Today is World Kidney Day: Renfrew's Delaney Holley up for the #sixdegreechallenge

·2 min read

From the time she could walk, Renfrew’s Delaney Holley, together with her sisters, mother and grandmother, would go out canvassing and collecting donations for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

The 2014 Miss Intercontinental Canada winner, singer and model has family members with kidney disease.

“In 2009, after years of working with the Kidney Foundation, my grandmother Rita Burnett was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney. The affected kidney was removed and she is now in good health,” Holley said.

Her mother’s cousin, June Jones, battled kidney disease for more than 35 years. Jones had a kidney transplant and is on the waiting list for her second.

“She is a true fighter who, while leading her own battle, strives to raise awareness for the cause,” said Holley.

Four million Canadians — that’s one in 10 — live with kidney disease, and there is no cure.

“Kidneys are vital organs that our bodies need to remove toxins and filter waste from our blood stream. I don’t think people realize that 77 per cent of Canadians on the organ transplant list are waiting for kidneys,” she added.

Having participated in numerous pageants, including Miss Teen Canada, Holley took great pride speaking about and being an ambassador for the Kidney Foundation.

On World Kidney Day (March 11), the Kidney Foundation is hosting a 24-hour fundraiser encouraging people to make a donation at www.sixdegreechallenge.ca. The foundation is aiming to raise $40,000 to go toward research, programs and services to help kidney patients.

The digital fundraising campaign asks people to post a photo on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) and to hold up six fingers, tag six friends and use the hashtag #SixDegreeChallenge.

“Because kidney disease is an invisible or silent illness the conversation isn’t as big as it needs to be, educating people is the first step towards making an impact,” Holley said.

Holley said that, “even if you don’t have a clear personal connection to a cause, it is your duty to help out when and where you can. We all have a duty to community … small actions can create large ripples.”

For more information, visit https://kidney.ca or call 1-800-387-4474.

Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News