Peer Support Worker for people who have kidney disease and/or that are on Dialysis. I also have kidney disease.

The most rewarding thing about my job is that I can help and guide people who fight kidney disease. I love hearing people's stories and their journey with kidney diseases and dialysis. Also the best part about my job is when I hear that the patient I’ve been helping got a kidney transplant. It is the best feeling in the world.

The hardest part of my job is when people say they are loosing hope and/or they feel like the world is ending and I can’t help them or give them advice.

People should understand that having kidney disease or going to dialysis treatment is basically a part time job. Also we should have more awareness about it too. Not a lot of people know that kidney disease can hit anyone at any age. People need to be more educated and get more information.

People just need to be aware that kidney disease is a serious thing like cancer or HIV/AIDS. More advertisement would be great because I always see information about other diseases but not kidney disease. 

I think we need more Peer Support Workers because it is very helpful for patients to know that there are people that have a lot of experience with kidney disease. They can share their story, lived experience, struggles they face and basically help people who are new to kidney disease or need help understanding. Plus I know I personally would be more open to talking to a Peer Support Worker than a health professional because they don’t judge you.

There is also a need for more education or information sessions about kidney disease. I know most of the people I work with, they say they didn’t get a whole lot of information about their disease.

My view on kidney failure is that I have a passion to help these patients who are struggling and I try to tell them it’s okay, I’m here to help. People with kidney failure are facing this disease alone or family members are not really educated and so don't understand what they go through. That’s why I have a different mind set and just have a positive attitude. If I can help one person and make them smile then I’ve done my job. Mostly people get depressed and you can see them struggling that’s why I’m there to help them.

I also have kidney disease. I’ve had it since I was born. I have been on Hemodialysis just over 2 years. Also I just recently found out that I’ve been put on to a priority list and hopefully I can get a kidney transplant in the next 6 months.

Location: Vancouver, BC Canada