Marchers and Crew, you are our heroes.

Congratulations and Thank You!

We cannot say enough about your spirit and your accomplishment in Kidney March 2015. You walked. Oh boy, did you walk. You crewed. Oh boy, did you crew. You slept. In tents. You braved the heat and rain. Even when sun screen and rain gear seemed to barely make a dent. You had sore feet and sore backs. Yet found the strength to keep going. And you raised funds. To levels higher than you likely thought possible.

You are a corner stone to Kidney March and in the united front against kidney disease. We encourage you to take a moment, feel proud, and know that you are the possibility. The possibility of a different future and better life for people affected by kidney disease.

Together, we raised over $570,000, and we’re still counting. In the six years of Kidney March, over $4 million dollars has been raised and put into action. Through The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Kidney March provides for kidney disease prevention, lifesaving research, patient support programs and organ donation initiatives.

Thank you!

team photo

Meet Brynn! Our amazing summer student, who also knows the hardships of kidney disease

September 10 - Brynn 1It’s Day Zero! We wanted to introduce you to a new face on the 2015 Kidney March Team you’ll be seeing this weekend, Brynn. She is our AMAZING 2015 summer student who has been working hard all summer for the best weekend of the year, Kidney March. Brynn shares with us why working as part of Kidney March is so important to her and her connection to kidney disease.

For 22 years my Grandfather was on at-home dialysis while my Grandmother lovingly took care of him. Twelve or so years ago my Uncle had a kidney donated to him by a coworker. Three years ago this past June marks the date of my Father’s successful transplant. And six years ago, I too was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease.

The way this disease seems to affect my family, focuses on onset at a later age. For example, my kidneys look like the surface of a Sunday afternoon bubble bath under an ultrasound with all the cysts covering them, however their function is currently, miraculously fine. The same goes for my Father who was diagnosed at 21 years of age, and who didn’t really have to worry about watching the number of bananas he’d put in his smoothies until his mid to late forties.

Four years ago we really started to notice when things got worse and his kidneys started to fail. One month he would be working 12 hour days and going for long bike rides or jogs with me on the weekend, and the next he could only manage two hours of work before he had to leave his shop and come up for a nap. His kidneys were nearing less than 6% function and the amount of toxins in his blood made it extremely difficult for him to find the energy to do many things he would have previously done with ease. It was hard to see my vibrant, fun-loving, and gentle father slowly wither away. Even the classic ‘dad jokes’ were far and few between.

Eventually, while waiting for news of a transplant, he began dialysis. It wasn’t more than three times a week for four hours each time, but it was a schedule that was new to our family life, and something we all had to get used to. Despite the incredible support shown through a number of friends and family members who had stepped forward over the months to be tested as potential donors, including The Kidney March’s very own Marianne Janz (otherwise known as my wonderful Aunt), a direct match had yet to be found.

Six weeks after he began dialysis, my mother, who had initially been the first in line to get tested, decided to enter the paired exchange in hopes that it would give my dad a better chance at a kidney. With the paired exchange, two people enter in as partners, but do not have to be a match. One partner is a donor, and the other a receiver, paired together with other partners to create a large chain of transplants that fit people together like puzzle pieces. It is amazing technology, though can be incredibly unreliable if one person, for any reason, backs out at the last minute and breaks down the whole chain. After one potential chain ended up falling apart, another was built, and on June 20th 2012, both my parents went into surgery while my brothers and I waited nervously.

To say that the surgery was a success is an understatement. I was the first to visit him in the recovery room afterwards and once I saw that (still drugged up) grin coming out from under his beard, I knew my dad was back. To this day he still constantly jokes with my brothers that now that he has three kidneys, no one can ‘take him.’ Though turns it around just as quickly if he’s losing the wrestling match in an effort to ‘please save his one good kidney.’ The fun never stops.

Seeing the incredible support that my family and especially my parents have had for each other has not made me nervous about my future in the least. Research is expanding, technology is growing, and my older brother is a match with two healthy toxin-filters that he has already promised me one of for when the time comes. (Thanks Ben).

On top of this, I’ve had the pleasure of working as a part of The Kidney March family for what has been a most incredible summer. Through this opportunity I have met and am still meeting many amazingly inspirational people with stories of their own, each as unique and differentiated as the disease we walk for. Never have I ever had such a close, personal connection to the work I’ve done, nor felt so much like I was actually helping in making a difference. Thank you to The Kidney Foundation for all you’ve done for my family, thank you to The Kidney March for being my home away from home, and thank you to the people who are all walking together for one reason or another; we’re doing it together, in the same direction. ~Brynn

Cheer on the Kidney Marchers and show your support in the fight against kidney disease

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Kidney March is an experience of a lifetime. And maybe the biggest challenge our Marchers and Crew have ever undertaken. It deserves a lot of celebration, so please join us at:

Opening Ceremonies – September 11, 2015 at 7am – Millarville Racetrack

Join Marchers and Crew for energizing music, inspiring speeches and a warm sense of community as the entire Kidney March family takes the initial steps of this bold and powerful journey. Please note: Parking at Millarville Racetrack is free, however, you cannot leave your car there beyond Opening Ceremonies as the Racetrack will be setting up for the next event.

Lunch Stop – September 12, 2015 from 10:30am to 1:30pm – Elbow Valley Info Centre

Come cheer on Marchers and Crew while they stop for lunch, stretching and medical care. Bring your signs, funny hats and noise makers. Please note: Lunch is provided for Marchers and Crew only, if you would like to eat with your loved one you must bring your own lunch.

Closing Ceremonies – September 13, 2015 at 3pm – Festival Tent, Canada Olympic Park

Watch the Marchers and Crew complete their final steps as they descend the hill at COP. Then stay and join the celebration. Please note: There will be Kidney March signs directing you to the Festival Tent parking lot. Parking is free.

Kidney March’s unique packing list

Whether you are a pack in advance or a late into the night before kind of person, here’s a list of items, unique to Kidney March, that you’ll want to remember to throw in your duffle bag. And a quick note about that duffle bag, you will be allowed one gear bag weighing up to 18 kg including the weight of your sleeping bag and sleeping pad or air mattress. Pads and air mattresses should be packed inside or securely fastened to your gear bag. Be sure to pack your clothing and sleeping bag in a plastic bag in case of rain. We recommend a large backpack or duffel bag, not a suitcase. And please attach your luggage tag (that you’ll receive at Day Zero) to the outside of your bag.

The Must Haves:

  • Kidney March T-Shirt

    Go ahead wear it to Opening Ceremonies. You’ll earn another one over the weekend to wear to Closing Ceremonies.

  • Kidney March Name Tag

    You’ll get this on Day Zero. Please wear it. We want to get to know you. Plus there is all kinds of important and helpful information inside your name tag booklet.

  • Running Shoes

    Preferably two pairs of worn-in shoes you have been alternately training in.

  • Water Bottle(s)

    Pack one for water and one for Gatorade to keep you fueled while on the road. There will be Kidney March water bottles available for purchase at the Day Zero Store and at the General Store at camp.

  • Socks

    Lots of moisture wicking socks!

Whatever the Weather:

  • Sunscreen

  • Rain poncho

  • Hat, cap and/or visor

  • Sunglasses

  • Mitts and toque for those chilly mornings

To Keep on Marching and Crewing:

  • Anti-blister aids

  • Petroleum jelly or Body Glide

Then there’s camp:

  • Washcloth, towels and toiletries

  • Sleeping bag

  • Flashlight and extra batteries

  • Roll or pad for tent floor

  • Pillow

  • Earplugs

And the fun stuff:

  • Camera

  • Greek wear

    Yes, you read that right. Get ready to say OPA at Kidney March’s Greek night. Pack your toga or Laurel Leaf Headband.

  • Costumes, cow bells, funny hats, and noise makers

    Anything really that you can think of to make marching and crewing a blast.

 

Eager to give back to the community, Trevor just signed up for Kidney March.

Trevor

As a young man with a young family, Trevor Ferguson was shocked when doctors told him he had polycystic kidney disease. In his own words, he shares his story.

I was in the hospital for testing for another ailment and, while delighted that testing came back ok, I didn’t have a clue what life with kidney disease would be like. Immediately, I was referred to a nephrologist. Together we made a plan to get me to transplant without going on dialysis first. That was 12 years ago.

Throughout that decade of living with kidney disease there were definitely some challenges. My wife, Sam, was my rock. Her support was definitely the reason I could keep on going, keep on working, and keep up with my family. As my cysts grew, and my kidney function declined, Sam came forward for testing as a living donor for me. She was well into the testing when my sister Holly said… err no, and insisted that Sam back down and allow her to go forward. Holly realized that Sam would need to be full strength to help me recover from transplant surgery and take care of our two sons. We feel really lucky for that foresight.

Click here to read more.

Eight weeks until Kidney March! Time to kick into high gear.

There’s motivation in our Kidney March mission. Knowing that the kilometres we walk and the funds we raise are nothing compared to the day-to-day battle of kidney disease. And while motivation can inspire us to do the most we can, we still have to be prepared.

Now is the time to countdown to Kidney March. 8 weeks or 56 sleeps! It is time to really ramp up, from registering to training and fundraising to meeting and exceeding your goals. Please remember the Kidney March Team is here to support you on this journey.

Many folks find themselves kind of stuck at some point in time… whether they’ve just registered or have a fundraising hurdle, so to help the team has compiled the 8 week fundraising and training plan. Need to know who, how or when to approach your soon to be supporters for donations? No problem — Page 2. Need a walking schedule to keep you in line and on track? Perfect — Page 4. Wondering whether stretching really helps? Easy — Page 5. Click here for the plan.

Don’t like walking on your own? Or want to add some variety to your training schedule? Join us and your fellow Kidney March fans on our scheduled training walks. Training walks are listed in the 8 week plan, as well as on our homepage. And, just so you know, you do not have to be a Marcher to do these training walks. They are come one, come all events. Sure, we’d love for you to jump on board for a heroic trek through the foothills of the Rockies with hundreds of like-minded Marchers (side note: register here). But we’re just as happy to have you make a few friends and keep your kidneys running in tip-top shape.

Share your ideas, what are you doing to fundraise for Kidney March 2015?

Kidney Clothes shares how you can use spring cleaning to fundraise! Collect gently used clothes from friends, family and neighbours. For every pound of clothing collected $0.20 goes to your Kidney March 2015 fundraising and $0.30 goes to the Kidney Foundation. Here’s some information to get you started or you can call 1.800.387.4474 ext. 4947 or email corporate@kidneyclothes.ca

Clothing Drive Presentation April 2015

June 10 - Kidney Clothes

You are just three steps away from a free iPad Mini OR GoPro Hero 4 camera!

Step 1 – Register for Kidney March.

Step 2 – Recruit a first time friend or family member to March with you on this journey of a lifetime.

Step 3 – Encourage your new Marcher to fundraise.

Kidney March will thank you with an iPad Mini 2 OR GoPro Hero 4 camera when your new recruit raises his/her $2200 minimum.

(and now for the small print… new Marcher must confirm that you recruited them at the time of his/her registration and his/her funds must be received by The Kidney Foundation by July 31, 2015 for you to qualify for the iPad Mini 2 OR GoPro Hero 4 camera.)

April 28 - KM 2015 Recruitment Incentive

Susan, mother of 3, marches for her daughters’ future

In September 2011, one year after undergoing my life-saving kidney transplant, I wrote the passages below about what motivated me to walk in Kidney March with my kidney donor (and sister-in-law) Marian Reich.

I am marching in the Kidney Walk to Calgary because

I believe research is hope. I believe in the power of research and in supporting a cause that makes a real difference in peoples lives.

Over the last 30 years, the Kidney Foundation of Canada has raised over $100M for research. That’s a huge number. Even more amazing is that it has been raised in communities across Canada by individuals like you and me — the families and friends of those affected by kidney disease. These passionate, determined people have held event after event, knocked on door after door,… year after year,… because they believed things could be better. They hoped that an investment in research would change things.

And it has. Research has led to improved quality of life, better dialysis methods, earlier detection and prevention, and for a lucky few, (13% of those diagnosed) a new lease on life through transplantation. If you don’t believe me, talk to your friendly neighbourhood nephrologist, he or she will tell you, as they have told me, what a difference the Kidney Foundation has made to advancing kidney research.

I am marching because

In 1977, Neil Everett McKenzie died in Toronto undergoing his 2nd failed kidney transplant. He was 55. He had been on peritoneal dialysis for what seemed to me to be a very long time. He wore a feather in his hat and always smelled clean. He took us for long drives through blue mountain and somehow made us feel like we were on a roller coaster. He teased and spoiled us horribly. He was a World War II Veteran and a determined man. He never gave up hope.

I am marching because

In 2006, Blaine Everett McKenzie died in Collingwood after a relatively short but painful battle with cancer of the kidney, liver and pancreas. He was 65. He was diagnosed with kidney disease in 1972 and received a transplant in 1975 which kept him alive for 31 more years — allowing him to finish raising three young children who loved him more than life itself. Probably because of his training as a marine engineer, his hand writing was unusually precise and beautiful. His laugh was deep and sincere, like his faith, our countless philosophical discussions over tea, and the love he had for his family and friends. Like his determined scottish father, he never gave up hope, not even in the very last days.

I am marching because

In 2010, I was given the gift of a new life through living donor transplantation. There are no words to thank the many people who supported and strengthened me through this part of my life’s journey. There are no words to thank the person who risked her life so I could have another chance at mine, no words to thank the individuals, my friends, who went through exhaustive testing, preparing themselves to take a huge risk to help me. I won’t waste this chance. It is time to act. This walk, like many other things we may choose to do in our lives to make a difference, is a tangible act of determination and an act of hope. Like my stubborn grandfather and father, I will never give up hope. I guess it is in the genes. You have take the good with the bad 🙂

I am marching because

I have three beautiful daughters who depend on this life changing research continuing. Like the hundreds of thousands who may be profoundly affected by kidney disease in the next decade, directly or indirectly, research is their hope too.

Now fast forward to today. If my past and present wasn’t enough, this year, I have even more reason to be involved once again.

In September 2014, Alexandra Hope Smith was diagnosed with kidney disease. Despite a family history of the disease, it was still a shocking diagnosis for a healthy young woman with no symptoms and her whole life in front of her. Though she was rarely ever ill or even unhappy for that matter, I have a vivid picture in my mind of the wee tot who looked a lot like tweety bird squeezing her big blue eyes in utter fear whenever we rumbled over the unpaved part of the road that led to our home in the country. I remember how bad I felt when I saw that terrified look on her little face, so I drove faster to get off the road and take the fear away.

And now, twenty years later, I have that same raw feeling of helplessness as I struggle to figure out how I can help take away her fear as she navigates this scary but all too familiar path. This time, I can’t drive faster or reach into the back seat to hold her hand and make things better. This time, I can’t drive off the gravel road. All I can do is face this family kidney curse again — head on — this time with my kind and beautiful daughter. Of course, we’ll do what we have to do and there will be a few tears, but we won’t stop to dwell on it or allow it to derail any of Alex’s hopes and dreams. We will shore ourselves up, ask lots of questions, and we will find the answers together. Love you Allie Cat.

May 10 - Sue McKenzie

You are just three steps away from a free iPad Mini OR GoPro Hero 4 camera!

Step 1 – Register for Kidney March.

Step 2 – Recruit a first time friend or family member to March with you on this journey of a lifetime.

Step 3 – Encourage your new Marcher to fundraise.

Kidney March will thank you with an iPad Mini 2 OR GoPro Hero 4 camera when your new recruit raises his/her $2200 minimum.

(and now for the small print… new Marcher must confirm that you recruited them at the time of his/her registration and his/her funds must be received by The Kidney Foundation by July 31, 2015 for you to qualify for the iPad Mini 2 OR GoPro Hero 4 camera.)

April 28 - KM 2015 Recruitment Incentive