Aussie stars Stephen Curry, Michala Banas step up for kidney health

Two of Australia’s favourite personalities, comedian Stephen Curry and actor Michala Banas, have united to raise awareness for kidney health disease – and their crusade is personal.

Michala and Stephen have developed light-hearted but important videos promoting kidney health to encourage Aussies to put on their red socks and sign up for the Red Sock Run this October to combat kidney disease. Michala almost lost her life when she was six years with an illness that required surgery to remove most of her left kidney in a life-saving operation.

Why is the campaign so personal?

She was born with a duplicated ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder) that wasn’t discovered until her body had almost been fatally poisoned. “The doctors couldn’t work out what was wrong with me, but my parents sought a second opinion, and it turned out a scan revealed my kidney condition. I was rushed into surgery straight away,” Michala explained.

“But I am one of the lucky ones, and I am so grateful for it. I am hyper-vigilant about my body now and my kidney. Kidney disease is a silent killer. A person can lose up to ninety per cent of kidney function before any symptoms are apparent. It is so important to ask your GP for an annual kidney health check because you never know,” Michala further commented.

On the other hand, Stephen Curry’s great friend, Lesley, suffers from kidney failure. Diagnosed with Goodpasture Syndrome at 29, the mother of one has end stage renal disease with 1% kidney function. She is strapped to a dialysis machine three days a week to keep her alive while she awaits a transplant – and she has been waiting for 11 years.

Stephen is determined to share her story to raise awareness and encourage people to be part of the Red Socks Run, to support people like Lesley living with kidney disease. “Raising awareness for kidney disease is so close to my heart, as Lesley is like family,” Stephen said.

“For 12 years she has been through hell and back. She has endured over 40 operations and has been on dialysis for 11 years while she waits for a life-saving transplant. Kidney disease is insidious, and I’ve seen firsthand the impact it has on someone and their loved ones.”

How can Aussies play a part?

Michala and Stephen came up with the idea of developing a series of videos to raise awareness about kidney disease and inspire Australians to run, walk or ride like a life depends on it. The Red Socks Run begins on October 1 and you can sign up now for the free challenge to run, walk or ride 60km over the month of October to combat kidney disease.

Participants can do the Red Socks Run in their own time and at their own pace. Sign up as an individual or as part of a team. They’ll be supporting the life of someone living with this debilitating and deadly disease. “The Red Socks Run 60km challenge was inspired by people living with kidney failure who require life-saving dialysis,” Michala further explained.

“On average they spend 60 hours per month strapped to a machine to clean their blood and they are cold during treatment so many wear socks, hence the red socks in honour of these brave people.” Kidney Health Australia is determined to prevent more people reaching kidney failure and enduring a lifetime on dialysis. With 1.5 million Australians unaware they have the early signs of the disease, the Red Socks Run also aims to raise vital awareness.

On average, 63 people in Australia will die every day with kidney-related disease. The Red Socks Run helps to fund life-changing treatments and vital support services for those living with the disease. To sign up for the Kidney Health Red Socks Run, visit redsocksrun.org.au.