IT is World Kidney Day – and the message in Dorset is that kidney health matters.

The family of Weymouth youngster Max Price and members of the Dorset Kidney Fund are determined to raise awareness about how important our kidneys are.

World Kidney Day (WKD) is an annual global awareness and education event with an aim to get people to look after their kidneys and to highlight the risk factors for kidney disease.

Six-year-old Max, who was born with chronic renal failure, was given the gift of life last year when his father Shaun donated him one of his kidneys.

His mum Michelle said: “As a family we were never aware of the importance of our kidneys, but since having Max and seeing first hand exactly what impact impaired kidney function can have on our bodies we are more aware than ever.

“Our kidneys are so important and make such a difference to our daily life, including diet and drinking. Dialysis can help in the short term but the only long term and life changing treatment is transplant, which Max has had two of in two years, and we’re delighted to now have a successful working kidney; but that hasn’t been without major problems.”

She added: “Max spent five months in hospital after a transplant in October, but is now home trying to adapt to our daily routine.

“This includes taking 28 medications a day, plus having to drink nearly three litres of water a day.”

Since its inception in 2006, the global campaign highlights a particular theme every year, which for 2014 is Chronic Kidney Disease and Ageing.

A group of people, who have battled kidney failure and are committed to helping others on their journey to get a transplant, are also determined to raise awareness.

And members of the Dorset Kidney Fund (DKF) represent the only charity in the county committed to the cause.

From 76-year-old Diana Crowder, who finally got a transplant in 2010 after waiting six years, to selfless mum Sue Bithell, who donated a kidney to her son Paul after he spent 25 years on dialysis, the small group of DFK members are urging Dorset resident to take care of their kidneys.

In 2013 alone, the DKF paid out more than £38,000 to help kidney patients.

DFK member Paul Bithell said: “During World Kidney Day the DKF will be raising public awareness of kidney disease by speaking and providing help and support to the public.”

  • To sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit or call the NHS Organ Donor Line on 0845 60 60 400.

To donate, visit the group’s website

To donate to the Fund or find out more, visit

Protecting your organs from damage

THE main job of the kidneys is to remove toxins and excess water from our blood.

Kidneys also help to control our blood pressure, to produce red blood cells and to keep our bones healthy.

Here are some ways to help reduce your risk:

  • Keep the pressure down – high blood pressure accelerates kidney damage.
  • Keep fit and active – this helps to reduce your blood pressure and therefore the risk of kidney disease.
  • Don’t smoke – cigarette smoking slows blood flow to the kidneys, decreasing their ability to function properly.
  • Eat healthily and keep your weight in check – this can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with kidney disease.
  • Know your kidney function – if anyone in your family has suffered from kidney disease, if you are diabetic or if you are of Asian or African ancestry, it is particularly important to get your kidney function checked by your GP.