Patience buys precious little peace of mind for people confronted with kidney disease.
They draw upon it with every visit to a renal clinic for dialysis. They hook up to it each night if they have home dialysis.
They hope that patience and perseverance will see them through as they wait - sometimes five, sometimes eight years - for a donor who might possibly assure them of a life-saving kidney transplant.
Sometimes they can die waiting, and knowing that makes the wait all the more trying for everyone involved.
B.C. has the longest median wait time in the country and one of the lowest percentages of donor registration, grim facts that were front of mind for participants at the fourth annual Kidney Walk on Sunday.
"It's a very under-represented disease," said event co-ordinator Jen Harbaruq, whose daughter is a kidney transplant survivor.
"The goal this year is to see 100 people registered to become donors," she said to a small but enthusiastic turnout.
After a couple of hours in the hot sun, a donor registration list had not a single name entered. At last year's walk they registered one new donor.
"Fifteen per cent of 'BCers' have registered online to be an organ donor," Harbaruq noted. "That pales in comparison to the Canadian average."
Increasing public awareness of donor demand is one of the main goals of the walk/run event, which drew about 40 participants.
Dialysis may be a life extender, but it's not a remedy, participants said.
"It's a Band-Aid," Linda Bonner-Brown said as a member of the Memorial Team on Sunday. Team members had photos of their lost loved ones pinned to their shirts. A Scooter Team, another bid to boost participation, was also on hand.
"Without it, there would be no hope," said Barbara Sheldon, who received a transplanted kidney six years ago.
"I'm doing well, considering," she said, listing other health factors such as diabetes and aging. "As far as the kidney's concerned, it's excellent."
She and her husband have been able to travel again and enjoy their retirement together.
Transplants also save money, a critical factor in the face of escalating health-care costs and the aging demographic. Over a five-year period, a transplant is estimated to be $250,000 less expensive per patient than dialysis, yet it enables a substantial improvement in quality of life.
"We need more donors, that's the problem," Sheldon said. "We need more people to not be afraid and to be bold and to give up a kidney."
Kamloops's registration rate of 23 per cent is above the B.C. average, but it's overall registration needs to be greater to make the system work.
Dorothy Drinnan and her husband, Daily News sports editor Gregg Drinnan, know that all too well. After five years of waiting, she's scheduled for a transplant next month.
Her unusual blood type - B-positive - may have been a complicating factor. Three years after joining a live-donor exchange program, she got the good news a couple of weeks ago.
The wait - never mind the dialysis regimen - is an ordeal in itself. The problem is that not enough people are registering.
"And I don't know why," Gregg said. "People really need to do the research to see what's involved in being a living donor."
Donors, far from suffering consequences, can actually live longer than they would have otherwise, he noted. Their average life expectancy is greater because health checks required for organ donation can catch other health issues at an early stage.
"Just look into it. Just do the research," Gregg said.
"It is shocking to see, since we got involved, the number of people with kidney disease," he added. "I had no idea."
The growing demand has some wondering whether Canada should adopt an opt-out donor system rather than an opt-in one. In countries such as Australia, Spain and Austria, all citizens are considered potential donors unless they choose to opt out.
That would certainly reduce the number of people on dialysis, Harbaruq said.
"A lot of people die waiting for a kidney," she said. "If we can just increase that awareness. We're hoping to change that, but unfortunately, with kidney disease unfortunately, until it affects you, you don't personally get on board."