Credit: Bill Moore Photos

On Nov. 10, the Amsterdam News team walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and back to support colleague and kidney donor Antoinette Donegan. The team, along with other participants, gathered at Foley Square on Sunday morning for the annual Kidney Foundation Walk. Several hundred people, including family and friends, created banners to support those who have faced kidney failure or who have donated a kidney to a loved one or sometimes a stranger.

Kidneys are organs located on the side of your spine in the middle of your back. They perform roles such as removing waste and excess fluid from your blood; maintaining the salt and minerals in your blood; and maintaining a normal blood pressure level. When the kidneys are damaged, fluids and waste products build up in the body, which can cause vomiting, weakness, shortness of breath and other symptoms. If not treated, a diseased kidney may eventually stop functioning completely.

The Kidney Walk is a 5K walk that started at Foley Square and went to the Brooklyn Bridge and back.

Early in the morning, when team members arrived, they were encouraged to meet their fellow team members near the “Team Captain Tent.” When team members met at the tent, they were given banners to write a message or include pictures of their loved one. For the participants, they were given free coffee, breakfast and gifts for little children. There was also live music, a photo booth, a wellness and education tent, a tribute banner, giveaways, face painters and balloon artists.

The walk was endorsed by several kidney centers, including the Rogosin Institute, one New York City kidney centers, that provides education about kidney disease and treatment options. The centers want people who aren’t aware of the choices to get the information and help that will treat their disease, along with the right therapy to help them change their lifestyle.