Front and center in the National Kidney Foundation’s Northeast Ohio Kidney Walk on Sunday at Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, will be a brother and sister from Copley.
They’ll support each other and others during this awareness and fundraising walk, as they do on their daily journey battling a very rare kidney disease. Registration is at 8 a.m. followed by the walk at 9.
Sean Roach of the National Kidney Foundation shared their story:
“Siblings are often handed down the same traits, everything from hair color to height, but sometimes the genetic roll of the dice results in something unprecedented. For Rachel Sudhakaran, 29, and Neil Sudhakaran, 27, their parents’ pairing produced an extremely rare form of polycystic kidney disease.
“PKD led to kidney failure for both Rachel and Neil during their teenage years. Rachel was lucky enough to receive a transplant on the day she was scheduled to start dialysis. Neil, however, ended up having to start dialysis during his junior year of high school.”
Neil received a kidney when he was 18. Both of their transplanted kidneys eventually failed, Rachel’s after 10 years, Neil’s after four. They went back on dialysis, and moved in together for convenience and support.
“Now Rachel, an eighth-grade science teacher, has a new kidney that was gifted to her from a former co-worker’s husband, while Neil works full time and goes to dialysis at night,” Roach continued. “Both are using their unique experience to educate others about kidney disease and organ donation” at the walk, which generates funds for programs aimed at curbing the disease in Northeast Ohio.
To register for the walk or to volunteer, please visit www.kidneywalk.org.
“The walk is something that puts kidney disease out there for us,” Neil said. “People know we’re sick, but they don’t know the extent or what kidney disease does to people. This is an easy way to get that conversation started.
“It’s also a chance to meet others who have to go through what we’ve gone through. I want them to know this is a life-changing illness, but it doesn’t have to be life-ending.”
The Sudhakarans want you to know that more than 26 million Americans — that’s one in nine adults — suffer from chronic kidney disease, and most don’t even know it; 73 million American adults are at risk due to high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history.
Presently there are at least 2,700 people waiting for a kidney transplant in Ohio, waiting to return to a normal life.
Good deeds appreciated
Big, beautiful bouquets to Revere Middle School’s Rachel’s Challenge Group for fanning out into the community on a recent Saturday, spreading more than 100 random acts of kindness.
Rachel’s Challenge — with many chapters across the country — was inspired by Rachel Scott, the first victim in the 1999 Columbine School shooting. “Her acts of kindness and compassion, coupled with the contents of her six diaries, have become the foundation for one of the most life-changing school programs in America,” wrote Revere Middle School parent Bunny Oldham.
“Some critics say that the Pay It Forward Day only lasts for one day, and kids should be nice every day. We are also questioned, ‘Why choose a prosperous area such a Fairlawn to do acts of kindness because people are not in need when they are buying coffee?’ The answer is simple. This weekend, the kids did not look for anyone in ‘need’ of anything more than a pick-me-up or a kind gesture. The Rachel’s Challenge club promotes compassion and kindness, encouraging the community to start a chain reaction of kindness. …
“This weekend served as a reminder to the kids, as well as the recipients, that a single act of kindness can change someone’s day. No one knows what their neighbor is going through. What harm can be done, with a smile, a simple ‘good morning,’ or a helping hand towards a loved one or a stranger? In some instances, the recipient received $5 but it could have been $50 and the reaction and feeling would have been the same.”
Here are few of the reactions from those on the receiving end of the local Rachel’s Challenge as shared by Oldham:
• Parents at Chuck E Cheese used the opportunity to teach their young children about the kind acts the teenagers were doing.
• A young father whose son was playing with trains at Toys R Us was given money toward a toy for his son. He said he was a juvenile detention officer in another county and was not used to seeing the positive side of youth.
• Another man was given some money for his breakfast at Bob Evans and was so touched by the actions that he walked over to a group of the middle-schoolers with tears in his eyes to tell them. He said he was a bus driver, believed in what they were doing and encouraged them to study hard and continue their mission.
Rachel’s Challenge is operated under the auspices of the school’s PTA.
Congratulations to graduating Mogadore High School senior Michael Berger not only for his scholarly accomplishments (he’s an honor graduate) but also for his perfect attendance record.
“Mike has not missed a single day of school ever,” his proud grandfather Ron Black wrote.
“That includes preschool all the way to graduation. Mike attended Chapel Hill Christian School for the first six years before moving to the Mogadore school system.”
Mike, son of Michael and Missy Berger of Mogadore, will attend the University of Akron’s School of Engineering in the fall.
Helping victims in Boston
Students at Akron’s St. Sebastian Parish School have again shown themselves to be good citizens not only of Akron, Summit County and Ohio, but also this nation, by collecting and donating to those affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
“Students designed bracelets with the BOSTONSTRONG logo and date, and sold them during and after school,” reported school spokeswoman Michelle Huber. “The students also donated money for the chance to wear jeans instead of their school uniforms. … Student Council, who organized this event, collected over $800 that will be donated to One Fund Boston. This victim relief fund is used to assist those families whose loved ones were killed and the victims who were most seriously affected as a result of the tragic events during the Boston Marathon.”
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com.