The Kidney Kare 5K Run/Walk is coming up soon on March 15. Hundreds of individuals are already signed up to take part in this annual event.
Each participant has his or her reasons for running or walking: Some have a connection to kidney disease, some are participating with friends for the fun of it, some are runners and are training for other events this spring.
Over the next few weeks, we will feature participants who are signed up for the Kidney Kare Run, and they will share how they are preparing for it. The next feature in this series highlights Jenifer Odom.
|Jenifer and Dean Odom, holding their daughter Sami|
|Sami Odom at 15 months|
Jenifer Odom is a mother who lost her daughter, Sami, to kidney disease in 2012. Sami was 2 years old. Jenifer and her husband Dean have been fundraising and participating in the Kidney Kare Run/Walk in honor and in memory of Sami.
Team Sami includes friends, loved ones, nurses and doctors who cared for Sami. Jenifer says she hopes to raise awareness about kidney disease in children through their efforts.
When did you get connected with the UNC Kidney Center?
We first met the doctors at the Kidney Center before Sami was born. She was born with end stage kidney disease and was placed on peritoneal dialysis when she was five days old. Sami was the happiest girl- offering a smile to anyone and everyone near her. Her happiness was so contagious.
|Sami Odom at 2 years, 2 months|
She was in need of a kidney transplant, but children have to weigh at least 10kg to get a kidney. As she approached that size, we began testing. I was a match! She was slated to get one of my kidneys!
She developed some breathing issues that landed her in the hospital. After many hospitalizations, her little body couldn't fight any more. She earned her angel wings at the young age of 2 years, five months old.
Tell me about Team Sami. How did the team get started, and who are your supporters?
We began participating in the Kidney Kare 5K in 2011, when Sami was 11 months old. We have participated every year in honor and now in memory of our sweet girl and other kidney angels who have touched our lives and our hearts.
We have so many supporters! Our friends and family have supported the race every year. We have friends who have come from near and far to participate. Dean's employer, Crowder Construction Company, has been a huge supporter as well. They encourage their employees to participate by donating and/or racing. This year, they are even raffling an iPad to raise money!
Why do you enjoy supporting the Kidney Kare Run/Walk?
I feel like it is one way we can give back to the team of nurses and doctors who meant so much to us and Sami through her journey. The Kidney Center staff was like family to us. We also want to help spread awareness of kidney disease.
We know so many families of children with kidney disease. Many people don't think about children being on dialysis or needing transplants. If we can help raise awareness of pediatric kidney disease, then we feel like we have made a difference.
Will you run or walk? And have you been training?
I will be walking (with Sami's baby sister, Laurel). Dean will be running. He has been training for this year's event.
How are your fundraising efforts going?
Our fundraising efforts are going well. We are two-thirds of our way to our goal. We enjoy fundraising each year for this event. We know that every single dollar raised makes a difference.
What are you looking forward to on race day?
I look forward to walking for Sami. We also enjoy seeing so many of our friends come out to support this cause. It is always nice to see the friendly faces of some of the doctors and nurses who cared for Sami. (Some are even part of Team Sami!)
To read previously featured participant stories, visit this page.
For more information about the Kidney Kare Run/Walk visit this page.
Date: March 12, 2014
Location: G100 Bondurant
Guest Speaker: Katherine Westreich, MD
Topic: Pediatric Nephrology Conference
Registration is open for the Kidney Kare 5K Run/Walk, which will will take place on Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 8:30 AM at McDougle Middle School in Carrboro, NC. More information about this annual event can be found here. Sign up to participate on active.com.
"Notes of Grace", a benefit concert to support the Vasculitis Foundation, will take place on Saturday, March 22. For more information, view the concert flyer here.
Dr. Ron Falk is the featured speaker in the upcoming Vasculitis Foundation "Road to Wellness" educational series. His webinar "Creating Effective Communication Between Patients and Physicians", will take place on Wednesday, March 26. Click here for more information and to register.
The 28th Annual Meeting of the Glomerular Disease Collaborative Network will take place on Saturday, April 12 and Sunday April 13, 2014. Registration is now open and can be completed at the Charlotte AHEC site.