By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) announced that he will be in attendance at this year's "Footprints in the Sand" Kidney Walk, an event that draws thousands to the Space Coast area each year.
"It's an honor to again take part in this year's Kidney Walk," the congressman said.
The walk will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, at the Cocoa Beach Pier.
"The National Kidney Foundation of Florida currently puts on seven walks across the state of Florida," said Savanna Pitard, regional development manager for the National Kidney Foundation. "The Cocoa Beach Kidney Walk is our only beach walk. It gives us an opportunity to educate people about the importance of organ donation and to thank any living donors and their families."
Congressman Posey said he hopes to draw attention to "high cost" of medications, covered under Medicare for individuals, who have received kidney transplants.
"One of the many challenges that organ transplant recipients face is the high cost of immunosuppressive medications, which help the body adjust to new donor organs," he said. "Currently, Medicare covers the cost of kidney transplant surgeries, but only temporarily covers the cost of medications, which are needed to prevent rejection. After three years, coverage is cancelled. That just defies common sense, and I've cosponsored legislation to fix this problem (H.R. 1428), which will ultimately save lives and Medicare resources."
According to Medicare.gov, Medicare coverage will end 12 months after the month when dialysis treatments stop or 36 months after the month of a kidney transplant.
However, Medicare coverage will be extended if dialysis is started again; or a kidney transplant happens within 12 months after the month when dialysis stopped; or if dialysis starts or another transplant takes place within 36 months after the month of the original transplant, the website states.
Dialysis is a treatment that cleans the blood when the kidneys stop working, ridding harmful waste, extra salt and fluids that build in the body. It also controls blood pressure and helps the body keep the right amount of fluids.
The walk, which was created by local surfing legend, the late Rich Salick, will begin with a "Circle of Life" paddle-out, followed by a Zumba class on the beach to warm-up for the 5K, noncompetitive walk.
The day's events will conclude with a "Sand Castles of Hope" contest for children of all ages.
"The Cocoa Beach Footprints in the Sand Kidney Walk is a revival for the many of us, who have been given a second chance," said Bill Hahn, walk chairman and kidney transplant recipient. "It's a special event that brings together friends living in our community with organ donors and recipients to meet on the beach to share stories about the gift of life. I hope folks will join us to walk the walk, make (their) mark and save a life."
"The Footprints in the Sand Kidney Walk" will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, at the Cocoa Beach Pier. The paddle-out and registration both begin at 8:30 a.m.
To learn more about kidney disease, visit the National Kidney Foundation's website at www.kidney.org.