Team Can-SOLVE CKD took part in the 2019 Kidney March! A three day, 100 kilometer journey from K-Country to Calgary to raise money for the fight against kidney disease. The 2019 event marked the 10th anniversary of Kidney March. With over 400 marchers, the event raised just over $1.4 Million Dollars (and counting) for kidney disease and organ donation.
Team Can-SOLVE CKD would like to express their gratitude and appreciation to the event staff, volunteers, and fellow marchers for creating such a wonderful event experience. For our team members, Kidney March was a very moving, rewarding, and meaningful experience both personally and for the larger mission of Can-SOLVE CKD. Can-SOLVE CKD team members, Linnea Franson and Leah Getchell, shared their reflections on the significance of the event:
It was an honour and privilege to take part in the 2019 Kidney March. The experience offered me so many opportunities to connect with kidney patients, donors, caregivers, and the community at large. I was deeply moved by the courageous people I met along the way and their unique experiences with kidney disease. I found there to be a strong sense of hope and strength at the heart of the event. Ultimately, taking part in the Kidney March truly deepened my understanding of the impact of kidney disease. I was touched by the kindness, compassion and strength of the individuals involved in this event and walked away feeling inspired to continue to make a meaningful difference within the kidney community. I would like to send a BIG thank you to the event organizers, volunteers, fellow marchers, and my Can-SOLVE CKD team. Your efforts have made such a difference.
I was scared to become a Kidney March participant. Fundraising can be scary and 100kms is extremely intimidating. However, what surfaced for me during those three days was that in many ways I was scared to join an event like this because I was worried that by doing so my memories of my mom would be solely tied to her experience with kidney disease. What I realized, and was able to come to a place of acceptance with, is that kidney disease WAS a part of her story and IS a part of mine but it doesn’t define us, or influence how I remember her. Yes, she had a chronic illness and I had to witness and support her in some very tough times, but she loved me fiercely throughout it all, and the more I talk to current kidney patients the more I realize the grit and grace by which she lived everyday. By participating in the march—among strangers who I now call my Kidney Family—I was able to openly grieve for her, and share that grief with who have also lost their mothers and loved ones to this disease—a rare and invaluable opportunity in a society where grief is often hidden.
This event is also about hope; the hope that we find a cure for kidney disease and make lives for those living with this disease and their loved ones the best it can be. That hope drives me to work harder to make sure that patients and families continue to have a voice at the research table. I am so proud to be a part of a patient-oriented research network like Can-SOLVE CKD!
Kidney March quickly became about the JOURNEY, not the end goal of walking 100kms. Human connection, story, community, shared hope and determination to make a change. What a beautiful gift this experience was. I would like to thank all my donors, my amazing Can-SOLVE CKD team members; Linnea, Carol, Ken and Mary, and of course to all the other marchers, crew and KFOC staff who made this an incredible FIRST kidney March. I WILL be back and I can’t wait to see what the next journey brings!
Learn more about the Kidney March and sign up to get involved in the 2020 event: www.kidneymarch.ca