4th November 2018, Patients’ Participation in Keningau’s Charity Run

Kidney disease can affect anyone of any age. Some people are born with a kidney condition, whilst others acquire it later in life. Every year in Malaysia, more than 4,000 people start dialysis treatments because their kidneys have stopped working and dialysis is needed to remove extra fluid and waste from their bodies. Most patients starting on dialysis are unprepared for how demanding it is and they frequently wonder if they can ever adjust to it.

We share below inspiring stories of five patients who faced and overcame the challenges of dialysis. Through their participation in a charity event, we learn that dialysis can be managed, and normal and active lives are possible. They come from a wide age range, and they work and live normally like the rest of us. Mr. Basil looks after his own farm, Ms Helnny is a young mother raising a preschool child and running her restaurant at the same time.

The event was a 10 km charity run and walk organised by Tzu Chi Charity on 4 November 2018 at Keningau, Sabah. The event was to raise funds for Hospital Keningau to expand and upgrade its dialysis ward for the growing number of patients in need of dialysis. The event titled ‘With Love to Kidney Patients’ attracted 3,000 participants. Nine patients from RenalTeam participated and completed the run and walk.

Mr. Basil Bin Gagu

Mr. Basil Bin Gagu, 60 years old, is a retired Forest Officer who is on dialysis since 2012. His kidneys failed due to long-term complications from hypertension and diabetes. An active person, dialysis has not stopped him from his farm where he plants fruits and vegetables. He takes care of the amount of fluid he consumes and controls his diet as taught by his nurses. He is also aware of taking care of his fistula.

Participating in the 10km run was a proud moment for Mr. Basil. Not only did he finish ahead of his teammates, he also beat some healthy and younger participants. “This shows that age and kidney failure cannot stop me from completing 10 km while some healthy participants are not able to complete the distance”, said Mr Basil. He was also the winner of a big hamper in the lucky draw held after the event, it was certainly a memorable day for him.

Mr. June Minin

Mr. June Minin, 54 years old started dialysis in 2016 and has adjusted to it. He is more confident now in public and around his family. He participated in the run to show that he is not going to be limited by his illness.

RenalTeam’s nurse Pauline who accompanied Mr. June said “Mr. June’s spirit was inspiring during the run, even though he has kidney problem he was able to walk 10 km and control his fluid intake. The moral value that I learned was humanity, to help and respect each other. The event was fun and enjoyable because we can help kidney patients to remain healthy and support Tzu Chi Charity. Mr. June enjoyed himself. He had no problem and safely crossed the finish line. In conclusion, kidney disease is not an obstacle to participate in an outdoor activity. Mr. June was more confident and said he wants to join such events to improve his health.”

Ms. Helnny Angkabun with Ms Grace

Ms. Helnny Angkabun, age 27, is a mother with a preschool daughter. She and her husband run a small restaurant in front of RenalTeam’s centre in Keningau. Ms. Helnny had worked in Singapore and returned to Sabah in 2016. It was during this period when she was in pregnancy that she was diagnosed with kidney failure.

On 4 November 2018, Ms. Helnny completed the 10 km distance with her five-year old daughter Grace waiting for her at the finish line. It was a happy occasion as it was a distance she could not have imagined completing when she started dialysis. The event was also a proud moment for RenalTeam’s staff to see how far their patients have come. Ms. Helnny said the reason she participated was she wanted “to feel better health”. Although she has kidney failure, she wanted to be happy and is excited “to live normally like other healthy people”. She said she was tired, but happy because she met a lot of people and she looks forward to participating again with her daughter.

Madam Mailin

Madam Mailin, 52 years old, has been receiving dialysis treatments for 3 years and continues to work as a clerk assistance. When asked about her experience after the run, she said that she was very happy and excited. “Even though I am a kidney patient, I can still finish the 10 km by walking,” Mailin said. She narrated that she had muscle aches the day after the run, but that was nothing compared to the experience and the memory she shall cherish forever. She concluded that she is grateful that she can spend time in an activity where she can laugh together with other people especially her friends and staff from RenalTeam, to release her anxiety, and sweat it out. She also hopes that she will be able to join the run again.

Madam Painah

Madam Painah, a dotting 64 years old grandmother with 10 grandchildren from 2 to 15 years old, did not let her age stop her from participating in the run. Interviewed after the event, she said the reason for her participation was the challenge of completing the distance. Madam Painah was able to finish the 10 km and she was very happy and satisfied as she never thought she can finish the walk. Madam Painah added that the happiness and exciting experience she has gained was worth the tiredness she felt. She also said that she is looking to participate again. Some of the benefits Madam Painah felt she had gained were physical and mental health and social interactions with her family and friends and members of her nursing team who are family to her.

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