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News Release

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 -- For Immediate Release-
Attention : News Desks/Assignment Desks/City Editors/Health Reporters

Mandatory declaration for organ donation debated as Kidney Health Day kicks off

While legislators debate a private member's bill dealing with the issue of organ donation inside the Ontario Legislature on Thursday, March 30th, Kidney Health Day will kick off outside in hopes that education and
prevention will reduce the need for kidney transplants in the future. MPP Frank Klees' bill proposes that every Ontarian 16 years of age or older be required by law to make a declaration concerning organ donation when they apply for, or renew a driver's license or health card.

The debate comes on Kidney Health Day at Queen's Park, an event aimed at increasing awareness of kidney disease and the need for more kidney donors in the province among MPPs and government staff. Volunteers and staff will be available throughout the day, promoting the importance of keeping kidneys healthy, offering a free Blood Pressure Screening Clinic, and providing information about the work of The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Kidney disease is a growing public health concern in the province. An estimated 800,000 Ontarians have kidney disease or are at risk, particularly people with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.
Over 10,000 people are on dialysis and over 1,300 are currently waiting for a kidney transplant.

"Kidney disease can strike anyone," said kidney patient Wayne Sampson, who was born with one kidney and was on peritoneal dialysis before receiving a transplant from his daughter last year. "There isn't a day that passes that I don't appreciate my new gift of life and I can only wish that all those who are waiting for a transplant could someday have the same experience."

"It is important for everyone to realize that it is not only a hereditary disease but can be brought on by other conditions. High blood pressure and diabetes are just two things that can lead to kidney failure and it's important to educate as many people as possible, through every means possible and perhaps save some from reaching a critical point."

"The incidence of kidney disease in Ontario has risen enormously in the past twenty years and unfortunately we expect to see the number of cases double in the next decade," says Janet Bick, Director of Government and Professional Relations for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. "A combination
of physical inactivity and unhealthy diets means more people in Ontario are being diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure, both leading causes of kidney failure."

"The good news is that early detection and management of kidney disease can prevent or delay progress, improve patient outcomes and save health care costs," says Bick. "And increasing the number of organs available for transplantation will save the lives of many more Ontarians."

March is Kidney Health Month across Canada with volunteer canvassers from the Kidney Foundation going door-to-door to raise funds to assist in research, treatment and support for people with kidney disease.

Established in 1964, The Kidney Foundation of Canada has awarded more than $73 million to support kidney-related research, helping millions of Canadians suffering from kidney failure and related disorders such as high blood pressure, kidney stones, diabetes and urinary tract infections.

For more information, visit www.kidney.on.ca

- ENDS -

Wayne Sampson
Wayne Sampson discovered in 1980 that he was born with just one kidney and had Polycystic Kidney Disease, a hereditary disease passed on from his mother. Wayne had lived for 33 years without knowing there was any problem and continued to do so until 2002. From then until now, Wayne has been involved in pre-dialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis, and in July 2005 received a kidney transplant from his daughter. Both are doing very well following the procedure.

By the numbers

Of the 4,054 Canadians on the waiting list for a transplant (as of December 2004) 2,872 were awaiting a kidney transplant.

Over 1,300 Ontarians are waiting for a kidney transplant, some as long as ten years.

It is estimated that 2 million Canadians have chronic kidney disease or are at risk - most don't know it because the symptoms are silent.

Each day, an average of 14 Canadians learns that their kidneys have failed.

Media contacts:

Iain McLaren, Communications Coordinator
The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Central Ontario Branch
416-445-0373, ext. 229, imclaren@kidney.on.ca

Trish Reynolds, Communications Manager
The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Greater Ontario Branch
905-318-8627 ext. 19, gob.communications@bellnet.ca

Pamela Logan, Communications Manager
The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Eastern Ontario Branch
(613) 724-9953, pam@kidney.ca

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