government funding for PKD research is extremely slim in comparison to funding for other diseases that affect a much smaller percentage of our population.
Patients are truly growing “impatient” for a treatment to hold this disease at bay, let alone find a cure to protect future generations from being tethered to a dialysis machine or waiting for a gift of life that may not come.
The PKD Foundation is the only organization worldwide whose mission is to promote research, education, advocacy, awareness and support to find treatments and a cure for PKD. Heightening public awareness of polycystic kidney disease is essential, especially on World Kidney Day.
Karyn Waxman, Germantown