“Imagine learning you have kidney disease when you’re only 12. The medication I was on caused me to gain a lot of weight, and after a few years I had to go on dialysis. Without the support of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, I would not have learned how to manage my disease, received a transplant — and finished university.”
– Christina Bailey
Focal Segmental Glomerulo Sclerosis (FSGS) is a mouthful to say. Try saying it when you’re only 12 years old. Then try understanding what this kidney disease means for you.
Christina Bailey was just finishing grade 7 when she was diagnosed with FSGC, which is really scarring in the kidney to some, not all, of the clusters of tiny blood vessels that filter waste from the blood (called glomerulo). She was shocked when she was given the news, then more shocked when the medications she was prescribed caused her to gain a lot of weight. “The change was extreme,” says her mom. “From grade 7 to 8 you would not have recognized her.”
By the time Christina was 16 years old, the disease had progressed. The medication she was on was changed, but this only bought her two years of time before she had to start dialysis treatments. She was just 18 — a time in her life when she wanted to be ‘normal’ like anyone else. “I wanted to go to university, live in a dorm — do all the things an 18-year-old should be able to do,” she says.
With the help of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, which gave her the answers she needed, Christina was able to take the big step and go to university. The Foundation — one of 16 national health charities working under the HealthPartners umbrella to transform the health of Canadians — gave her information and guidance on how to manage school, provided recipe books to ensure she stayed on a proper diet, and , most of all, gave her the confidence that she needed to live an independent life. With the aid of a nocturnal dialysis machine, Christina spread her wings. She was 23 when she received a kidney transplant, and she finished her degree in 2013.
“I am healthy and living life to the fullest,” says Christina. “I am living proof that donating to HealthPartners works.”
The Kidney Foundation of Canada is dedicated to kidney health and improved lives for all people affected by kidney disease. The Kidney Foundation reduces the burden of kidney disease by funding and stimulating innovative research, by providing education and support, and by promoting kidney health, organ donation and access to quality healthcare.
HealthPartners proudly supports The Kidney Foundation of Canada.