Become a sock star to combat kidney disease

Deborah and Steve Day

Kidney Health Australia is calling on Coast residents to become “sock stars” to help combat kidney disease during October and Forresters Beach resident Deborah Day was among the first to sign up.

Residents are encouraged to register their own Red Socks Fitness Challenge.

Even buying a pair of Red Socks to wear throughout October can help raise funds to fight kidney disease.

The Kidney Health Australia Red Sock Appeal is under way and aims to raise funds for early detection activities and support services to alleviate the impact and harm kidney disease causes.

Day took part in a virtual walk fundraiser on October 10.

Her husband Steve is affected by kidney disease and has been on dialysis three times a week for the last three and a half years.

“He does it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and all up it takes six hours,” Day said.

“He does it from home and does it all himself, and he’s currently waiting for a transplant and the waitlist is up to six years for his blood type.”

Day is encouraging the community to back the cause and is advocating for people to register to be an organ donor.

“Just be aware of your kidney health, and support Kidney Health Australia,” she said.

“There are people from all walks of life, both young and old, who need a kidney, and I encourage everyone to become an organ donor.

“I am getting people to buy the red socks and we will be posting their photo on our fundraising website.

“I’m also getting everyone to post a photo of themselves on October 15 wearing the socks as that is our wedding anniversary.

“I think I’ve raised $1,000 all up.

“I bought over $400 worth of socks to on-sell and I’m asking everyone I know to buy a pair.”

Kidney Health Australia Chief Executive Officer, Chris Forbes, said the idea behind the Red Socks Appeal was to recognise the countless hours that people of all ages with kidney failure spend hooked to a lifesaving dialysis machine to help clean their body of toxins.

“A little-known fact about kidney disease is that people with kidney failure can spend 60 hours or more a month hooked to a dialysis machine to keep them alive,” Forbes said.

“Dialysis machines basically clean the blood of toxins, so it’s filtered out of the body and then returned, and this takes on average five hours at a time, three times a week.

“This process plus the long hours in the chair can leave patients feeling fatigued and quite cold, so a blanket and warm pair of socks is a must to get them through it.

“We’d love people to put themselves in the socks of someone living with kidney disease and run, ride, walk, hop, skip of dance their way through October to raise money for our courageous kidney community.”

Money raised from the Red Sock Appeal will fund services such as the Kidney Helpline, Kidney Kids and Youth Program, Transplant House and the Big Red Kidney Bus.

Of the 1.7M Australians affected by kidney disease, 1.5M are unaware they are living with the early signs of the disease.

“The shocking fact about kidney disease is that a person can lose up to 90 per cent before any symptoms are apparent,” Forbes said.

“A person could be relatively fine one day and the next they could be in hospital facing a life sentence of continuous dialysis or on a transplant list, waiting for a suitable kidney donor.

“We need to prevent people reaching this point, so the Red Sock Appeal is also a great opportunity to raise more awareness around the impact this disease has on people’s lives and that of their families and drive early detections.

“In this age of COVID-19, we’ve made sure the event has something for everyone; if people can’t get out to raise money, they can still wear Red Socks and support us in their living rooms and on social media.

“This is a community event that everyone can get behind.”

To find out more and register for the Kidney Health Red Sock Appeal, visit

Harry Mulholland