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Local News October 4, 2012  RSS feed

Walking To Fight Kidney Diseases

Flushing Paramedic Helps Charity

A Flushing paramedic will be among more than 7,000 walkers who will step up for the 11th Annual New York City Kidney Walk this Sunday, Oct. 14, in Manhattan to raise funds for the National Kidney Foundation.

Victor Potito, 36 of Flushing, has been a paramedic with the FDNY for 16 years. He worked at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and trains EMTs at Queensborough Community College.

“He’s my hero,” said Ana Vivanco, who married Potito in August.

While Potito has dedicated his life to serving those in need of urgent medical care, he also has to care for himself. Potito has polycystic kidney disease, and will at some point need to go on dialysis or have a kidney transplant.

Potito has known about his condition since he was 23, and has been able to slow the decline of his kidney function through healthy habits, weight loss and a careful diet.

“The best thing I can say is, go to your doctor and keep up with your health problems,” he said. “Sooner or later it ends up getting the best of you and if you take care of it now it could lead to living a longer life.”

Vivanco is hoping that her new husband will be able to continue his important work saving lives in New York despite the hard road ahead. To spread awareness and build a support network, they are getting involved with the National Kidney Founda- tion, and will participate in the Kidney Walk along with thousands of others who are fighting kidney disease, including Nick Cannon, entertainer and host of America’s Got Talent.

“I walk because I want him around until he’s 95,” Vivanco said.”But PKD does progress and leads to kidney failure. So raising awareness about kidney disease and the need for organ donation is very important to me and our family.”

The kidney walk is a non-competitive 5K stroll that raises funds to fight kidney disease through prevention, advocacy and education. The walk also raises awareness of the need for organ donors—in New York alone, 7,800 are waiting for life-saving kidney transplants.

The walk will be held at South Street Seaport in Manhattan and will go over the historic Brooklyn Bridge. Onsite registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 10:30 a.m. Walkers participate as individuals or form teams with family, friends or colleagues. Walkers are encouraged to fundraise for the event.

Those interested in getting involved or supporting a walker can visit www.kidneywalk.org.

The 2012 Kidney Walk is sponsored by Thomson Reuters, Fox 5, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, American Access Care, NxStage, Epstein Becker Green, and Donnelly Mechanical Corp

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to the prevention of kidney disease, improving the health and well-being of patients and families affected by this disease and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.

For more information or to support the event, call the National Kidney Foundation serving Greater New York at 1-212-889-2210 ext. 203 or visit www.kidneywalk.org.