Softball Australia Sport Development Manager Ben Utting joined 1500 other walkers to help raise awareness of kidney disease.
I’ve never had an issue with kidney disease personally, but the partnership between Kidney Health and Softball Australia is teaching me a lot.
Walking to the Tan (Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens) on a sunny Sunday morning on 10 September with the 1500 other walkers was a sight to see. I notice a sea of red shirts, hats and silly costumes, laughs and excitement about the event. There is a stage, some marquees and the music is starting. There are food trucks and a coffee van that has a line 30 people deep already. I find my way to the registration tent and a friendly face passes me a registration card that I pin to the front of my jumper. On the card it displays a number then the start of a sentence “I walk because…..”, then a gap.
“The Gap” begins to tell the story about why people turned up today. As I walk around I find myself reading the words written across their shirts. What happens next? I turn around and bump into an old friend. She tells me that she has suffered from a kidney disease for five years. I had no idea.
The penny drops. This is a real disease that affects a lot of people, just like me!
I read dozens of shirts that tell part of the story. I walk because – “I love my Dad”, “I love my Mum”, “Because I should”, “My Nanna has kidney failure”, “My sister needs a kidney”, “My poppy was a legend”, “Wendy told me to”, (and on Wendy’s shirt) “because I need a kidney”.
I run into a family of five. Mum’s and Dad’s shirts both read, “My son has kidney disease”. A young girl next to them is wearing a shirt that reads, “My little brother has kidney disease”. An older boy’s shirt reads, “My little brother has kidney disease”. Then a little boy, lively and full of beans, no more than four years old, has a shirt that reads “I need a kidney”. It breaks your heart.
Each one tells only part of the story, but it’s moving and gets you thinking that just by turning up and donating a little, it makes a difference to people’s lives, it’s a great cause!
Come and join us for a hit and a few laughs in Melbourne as we host a Social Softball Event on October 30 to raise money and awareness for Kidney Health.
If you are interested in working with Softball Australia to host a fundraiser for Kidney Health please contact Softball Australia.