Thousands come together to walk for kidney disease

GLENDALE, Ariz. (FOX 10) - Thousands gathered at State Farm Stadium in Glendale for a very important cause. the Phoenix Kidney Walk 2019 kicked off with more than 2,000 participants.

There were plenty of people who didn't know each other at the event, but they all have one thing in common. They were in some way, shape, or form touched by kidney disease.

Just ask Pat McReynolds from the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona.

"We have people that have received a kidney donation we have people who donated one of their kidneys we have people walking in honor of or memory of their family members and then we have everybody from the healthcare industry," said Pat McReynolds.

Kidney disease may be more common than you think. One in three American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease, and in Arizona, around 2,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant.

"Of everyone currently waiting in Arizona for an organ transplant, 87% of them are waiting for a kidney so most likely everyone has been touched by kidney disease in some way in their extended family," said McReynolds.

Jessica Dray is a living example of how kidney donations can save a life. Jessica had been sick for 26 years, was on dialysis for six years, and reaching kidney failure, but then a miracle. A kidney donation saved her life, something Jessica says she knew very little about until she got sick.

"I knew nothing about a transplant until I had a transplant, I wasn't a registered organ donor until after my transplant," said Jessica Dray.

Now healthy, Jessica says it's her mission to spread awareness to others, connect patients with resources, and be a living example of how much donating a kidney can be life-changing.

"So much better now, so much energy I can do things that I didn't do before, it's just amazing I feel so good," said Dray.