By Sarah Culmo
Growing up, my father constantly suffered pain due to Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). As he got older, his condition worsened and his belly began to protrude because his kidneys were so full of cysts and pushed against his other organs. He was consistently in need of dialysis treatments, and it was very difficult to see the pain he was suffering.
When I was about 12, I got a chilling phone call that my father was rushed to the hospital because his kidneys had failed. They say that annually, eight people per 1 million have kidney failure as a result of PKD, and unfortunately, my father was one of those 8. Very luckily, my dad’s brother was a perfect match and he so generously decided to donate one of his kidneys to my father. When my father’s kidneys were removed, they weighed close to 30 pounds due to the cysts. Ever since, my father has been able to do things he hadn’t been able to do in the past because of the pain. He is now very active and is able to enjoy activities again such as hiking and swimming, but most importantly, he is pain-free.
I have two older siblings, a sister and a brother who were both diagnosed with PKD because of my father’s genetics. I, on the other hand, am the only child who is not affected by it. My sister’s condition is not too severe, but my brother is already showing signs that could unfortunately lead down the same path as my father’s condition. If he is hit in the wrong spot near his kidneys, he is in severe amounts of pain and has blood in his urine due to the cysts on his kidneys. My brother and I are very close and I can honestly say he’s one of my best friends. It kills me to think of him ever having to suffer what my father had suffered. However, we have been able to test that I am the most compatible to my brother if in the future he is in need of a transplant which means the absolute world to me. Seeing what my uncle did for my father was so incredible, and it’s safe to say that I would do the same for my brother in a heart beat.
I have never participated in UAE Healthy Kidney 10K Race before, but once I saw it, there was no way I would turn down such a great opportunity to run for an amazing cause. I’m looking forward to running this race for my father, but also for my brother. Staying healthy is so important, especially for a donor, so I want to run to be sure that I’m donating the healthiest kidney I can to my brother if he is in need of it one day!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I’m looking forward to a fun race!
I am currently registered to run in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K coming up on May 14. I started running a little over a year ago and I was barely able to run a 5K without stopping. I began to fall in love with running and competed in my first half marathon last month by running in the NYC Half on March 20 and LOVED it!