After receiving a new kidney, she scaled a mountain

As a young child, Virginia Arsenault was often sick in the hospital waiting for the latest kidney infection to subside, while dreading the one that would inevitably follow.

“From birth, my right kidney was deformed, severely prone to infections and progressively failing,” says Arsenault. “I had always been a dreamer and throughout my childhood and youth, all I ever thought about was scaling the world’s tallest peaks. However, I was afraid that it would be impossible with a failing kidney that was constantly infected.”

Nearly 38,000 Canadians live with kidney failure, according to the 2009 Canadian Organ Replacement Register. While a person can live with one healthy kidney, the complete loss of kidney function requires life-saving treatment in the form of dialysis or an organ transplant. By the time Virginia Arsenault turned 13, her right kidney had failed and she was relying on her left one to keep her alive. She was in immense pain and her troubled kidney needed to be removed with an operation. The successful surgery returned her to a healthy lifestyle.

Canadian News – “I will forever be grateful for the Kidney Foundation and the support it provides for research to help patients like myself,” Virginia says. “Today, I am able to live my dream of being a mountaineer. I have traveled to the Himalayas and saw Mount Everest with my own eyes from the summit of a nearby mountain.”

Started nearly 50 years ago, when dialysis and transplantation were fledgling treatments, the Kidney Foundation says it has invested more than $100 million in such initiatives as life-saving research, the development of a collaborative researcher-training program, and innovative patient programs.

“But there’s so much more we can do,” says Kathryn Richardson, national president for the foundation. “We are always encouraging people to visit kidney.ca to find out if they are in a risk group, and to learn how to prevent, detect or manage kidney disease. Naturally, we ask people to get involved, to take action and participate in our annual Kidney March and door-to-door campaigns to help raise the funds needed for research breakthroughs that can help people like Virginia Arsenault.”