Brave little Harrison is determined to fix his 'broken' kidneys
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Brave little Harrison is determined to fix his 'broken' kidneys

If you ask four year old Harrison Seaward what's wrong with his kidneys he will tell you they're 'broken'.

Its a simple way of describing his condition that at one point in his short little life very nearly killed him.

But it is in step with his jovial nature and you can't help but admire his effortless acceptance of something what would be life changing for most people.

Harrison's kidney condition doesn't impact his smile.

Harrison's kidney condition doesn't impact his smile.Credit:Hamish Hastie

At four-months-old Harrison started having seizures from a UTI, which was caused by renal flux.

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After some investigation doctors found his kidneys hadn't developed properly and were performing well below what would be expected for a kid his age.

One kidney was at just 11 per cent function and he had his first operation at just eight-months-old.

Since then he's been in and out of doctors' offices every couple of months and drinks plenty of water because they help 'fix' his broken kidneys.

Harrison's mum Lisa said the family were scared when Harrison first got sick.

But thanks to the doctors who were able to identify what was wrong they've all learned to live with it and he's managed to live a relatively normal life.

She said there are still a lot of unknowns. Doctors aren't able to tell her when or if he will have complete kidney failure and require dialysis.

"He is one of the lucky ones at the moment his function is still at 70 per cent, so for us now he's very stable," she said.

"They've said there's no way of being able to predict how quickly they will stop functioning or reduce in function.

Lisa and Harrison Seaward.

Lisa and Harrison Seaward.Credit:Hamish Hastie

"Some people with the same percentage as him might be able to live their whole life without issue, others might only last five years and then they have completely failed.

"It just depends on when his kidneys decide to pack it up."

Lisa said one issue they had encountered was a lack of support for families who are impacted by kidney illness which is why they have taken part in Kidney Health Australia’s Big Red Kidney Walk every year since 2015.

She said the walk, which will take place this year on September 2 at Perry Lakes, helped raise awareness and funds for disease that wasn't as prominent in the public eye but still affected more than 1.7 million Australians.

Harrison's kidney issues were genetic but Kidney Health Australia’s clinical director Dr Shilpa Jesudason said kidney disease could be caused by many things.

"The most common cause is diabetes, but also it is caused by nephritis (immune attack of the kidney), high blood pressure, genetic conditions, and many other less common conditions," she said

"But really in our society where one in three people have risk factors or features of chronic kidney disease, the main risk factors are diabetes, high blood pressure, older age, indigenous ethnicity, obesity, smoking and having cardiovascular disease.

"So we worry most about kidney disease in people who have those risk factors."

Dr Jesudason said keeping an eye on your kidney health was as easy as doing an online test on the Kidney Health Australia website.

"You will find out if you have any of the risk factors for kidney disease. Then you should also see your GP who will help work out your risk and do the right tests to measure your kidney health," she said.

"Kidney disease is often very silent and sneaky and you can lose up to 90 per cent of your kidney function without symptoms. So being proactive is essential - don't be blind to kidney disease."

She said the easiest steps to keep kidneys healthy were to drink water, not sugary drinks and eat a healthy diet low in salt and sugar.

The Perth big red kidney walk will take place at Perry Lakes reserve from 10am to 12pm.

All money raised will help save and improve the lives of people living with kidney conditions.

Lisa and Harrison are still fundraising for the walk.

Click here to donate.

Hamish Hastie is a Fairfax Media business reporter writing from the WAtoday offices in Perth. He was raised in Armadale in Perth's south east and covered the area for four years at the Examiner Newspaper before a stretch writing for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA's business magazines.