With their running shoes laced and beanies on, keen Highlanders stepped out for some exercise on Sunday. However this was not your average morning walk.
More than 100 people took part in the first Big Red Kidney Community Walk at Lake Alexandra in Mittagong.
New Berrima resident David Sullivan was one of the many participants who took part to raise money for Kidney Health Australia.
Mr Sullivan, who has had life-saving renal dialysis treatment, spent the morning walking and talking with his family.
The medical process gave him the chance to be around for the birth of his third grandchild.
"It's a great day and it's good to see such a turn out. The organisers have put on such a good event," Mr Sullivan said.
Organiser Angela Sarkis said the event had support from people across the Southern Highlands community.
"We had about 80 to 90 people register online [before the event]," she said.
"I'd like to thank the participants and the local businesses that have donated so many prizes."
Southern Highlands Renal Appeal chairman Bob Barrett said he was pleased with how the day went.
"What a wonderful day. It's great to bring awareness of kidney disease and the fact that people can reduce their risk by changing their lifestyle," Mr Barrett said.
The Big Red Kidney Walk is Kidney Health Australia's annual event to bring the community together to raise awareness and funds to fight kidney disease and show support for loved ones who are bravely living with the debilitating impacts of the disease.
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According to Kidney Health Australia, 1.7 million Australians are affected by kidney disease but 1.5 million of those are unaware they're living with the disease.
Kidney Health Australia CEO Chris Forbes said a "shocking fact" about kidney disease was that a person could lose 90 per cent of their kidney function before any symptoms presented themselves.
"A person could be relatively fine one day and the next they could be in hospital facing a life sentence of continuous dialysis or on a transplant list, waiting for a suitable kidney donor," Mr Forbes said.
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"We need to prevent people reaching this point so the walks are a great opportunity to get the message out to the community to check their kidney health."
Mr Forbes said the walks help fund vital early detection work, research and support activities.
"Our fundraising target for all the walks is $350,000 but we'd love to smash it so we can do more for our kidney community," Mr Forbes said.
Kidney Health Australia is a not-for-profit and the peak body for kidney heath in Australia with the aim to protect 5 million at risk Australians from developing end stage kidney disease, and to save and improve the lives of people already affected by the disease through support services and funding crucial research.
Visit www.kidney.org.au for more information about the work of Kidney Health Australia.
Kidney Health Facts
- Kidneys are essential to a person's health and wellbeing. They rid your body of waste (through urine), clean your blood of waste and toxins, regulate your blood pressure and manage the production of Vitamin D - essential to strong bones, muscles and overall health.
- The biggest risk factors for kidney disease are diabetes, high blood pressure, established heart problems and/or stroke, family history of kidney failure, smoking, obesity, being 60 years or older, of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, or a history of acute kidney injury. Visit www.kidney.org.au/kidneyrisktest to check your risk.
- 65 people die with kidney-related disease every day.
- Kidney disease is a silent killer - sufferers can lose 90% of kidney function without experiencing any symptoms.
- 1 in 3 people in Australia are at risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
- A staggering 1.7 million Australian adults are affected by kidney disease while 1.5 million of those are unaware of it.
- Kidney-related disease kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer and road accidents combined.
- Tragically, one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have indicators of chronic kidney disease and are four times more likely to die from it than the non-Indigenous population.