Steps for awareness: City man to participate in kidney walk

Submitted photos Jeff Griffin and his team at last year’s walk. Griffin walks every year in remembrance of his wife and to raise awareness of kidney disease.

A Dunkirk man is continuing his mission to raise awareness about kidney disease by once again participating in the Walk For Kidney Health 5K, put on by the Kidney Foundation Of Western New York.

The walk is set for this Sunday at the Lakeside Lawn of the Buffalo Outer Harbor. Jeff Griffin and his team of about 18 to 20 people are walking in memory of his wife, Margaret, who passed away from Calciphylaxis, a rare and deadly disease with no known cure, in 2022.

The Walk for Kidney Health is a community event to raise awareness of kidney disease, recognize people affected by kidney disease, honor organ donors and remember those lost to the disease.

Sponsorships, team fundraising and individual donations also support the Kidney Foundation of WNY’s outreach, education, patient support and advocacy programs. So far for the walk this year Griffin and the team have raised $2,603.51.

While there is still no cure for Calciphylaxis and still only one doctor in Boston looking for a cure, Griffin said the number of people dying from the disease has increased.

The shirt the team will be wearing at this year’s walk.

“There are more cases now than when my wife passed two years ago,” Griffin said. “It used to be one or two people would pass from it every month and now it has gone up to three or four.”

Kidney disease is also something that is personal for Griffin, him having kidney cancer since 2014 and having one of his kidneys removed last year. Nationally, Griffin said the first successful pig kidney transplant into a human has been reported, but kidney disease is still on the rise.

“There are 100,000 people nationwide on the transplant list,” Griffin said. “The kidney is one of the most fragile organs in the body, and it’s one of the organs the body needs the most.”

For those in a similar situation to Griffin, or dealing with kidney disease, Griffin said reach out to the Kidney Foundation. He added that they are there to help, especially for those who might not be able to work anymore or who are struggling with dialysis.

“Dialysis is tough,” Griffin said. “It’s three days a week and it wears you down, which is something I think people don’t understand. It’s tough being on dialysis and relying on a machine to keep you alive.”

Griffin said his wife was on dialysis for a while before her passing, but eventually she could not be anymore.

Locally, Griffin said the two best hospitals nearby that deal with kidney disease is ECMC in Buffalo and UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa. Those in need of a transplant or a donor can be added to their list.


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