Faith that does justice

A tour of the Dialysis Unit included hands-on equipment demos.

Call it Mission Accomplished.

As a Jesuit Catholic school, Winnipeg’s St. Paul’s High School aims not only to help students achieve academic excellence but also to grow as community leaders as they become “Men for Others.”

Throughout the academic year, St. Paul’s holds 3 Mission Weeks during which students raise funds for a cause. For their final Mission Week, they chose St. Boniface Hospital’s Peritoneal Dialysis Unit. The mission they set for themselves: raise $15,000 for the purchase of 50 $300 kits enabling patients to undergo dialysis at home.

Leading the way was the Maroon and White Society – an assembly of Grade 12 students who serve as ambassadors for major events both inside and outside the school.

Before setting out to ask others for donations, the Maroon and White toured the Hospital’s Peritoneal Dialysis Unit. The purpose was to understand what patients go through. It proved an eye-opening visit for the St. Paul’s Seniors, including John Moncrieff and Allan Foran.

“I saw the changes in guys’ faces,” said Moncrieff. “We were excited to help.”

Added Foran: “Until you see it, you don’t realize the time it takes to get treatment. Being able to do it at home is huge.”

St. Boniface Hospital has one of Canada’s largest peritoneal dialysis programs. It’s one of just two Winnipeg hospitals where patients are easily trained to perform this type of dialysis, in which a body’s natural peritoneal membrane acts as a filter to remove excess waste and fluid.

Home treatment has many benefits, said Berlene Villanueva, Renal Health Nurse Clinician at the Hospital.

“The ability to do dialysis at home means greater independence, the ability to work and travel, fewer dietary and fluid restrictions, and less exposure to hospital-acquired infections.”

“One of the nice things about the kits is that patients don’t have to worry about how to finance some of those necessary supplies. Starting dialysis already is a very difficult time for most patients and families. Having these tools ready for patients, gives them a head start.”

Surpassing the goal

The St. Paul’s community rallied around the cause during Mission Week, April 29 to May 3. Responding to a variety of appeals, including dress-down days and pizza, the student body achieved a 100% participation rate. As a result, Mission Week raised a remarkable $18,000 – a record amount for a Maroon and White fundraiser.

Reflecting on the school’s support for St. Boniface Hospital, Bob Lewin, St. Paul’s Principal, said, “We’re here (at the Hospital) to be educated at the heart-level first. Then we can get out and do the work.”

“We have a saying that sums it up: ‘Faith that does justice.'”

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