Penticton residents joined others from across the country in a big way to spread the word and raise money for the ongoing work of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Under clearing skies at Gyro Park Sunday morning about 100 people began the 2.5 kilometre B.C. Kidney Walk for kidney transplantation and organ donation along Lakeshore Drive.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit and MLA Dan Ashton cut the ceremonial ribbon to start the proceedings.
Special honourees this year were father and son Jeff and Tim Treadway who were also members of Team Jeffers Fryzz, the same name of the popular family food truck usually found on Nanaimo Avenue around lunch and supper time.
Jeff donated a kidney to Tim in April of this year after Tim’s kidneys all but ceased functioning in September 2015.
“Just from the people here I’m feeling the love and the generosity and their concerns and wanting to share and I really enjoyed that, it was marvellous,” said Jeff afterwards. “And just to be here with my family, my loved ones this has just made it so worthwhile that it’s hard to express.”
And not afraid to put the fries where his mouth is, Jeff and his 11-member squad had the second highest team donation in the province (110 teams) a whopping $13,710 ($5,000). He was also the second highest individual fundraiser, $10,470 ($5,000 goal).
The Jeffers Fryzz truck was also at Gyro for the proceedings and brought in a couple hundred dollars more through the fries for donations campaign although Jeff admitted he was a little disappointed it wasn’t more.
“I was expecting a much larger crowd of Jeffers Fryzz supporters but really the most important people in my life in Penticton were at the event to show their support and I am grateful for that,” he said. “We will roll up our sleeves in the future to make this an event that draws the general public in to be a part of our mission. It’s just nice to think a little place between two lakes can do better than the big cities like Vancouver.”
Penticton’s walk this year raised the most of any in the province, $23,758 well ahead of second place Nanaimo which brought in $18,666, Williams Lake $18,450. Vancouver was fourth with $15,540.
Another Penticton team, Kidney Vitalities was fourth, bringing in $7,628 and team member Annick Lim, also is also a kidney recipient courtesy of her father, was sixth in the individual fundraising with $3,738.
“Doesn’t it just blow your mind,” said Lim about Penticton’s contribution. “People just open their hearts. Year after year people sponsor me and I’ve calculated in the years I’ve been doing it I’ve raised over $25,000. I know directly where that money goes and it just makes such a huge impact.
“It changes people’s lives.”