The Kidney Walk held each year to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation of Canada is meaningful to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who participate because of their experience in various ways with the disease.
This is especially true for Melissa Campbell and her seven-year-old daughter Ainsley, who was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a rare form of kidney disease, two years ago.
The mother-daughter duo aims to raise $10,000 for Penticton’s Kidney Walk, which takes place this Sunday morning in Gyro Park.
“I think the realization for a lot of people is that kidney disease is just mostly something the affects adults and the elderly. That was our thought as well until our little five-year-old was diagnosed,” Campbell said.
“The Kidney Foundation is so near and dear to our hearts because of all the help and information we have received through them. We’ve seen first hand what our little girl has gone through and we just want to help raise as much awareness as we can.”
Penticton resident Annick Lim has raised the highest amount of money for the walk in the city over the past several years. The event is personal for her, too.
Lim was diagnosed with kidney disease at 18 months. And because at that time it was difficult to diagnose the disease, she said she developed a defect that followed her through life.
Twenty years ago, she had a kidney transplant and she said the Kidney Foundation was extremely helpful in making the process as painless as possible. Her father was the donor.
“The Foundation program paid for my dad and his wife’s flights. It paid for their hotel to stay right next door to St. Paul’s Hospital, down to groceries because they didn’t have money and came all the way from Quebec.”
For those who might be intimidated by the Kidney Walk, Lim said called it an easy going stroll from Gyro Park to the SS Sicamous.
“If anyone has a friend or a family member who has kidney disease, we’re asking them to come out and just be there and represent them.”
With three walks scheduled for the Okanagan on June 2, the annual fundraiser for kidney transplantation and organ donation is looking to surpass last year’s donation total of $317,000.
One way to donate is at the Penticton White Spot. The owner, whose family has been affected by kidney disease, is giving away a $10 gift card to White Spot for every $20 donated at his store. As well there is a chance to win a $500 gift card.
Registration opens at 9 a.m. in Gyro Park, with the 2.5 kilometre walk starting at 10 a.m. Participants can collect pledges for The Kidney Foundation of Canada before the walk.