“The most important thing is accep- tance. You have to accept the fact that you need dialysis to stay alive. You quit, you die.” He knows of patients who “got tired of the machine” and committed suicide by deciding to stop following dialysis treat- ment. “After so many years, I am accustomed to this,” says Pilon. “The biggest problem for a lot of people is transportation.” He is fortunate in that he can drive him- self for treatments. “A lot of people de- pend on others to get here,” he observes. “I do not complain. There is always somebody worse off than me.” The Hawkesbury hemodialysis unit is a satellite of the Ottawa Hospital hemodi- alysis service. The clinic has eight patient stations and can accommodate two pa- tients per day in each station for a total of 32 patients. A computer connection permits a spe- cialist in Ottawa to monitor patients while they are being treated in Hawkesbury.

HAWKESBURY | André Pilon looks at the artificial kidney that has kept him alive for the past 18 years. “This has become part of my life,” he says. He is connected by two tubes to a dialysis machine, one of eight such devices at the Hawkesbury and District General hemodi- alysis unit. The size of a fridge, the mechanical kid- ney will over the course of about four hours, remove toxins from his blood. The 68-year-old Clarence Creek resident travels to the hospital Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “This is a very nice place,” he says of the bright room. “It has windows. The last clinic I went to in Ottawa had no windows – it was like a prison.” Since August 18, 1994, Pilon has been re- ceiving dialysis treatment. He is among the estimated 1.5 million On- tarians who have, or are at risk of develop- ing, kidney disease. September 23, for the first time people in the Hawkesbury area are coming together for the Give the Gift of Life Walk to increase awareness of kidney disease and organ do- nation, while raising funds for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. The walks, which will take place in over 40 Ontario communities, raise money to help kidney patients and their families through research, advocacy, and support programs. You can help people in your community who are affected by kidney disease by par- ticipating or donating to a local walker. Because of the continued support of walkers and donors, The Kidney Foundation of Canada is the national leader in funding kidney research in the country, having pro- vided over $100 million to kidney research initiatives since it was founded in 1964. The walk will be held at Confederation Park, Sunday, September 23. Registration will be held at 10 a.m.; the walk starts at 11 a.m. For more information, please visit or call Craig Dunbar 1-800-387-4474 ext.4562. Acceptance While he is attached to the machine, Pilon passes the time by reading local newspa- pers. “I am a bit of a maniac for newspapers. I read them all,” he remarks. “Being connect to the machine three times a week has become routine for me now,”says Pilon who had previously worked as a school bus driver after retiring from Im- migration Canada. He has one kidney. “I had my right kidney removed years ago. The one I have works but it does not function well enough.” Pilon almost died 18 years ago before his kidney problem was diagnosed. “I was in such a condition that if I had gone asleep, I could have gone into a coma or died.” Over the years, he has been offered the chance to get a transplant. “I am not inter- ested,” he says. A new organ could present new challenges. “And there are no guaran- tees of success,” he adds. “You quit, you die”

Photo Richard Mahoney

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