The Ottumwa Courier


October 15, 2012

Loy family hopes to help others battling kidney disease

Kidney Walk offers hope, direction, community



Family moves forward, honors Tripp through foundation

Today, there is no cure for kidney disease, aside from transplants.

Once a person gets to the point where dialysis is required, at some point he or she will likely need a kidney transplant.

“That’s why live organ donation is such a huge, important piece of this,” Alisha said. “I gave a kidney. I’m still here. You only need one.”

On Saturday, the Southeast Iowa Kidney Walk surpassed its $5,000 goal, despite rainy weather.

The Loys, of Walcott and originally of Ottumwa, have participated in the National Kidney Walk in eastern Iowa for the last two years. This year, they heard from several people that Jami Kaelin and Kristin Wilson were organizing the Southeast Iowa Kidney Walk in Ottumwa. On Saturday, nearly 20 people turned out for “Team Tripp,” organized by Terry Loy, Tripp’s aunt, and her coworker, Lori Rushman.

At the 2012 Eastern Iowa Walk, a group of more than 50 came out with Team Tripp, which included family as well as the nephrology team at the University of Iowa.

“They’re our family,” Alisha said. “They’re Tripp’s family.”

She said her role at kidney walks now is to make them children-friendly.

“I think a lot of times people don’t recognize that kidney disease affects people of all ages,” Alisha said.

The National Kidney Foundation focuses on adults, Alisha said, so there is a need for attention on children and families.

“It’s that holistic approach, especially when you’re dealing with children,” Alisha said. “They’re so dependent upon other people in their life. It’s not like they get to choose whether they take that med. Somebody else has to draw it up, somebody else has to give it to them, somebody has to time it, to know when it’s given.”

More attention also needs to be paid to the trauma children and their siblings endure, Alisha said.

“Every time they get poked, every time they get stuck, every time mom or dad rushes out in the middle of the night and that kid wakes up and thinks, ‘Where’s my brother? Where’s my mom?’” Alisha said.

Watching paramedics rush into the house can also be traumatic, Karen said.

“We’re focusing on how do we lessen that,” Alisha said. “How do we create plans for them to minimize that trauma and wrap services around them to get the support that they need.”

This November, The TRIPP Foundation will file for tax-exemption, securing their status as a non-profit organization. Alisha hopes the organization will help families with price planning, case coordination, advocacy, financial support and more.

“We hope to pick up where the hospital leaves off with discharge,” Alisha said.

The Southeast Iowa Kidney Walk provides the opportunity for another partner, Alisha said, which will help the foundation span throughout Iowa.

“There’s all kinds of people all over the place with kidney disease,” she said. “It’s not just one child.”

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