Kidney Walk ambassador is a four-time transplant recipient

Sarnia’s Mandie Cross, 34, has undergone four kidney transplants over the past 20 years. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

Mandie Cross is closing in on a record she hopes she never breaks.

When the 34-year-old Sarnia woman received a kidney transplant two years ago, it was the fourth time.

The world record for kidney transplants is seven, according to Guinness.

Cross has spent most of her life either on dialysis, waiting for a transplant or enjoying the increased quality of life provided by a donated organ.

Yet, despite all the uncertainty she maintains a positive outlook on things.

“I have my moments,” she admitted. “But I think the reason I’m not discouraged is because of my faith in God.”

One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease and each day an average of 15 people are told their kidneys have failed – more than 5,000 per year.

Three-quarters of all patients waiting for an organ transplant are waiting for a kidney.

“The waiting list keeps getting longer,” said Elaine Hayter, who is helping organize this weekend’s 14th annual Canadian Kidney Foundation Kidney Walk in Canatara Park.

But 46% of kidney donors in Canada are living donors, and the percentage is even higher in Sarnia-Lambton, added Hayter, senior development manager at the local Foundation office.

“It’s amazing how they’ve certainly increased that number over the years, because of that awareness that’s out there.”

Cross, who is this year’s Walk Ambassador in Sarnia, was born with only one functioning kidney, and that one at 65% efficiency.

When she was 14 her mother Georgina donated one her own kidneys, but it didn’t take.

She received a second organ later that year that served her well for nearly a decade.

But she was back on dialysis again in 2008 and waited two years for a donor.

This winter, Cross received her fourth kidney transplant and hopes it’s the last one she ever needs, she said.

Organizers of this year’s walk hope to raise $30,000 while spreading the word about the realities faced by thousands of Canadians like Cross.

In its first 13 years the event has brought in more than $300,000.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Kidney Foundation’s 14th annual Kidney Walk

WHEN: Sept. 24, 9:30 a.m.

WHERE: Canatara Park (Kiwanis Pavilion)

NOTES: Participants are encouraged to raise or donate a suggested amount of $100. For more, visit https://www.kidney.ca/Sarnia