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Now, The Kidney Foundation offers online peer support for youth and
young adults touched by kidney disease, like Sharmira*.


Kidney disease is commonly mistaken as a “disease for old people.” The myth that kidney health problems only happen to older people is false, and for younger people living with chronic kidney disease, can add to feelings of isolation.

“We don’t want a reality where youth and young adults can have kidney disease,” shares Sharmira, a young adult living on dialysis. “We don’t want to acknowledge it, so we ignore it. That leaves those of us living with it all alone.”


For young people like Sharmira, dialysis, transplant and rejection are all things she can’t talk about with most of her family or friends.
“I get told, ‘Oh you can’t be sick, you’re so young!’ or, ‘You don’t look sick!’ and it makes it hard to accept what you’re going through. You feel like you’ve got to be positive all the time. But, we have to talk about the negative things and take off the mask. It’s okay to be angry and to hate dialysis. It’s okay to feel what you feel because it means you’re choosing to live.”Peer Support Web Banner

The way youth and young adults speak with one another is different from the conversations with their medical care team or their family. Meaning, when your friends don’t know what it’s like to manage a chronic illness, who can you turn to about your anger, your fear, your anxiety or your uncertainty?

The Kidney Foundation of Canada now offers a safe space for youth, from 18-24 years old, and young adults, from 25-35 years old, to share what it’s like navigating life with kidney disease. After speaking with both youth and young adults in the kidney community, the online Kidney Connect peer support groups were launched this summer so young people could access support from across Ontario. The groups are a safe space to talk about issues such as body image as you go through dialysis and transplant, dealing with “moon-face,” facing the possibility of rejection, and juggling treatments with school, work and social situations.

“We’ve got to be able to talk to other patients. Let out what’s happening instead of hiding our illness like we do with our friends. Talking with others is where I get support.”

*name has been changed

If you are a young person looking for support, join us online. Do you know a youth or young adult who is ready to talk? Share information about the online groups with them now.

Remember, for many young people like Sharmira, “just talking about your story makes a difference.” Join the online youth and young adult support groups for free at www.kidneyconnect.ca/groups.

 

Kidney Connect Online - Youth Peer 2 Peer Support Group (18-24 years)

This is your space to feel safe and share your thoughts and feelings. There’s no such thing as #TMI here. We get it and we’re here to help each other. We are youth (18-24) from Ontario we and can talk with you about balancing treatment with family, school, work, and relationships because we’ve been there too. No matter where you are on your #kidneyjourney, let’s talk.

Meet our volunteer youth peer support leaders and meet others touched by kidney disease online.
Connect at http://kidney.ning.com/group/peer2peer or email sadia.baig@kidney.ca

Kidney Connect Online - Young Adult Support Group (25-35 years)

We get it and we’re here to help each other. We are also young adults (25-35) living in Ontario and together, we can talk about balancing treatment with family, school, work, and relationships because we’ve been there too. No matter where you are on your kidney journey, let’s talk.

Meet our volunteer young adult peer support leaders and meet others touched by kidney disease online.
Connect at http://kidney.ning.com/group/ya-support or email sadia.baig@kidney.ca

 

Written by: Natalie Richard

 

 

Ontario Branch - 1599 Hurontario Street, Suite 201, Mississauga, ON L5G 4S1 - Tel.: (905) 278-3003 / 1-800-387-4474
Charitable Registration Number: 107567398RR0001