Cap’n Kidney & the Nephrons
This is a Walk for Kidneys. The event is going to provide a fun day of education and activity.
To promote community education and awareness for kidney disease prevention and treatment options and act as a fundraiser for local assistance programs that benefit ESRD patients.
Our Purpose Project for 2019 had over 375 participants join in a non-competitive walk to raise awareness of kidney health. We were able to raise over $9,000 for The Adult Resource Alliance, who assists seniors and adults with disabilities in Yellowstone County. Many people in the community utilize their services; and we wanted to focus on community involvement by informing others of the programs that were available locally. To do this, we invited The Adult Resource Alliance, National Association of Mental Illness, local Ombudsman, Billings Urban Indian Health and Wellness Center, Donate Life, REACH Kidney Care, and renal dietitians.
The Adult Resource Alliance educated the attendees on the resources they provide:
- Housing Information
- Transportation Information
- In-Home Care Information
- Completing applications for financial assistance
- Assisting with issues involving a medical bills, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SSI, SSDI
- Work as Medicare advocate with client
- Educational & Informational Seminars
The National Association of Mental Illness educated our community on support groups and educational classes on how to help someone who has a mental illness.
Local Ombudsman, Karen Ulrickson, helped people find local ombudsman in their community and across the state. (Ombudsman provide social support when a person doesn’t have any or has concerns about their well-being, health or financial.)
Billings Urban Indian Health attended to help patients with:
- General Check-Ups
- Health Insurance Navigation
- Sports Physicals
- Behavioral Health
- General Nutrition Classes
- Health Education
Donate Life gave information on organ donation and transplant for dialysis patients. We were fortunate enough to have staff educator, Teresa Evinrude, who is a kidney transplant recipient, speak about her experience in dialysis and after.
Our REACH Kidney Care educator, Hope Mitchell, volunteered to inform attendees of kidney disease prevention and treatment options after kidney disease diagnosis.
Staff from Billings Clinic Dialysis, LLC, Michelle McManus and Karla Herman, provided education on the distance patients have to travel to get to dialysis in Montana and Northern Wyoming. Our renal dietitian from DCI Big Sky, Gretta Hensler, and assistant, Evi Pickering, had an informational booth about low sodium flavor enhancer options. They gave samples of oil and vinegar options. They displayed poster boards with personal experiences from staff and patients about kidney disease.
We also had Desert Mountain Media, 94.1 KSKY, broadcasting live from our event with guest hosts, dialysis patient Bruce Parker, dialysis care-giver: David Worstell, and kidney transplant recipient: Kate Bauer. DJ Jake Seymour assisted in announcing raffle and silent auction winners. Auctioneer Mike Steffes volunteered to auction baskets that the clinics created and donated to try and win the kidney trophy.
For other entertainment during the Walk for Kidneys there were opportunities for attendees to bid on silent, live and raffle auction items. The live auction included baskets from 5 different DCI units and 2 other dialysis companies (Fresenius and Davita). In addition to educating our community, we are working to transcend boundaries in the dialysis community that may limit patient care. To do this we created a basket challenge and sent the challenge to all dialysis clinics in Montana and Northern Wyoming. The challenge was: whoever raised the most funds during the live auction would win bragging rights and display the one-of-a-kind kidney trophy created by a local artist.
Food trucks were also available for customers: Cookie’s Kitchen, Tuk-Tuk Thai, Bailey’s Ice Cream, and Snowie’s. We also had Project Lunch, who was there to provide renal-friendly lunches for customers.
The 2nd Annual Walk for Kidneys was able to promote the event via Desert Mountain Media, local morning television show “Hello Montana,” Billings Gazette and Facebook. We received monetary donations, discounts, and free advertising from several local businesses, many of whom have ties to patients who have had kidney disease and who have been on dialysis. Q2 news also showed up for interviews of co-chairs of the event, Hilary Snell and Kristin Evans, which aired that evening.
With 375+ attendees, our 2nd Annual Walk for Kidneys was a success raising awareness for kidney health in our community; and raising $9,000 for the Adult Resource Alliance so they may continue assisting others in our community. Not only did we raise community awareness, we bonded two DCI clinics in Billings together. DCI Big Sky and Billings Clinic Dialysis, LLC, worked as a team to execute the best walk possible.