For 20 years Randy Haatvedt was a customer at Pat Dardano’s shoeshine stand. When Randy saw Pat’s health declining because of kidney disease, “I got thinking, maybe I could give Pat a kidney,” says Randy. On July 11, 2012, Pat received the life-changing transplant, and now they share a bond of a lifetime. “I tell everyone this is the man who saved my life,” Pat smiles. Randy is now a 5-time Kidney Marcher and a pit stop sponsor. “It brings tears to my eyes. No one in Randy’s family has kidney disease. He just decided to step up, and give the ultimate gift – the gift of life,” says Joyce Van Deurzen, Executive Director, the Kidney Foundation of Canada (Southern Alberta).
Michelle MacKinnon flies from Ontario every year to do Kidney March. Why? She needs to do something really big in memory of her son David. The very day she was scheduled to give him her left kidney, David died from the complications of kidney disease. He was 18 years old. “The March isn’t going to bring David back. But I do it with my son Andrew to honour David, and every other kidney patient in Canada,” she smiles through tears. Four years after David’s death Michelle saw another mom on Facebook looking for a kidney donor for her two-year-old son. Michelle was a match! On May 13, 2015, she gave the gift of life to a perfect stranger. “We’ve since become family friends and seeing their joy as he grows up, it keeps David’s memory close to all of our hearts.”
Nicole Wuetherick is a courageous warrior who has endured more than 100 surgeries in her young life. After doing dialysis for 8 years, she was 12 when she received the precious gift of a kidney from a donor she will never know. As soon as she was old enough, Nicole joined the Kidney March Crew. These days, she’s 21 years old and is a Kidney Marcher every year!
Heather Dean and Janice MacKay
Heather Dean, RN CNeph(C), Nurse Clinician at the South Calgary Dialysis Centre, and Janice MacKay, RN, CNeph(C), CCRP, a Research Manager at the University of Calgary, are best friends and colleagues. They’ve walked in every Kidney March since 2010 – that’s 900 kilometres to honour their patients. “They are always with us in our hearts,” says Heather. “Our patients are our heros,” Janice adds.
Carole Stoker has crewed every Kidney March since it began. When Marchers arrive at pit stops Carole lifts their spirits with her zany dance moves and dazzling smile. Notice that “Sumo Lady” is missing a kidney on the left side of her sumo suit? That’s because Carole donated her left kidney to her sister-in-law Yvonne Sherren in 2015. “If I had an extra, I would do it again,” Carole laughs. “It feels great. We are much closer now. It’s grown our relationship,” she says.
Dr. Dan Muruve, a kidney specialist and professor at the University of Calgary, is also Medical Director of Alberta Health Services’ Southern Alberta Renal Program and Canada Research Chair in Personalized Medicine, Inflammation and Kidney Disease. At Kidney March, he gets weary Marchers up and dancing by tearing up the stage at Kidney-O-Kee.
Stuart and Cheryl Duff
“We joined Kidney March the very first year and Kidney Marchers have become like family,” says Stuart Duff who donated his kidney to his wife Cheryl in June of 2016. “My husband truly is my perfect match,” says Cheryl Duff. “After 24 years of struggling with kidney disease, I am back to a full life with my new kidney on board.”