Close to 50,000 Canadians are being treated for kidney failure and over half are on dialysis. Now a new project out of Western University and the Lawson Health Research Institute aims to show patients that there is life during and after dialysis.

Elaine Hayter was diagnosed with kidney failure after giving birth to her first child back in 1981.

“It was always one of those things you kind of thought would happen to you because of the family history and then the news came.”

Throughout the years, she has had two kidney transplants and now is waiting for a third. She is currently on dialysis.

“I do it three days a week. Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30 a.m. for three hours.”

Dialysis has been a big part of Hayter’s life, that’s why she wanted to take part in the Renal Community Photo Project through Western and Lawson.

“Everyone takes pictures, everyone has had photos taken and everyone uses them in different ways,” explains Lawson and Western researcher Dr. Christopher McIntyre.

McIntyre and his research team joined forces with the Department or Visual Arts at Western to help patients capture life during dialysis.

Between 35 and 40 patients have participated so far in this project and approximately 2,000 photos so far have been taken.

“All the images in one way or another were telling us about how people were dealing with that particular journey,” says McIntyre.

Hayter says being part of the project has been therapeutic, “It’s been really valuable to look back at what’s important.”

McIntyre says that’s what it’s all about, to bring awareness and hope to others

“There is enormous doesn’t end now. There is restriction and challenge but there is also growth and change.”

You can learn more about the project here.