Participants gather for a photo before the 23rd  annual Kidney Walk at the Detroit Zoo last year.

Participants gather for a photo before the 23rd annual Kidney Walk at the Detroit Zoo last year.

Photo provided by Joyce Williams


Kidney Walk to return to the Detroit Zoo

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published May 14, 2019

 From left, Faye Pinho, 14; Marnie Pinho; Wendy Grant; Michael Grant; Grace Pinho, 11; and Evelyn Pinho, 15, all of Royal Oak, attend last year’s Kidney Walk at the Detroit Zoo. The walk will take place May 19 this year.

From left, Faye Pinho, 14; Marnie Pinho; Wendy Grant; Michael Grant; Grace Pinho, 11; and Evelyn Pinho, 15, all of Royal Oak, attend last year’s Kidney Walk at the Detroit Zoo. The walk will take place May 19 this year.

Photo provided by Marnie Pinho

 Team Walking for a Cure participates in the 23rd annual Kidney Walk at the Detroit Zoo last year.

Team Walking for a Cure participates in the 23rd annual Kidney Walk at the Detroit Zoo last year.

Photo provided by Joyce Williams

Advertisement

ROYAL OAK — More than a million Michigan residents live with chronic kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.

On Sunday, May 19, the NKFM will host its 24th annual Kidney Walk at the Detroit Zoo to raise funds for prevention programs and patient services. To date, more than 70,000 walkers and supporters have raised more than $6 million.

“Our walk started out as the largest kidney walk in the country. Now, we’re the second-largest to New York,” said Joyce Williams, NKFM communications specialist. “It’s really cool to go in the morning, before the zoo opens, because the animals are very active.”

Day-of registration will begin at 7:30 a.m., and the walk will start at 8:45 a.m. Registration costs $25 per person older than 12, and $15 for those ages 2-12. Kids younger than 2 may participate for free. The fee includes parking, zoo admission and activities.

Activities include food, games, prizes, music, a kids area with face painting and temporary tattoos, a kidney Champions’ Tent, massages, haircuts and more.

“Most people don’t know they have the disease because very often it does not have symptoms in the beginning,” Williams said. “It’s important to have at least annual checkups. One of the sad things about kidney disease is 70% of it is preventable. Most kidney disease is caused by high blood pressure and diabetes.”

One of the biggest causes of diabetes is obesity, which leads to the inability to process sugar or blood glucose, as well as kidney complications, such as issues with the eyes and blood circulation, Williams said.

“Once the kidneys fail, the only way to survive is dialysis and to have a transplant,” she said. “We have over 2,300 people on the waiting list in Michigan to receive a kidney of any kind, whether from a deceased donor or a living donor.”

Marnie Pinho, of Royal Oak, has participated in the Kidney Walk for over a decade and is the team captain of Papa’s Kidney Beans. Pinho and her family walk in honor of her stepfather and kidney disease survivor Michael Grant.

Grant, 67, was originally misdiagnosed, and through further testing, doctors discovered that his left kidney never worked properly. In 2004, he went into kidney failure.

“He decided, because he was stubborn, that he wasn’t going to do dialysis. We were all freaking out, and it was getting worse and worse and worse,” Pinho said. “But (one night in 2006), he got the call (about an available kidney). It was amazing. It was through a recipient that had passed away, and it was a perfect match.”

Now, she said, her father is doing fantastic and follows all the rules.

This year, Pinho, who is a photographer, will sell blank cards at the Kidney Walk that feature her photographs of naturally occurring hearts that she finds in nature.

“I am very fond of handwritten notes,” she said.

She said her grandma died five years ago, and whenever she spots hearts while she’s out and about in nature, it’s like her grandma saying “hi.”

She sold the cards as a way to raise funds for the walk. Originally, she ordered 400 cards to sell at three for $10, but they were so popular, she ended up ordering more and selling $1,200 worth.

Ninety percent of all money raised from the Kidney Walk directly benefits NKFM programs and services.

The Detroit Zoo is located at 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, west of Woodward Avenue.

For more information or to register online, visit www.nkfm.org/walks or call the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan at (800) 482-1455.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.

Advertisement