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Dissected kidney intrigues students, with a purpose

The science department at Westside Secondary school yesterday dissected pig’s kidneys in a bid to raise awareness on World Kidney Day.

The students experienced both intrigue and amazement during the event.

Sean Ballester, a member of the Gibraltar Dialysis committee, said: “We felt it was very important to show students a visual of what kidneys are like. We often learn from a textbook and it is never the same as what it is like seeing it live.”

“So the science teachers had the brilliant idea of dissecting pig’s kidneys because they are the ones that resemble ours the most,” he added.

Mr Ballester was amazed at the turnout for the event and believes had they just put posters up the students would not have been as engaged.

Awareness was also a key message in the event, said Mr Ballester.

“We want to inspire the young people to be aware of how important it is to be healthy, to be aware of our bodies, to be active, to keep hydrated and to watch our diets,” he said.

“If we do all these simple things in the long run it would probably prevent illnesses rather than us needing to find cures,” he added.

He states food is very important and avoiding too much of certain items such as “deep friend food and the fast food diets are not good for us. I know they are very easy to access but in the long run they are not very good.”

Mr Ballester states that a person needs to have a balanced diet and have many vegetables and not over eat certain items such as meat.

In addition to food, “you have to be active,” he said.

“It is not a question of seating on the couch and saying well I will eat a little less of this or that, it is a holistic approach that we need to take.”

The organisation are promoting people being more physical with the hashtag #moveforkidneys

“The hashtag goes with the world wide slogan that is happening today, that is encouraging people to move. It is the first thing we need to do, we need walk instead of getting the car and we need to walk instead of opting for the bike. By doing that we are already helping our bodies in more ways than one,” he said.

He recommends at least a half hour of physical activity a day.

On dehydration, he states that it is important to drink water throughout the day. His mother was diagnosed with kidney failure seven years ago.

“My father was screened and was found to be a positive match, he donated a kidney to my mother and seven years later she is obviously on a lot of medication but she is still living with a health functioning kidney,” he said.

“My mother needs to drink at least two litres of water a day and obviously since that has happened to her I have become a lot more aware of how important it is for me to drink as well,” he adds.

Mr Ballester carries his reusable water bottle with him at all times and this reminds him to keep hydrated.

“I urge people to think about how much water they have and how much they should be taking,” he said.

For further information on how to get involved or for support and assistance, contact the group on Facebook or Instagram at Gibraltar Dialysis Patients and Friends Association.

Pic by Eyleen Gomez

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