By Kyra Gillespie
After years of unexplained ill-health and agonising pain, Bunyip resident Elly Solomon has had to face some tough answers after a recent diagnosis with polycystic kidney disease.
The disease is supposedly hereditary however there are no signs of the condition in her family.
“My body just decided to attack itself,” Mrs Solomon said.
After wishing she had checked for kidney disease sooner, Mrs Solomon has decided to host a Big Red Kidney Walk in Bunyip on Sunday 10 September to raise funds and awareness for Kidney Health Australia.
“I needed to give something back. When I saw the walk online, I thought what better idea than to host one in my home town.”
When excruciating pain led Mrs Solomon to the doctor, and then the hospital, she soon discovered that her kidney was more than double its normal size on one side and that both her kidneys were full of cysts.
One of the biggest risks these cysts present is a bleed into the kidney, which can be potentially fatal.
Mrs Solomon didn’t want anyone to make the same mistake of letting the disease progress unaddressed, so hosting the Big Red Kidney Walk is her way of alerting others to the potential risks.
“I have to do this walk to make more people aware. I wasn’t aware, and it has certainly woken me up.
“If you have a problem, or feel like something isn’t quite right, you need to get on top of it straight away,” Mrs Solomon said.
Initially, Mrs Solomon intended to walk alone with close friends and family for support.
But the event has gained traction and now the entire community is getting behind it.
Among supporters are the Bunyip Fire Brigade, Longwarry Primary School, the Rotary Club and the Bunyip Chemist who have contributed large hampers to the raffle prize pool.
“It’s gone viral – I am overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of local support I have received.
“When I initially signed up to the walk I only had a few fundraising tins and a goal of $250. But since then the goal has grown to $1000 and I’ve had to order more tins.
“If this takes off I want to make it an annual event” Mrs Solomon said.
With one in three Australians at increased risk of disease, the walk is a chance to make a difference by raising awareness and to fundraise for kidney health.
Walkers are encouraged to wear something red and will gather at 9am for a 10am start at the Bunyip Leisure Centre.
The cost for individuals is $20, team of 10 is $100 and children aged 12 and under are free.
Register online at the Big Red Kidney Walk website or contact Elly Solomon on 0448 254 457.