The annual Kidney Foundation Walk is again taking place, but under a new venue – virtually. You choose the route; you choose whether you walk alone, with those in your bubble, or with your family. Most of the Kidney Walk fundamentals will remain the same, people can still register in their community and fundraise through their online fundraising pages, participants will still receive a Kidney Walk t-shirt or Kidney Walk Champion t-shirt.
For the past seven years, the Stittsville United Church (SUC) has been the host for the Stittsville Kidney Walk in collaboration with their annual Fun Day. The SUC initially got involved because a Stittsville Mom required a transplant. To support her, the church held a ‘Kidney Tea’. Bruce Hill, a member of the Kidney Foundation, attended the tea to show his support for the Mom and encourage the group of women to become involved with the Kidney Foundation and Walk.
From that first tea, the team of Marianne and Bill Graham organized the inaugural Kidney Walk in Stittsville. There were only 80 or 90 participants, but the walk has grown incredibly since then. Stittsville holds one of the biggest fund raising walks in the area.
In 2019, the Stittsville Kidney Walk raised $7,156 with 28 registered walkers and 6 teams. Over 200 walkers participated in the annual event. Suzanne Laniel, Ottawa’s Community Supervisor for the Kidney Foundation, told Stittsville Central, “Sunday Fun Day is an amazing kidney walk organized by Ruth Richardson and Marianne Graham at the Stittsville United Church in September.” Their organization of this event has made it the success that it is. After church, the fun begins – participants enjoy the 5 km walk and a BBQ on their return to the church. There are events set-up for everyone – from kids to adults – along with live entertainment and lots of community spirit.
These truly are unprecedented times. But, even though change is all around us, the Kidney Foundation wanted to let the community know that the Kidney Walk is still a go! The Kidney Walk is going VIRTUAL on September 27th!
In speaking with Ruth Richardson, she told us, “it is difficult to have to cancel the SUC Fun Day and Kidney Walk as Stittsville hosts one of the biggest. I’m sorry we can’t welcome people at the church, but would hope that the usual participants plus more residents will take part in this virtual walk.” “I encourage you to participate – create a family or team bubble and register to walk.” Ruth has also purchased pedometers that the church will be giving out to participants. You can pick your up at the church about one week prior to the walk. The pedometer will help you to track your steps and mileage to record for your fundraising effort.
“We know that in the coming months that kidney patients are going to need us more then ever before! This is why the Kidney Walk campaign must go forward,” added Suzanne. Kidney Walks are the cornerstone for providing hope and support. No matter what, the Foundation’s focus is ensuring that patients’ needs are met – this will not change in 2020. Suzanne continued, “Although we cannot not hold our traditional community events the Kidney Walk campaign is moving forward and we are asking participants to register online and takepart. A virtual walk is still a fundraising walk, but it’s a walk on your terms in your neighbourhood.”
Kidney Walks are the cornerstone of The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s fundraising efforts. It’s a time when everyone stands together, united in the effort to support loved ones with kidney disease. Join the Kidney Walk to raise funds for innovative research, crucial programs, and services that support people living with kidney disease.
While not able to join together as a broader kidney community, collectively show your support for loved ones. Unite for an online Kidney Walk celebration on September 27th. To register, fundraise and walk, please visit www.kidneywalk.ca or call 613-724-9953.