Dialysis patient helps spread word
Deborah Downey loved to dance. It wasn’t unusual for her to go out dancing more than once a week; she was even taking ballroom dancing lessons. Now she takes life at a much slower pace.
Downey was diagnosed with hypertension-related renal failure in 2010.
“It’s a totally different life,” she said. “You have to make adjustments.”
Downey receives dialysis treatments at DaVita Dialysis three times a week, and the treatments can cause muscle cramps and leave her feeling dizzy and exhausted.
However, she isn’t about to let her dialysis treatments dim her spirit. She staggers her activities to make them more manageable, and when she needs help, her daughter runs errands for her.
“You try your best to carry on a normal life as much as you can,” Downey said. “Renal failure is a scary thing. In some cases, there are things that people can do to prevent the disease.”
Downey works with the American Kidney Fund and volunteers her time at some of the organization’s events to help raise awareness for renal failure and the conditions that cause it, including diabetes and hypertension.
In October, she volunteered at the American Kidney Funds Kidney Action Day 2012.
“Renal failure is like a silent disease,” she said. “Nobody talks about it. Very few people are aware of it unless they have someone in their family, or someone they know personally, who has it. Unless the person with renal failure tells someone, no one can tell.”
In addition to raising awareness for renal failure, Downey also works to raise awareness of the work that the American Kidney Fund is doing to help patients.
“Having renal failure is very expensive,” she said. “The American Kidney Fund assists a lot of us with a portion of some of the insurance premiums.”
When she’s not receiving her dialysis treatments or raising awareness for renal failure, Downey enjoys sewing, fabric painting and growing various plants.
To learn more about renal failure or the American Kidney Fund, visit www.kidneyfund.org.
ABOUT DEBORAH DOWNEY
OCCUPATION: Financial adviser
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Receives treatment at DaVita Dialysis in Bellaire
FAST FACT: Enjoys reading
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