2019 Kidney Walk: Wet day can’t douse spirits. . . . Goal surpassed. . . . Stop thief!

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A Kidney Foundation information booth (back left) was set up at Sunday’s Kidney Walk, while beneath the Lordco canopy you were able to find merchandise after first checking in at the registration table. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

We awoke Sunday to cool weather (12 C) and showers.

The cool wasn’t a problem because warm weather and people with kidney disease aren’t a good match.

But the drizzle . . .

KWlogo2Well, if you have been, or are being, impacted by kidney disease, what’s a little rain? Right?

And so it was that more than 100 people were at McDonald Park on Kamloops’ North Shore on Sunday for the city’s 10th annual Kidney Walk.

Not all of them took part in the walk, which always follows Rivers Trail for more than one kilometre to McArthur Island, but they all were there to show support to people in our community who are dealing with kidney disease or to remember friends and loved ones.

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Larry Read, the Kidney Walk’s emcee, kept folks informed and everything on time. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

We couldn’t have done it without Larry Read, the sports information guru for the WolfPack at Thompson Rivers U. He is our emcee, and he brought along six athletes from the WolfPack swim team and, oh boy, what a big help they were. This wasn’t the first time Larry brought volunteers from TRU, and it is a tremendously positive feeling to see these young people so eager to help at an event like this one.

With Larry at the controls, we saluted Hugh McLennan and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor as the honourees for the 2019 Walk. Hugh, a rancher, is the host of the Spirit of the West podcast and a familiar figure in the cowboy world in Alberta and B.C. When he needed a kidney almost two years ago, he got

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Hugh McLennan (left) and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor, the honourees of Kamloops’ 2019 Kidney Walk, address the crowd. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

one from Big Rig, a long-time friend who is a former long-haul driver and radio personality.

They were introduced by Edna Humphreys, the executive director of the Kamloops chapter of the B.C. and Yukon Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Hey, if there’s a renal-related event in Kamloops, you can bet that Edna is the push behind it.

We went into this walk with a goal of raising $20,000. By the time the counting is done, we will be somewhere around $24,000, which is unbelievable. In all of our pre-walk chatter, I don’t once remember anything close to that figure being mentioned.

In 2018, we raised $21,764, after bringing in $16,736 in 2017.

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Allan Dodds (right) returns money that had been lifted from the Brock Central Lions Club’ breakfast table on Sunday. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

There was some excitement late in the program, too.

The Brock Central Lions Club was there, again, to provide us with a pancake breakfast, along with sausages and coffee, all by donation.

So with most of the folks already eating and a few in line to fill their plates, a cry went up: “Stop her! Stop her! She took the money box.!!”

It seems that a person had appeared on the scene, got in line for breakfast, then grabbed the cash box and took off on the run.

However, her plan hadn’t accounted for Allan Dodds, who when he isn’t playing Superman works at Lordco in Kamloops. His connection with us? His wife, Julie, has kidney disease and is in need of a transplant.

Anyway . . . Allan took off after the thief, caught up with her and brought back the money.

As Julie wrote on her Facebook page: “My husband not only helped set up . . . and with the delivery of chairs and tables, he helped present a large cheque, and also chased down a would-be thief.”

In the end, the Lions Club raised $326.90, all of which, thanks to Allan, was there to be donated to the Kidney Walk.

If we were to give out an MVP award this year, it would go to Allan. As a member of the Southern Central B.C. branch of the CIM (Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum), he presented the Kidney Walk with a cheque for $5,000 in late August.

Through Lordco, he was able to provide us with a truck with which he picked up tables and chairs from the good folks at TRU. He also supplied, again through Lordco, a large canopy that really came in handy considering the weather.

And, of course, he topped it all off by jumping into a phone booth — OK, there aren’t any of those these days; he just went behind the Lordco truck — where he donned the Superman suit and went on to rescue the money.

Thanks, Allan!

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Dorothy Drinnan (right) and friend Leona Backman enjoy a rainy time during Sunday’s Kidney Walk. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

Dorothy says: Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

With help from so many of you, she was able to raise $3,230 for Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk, which was held on Sunday morning.

With such great support from so many terrific people, she was the leading fund-raiser for a sixth straight year, and she now has raised more than $16,000 in total.


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Julie Dodds (in red jacket) has kidney disease and is in need of a transplant. She poses with friends and family, all of whom were there to support her at Sunday’s Kidney Walk. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

 

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Not all of the participants in Sunday’s Kidney Walk were of the human variety. This pooch got into the spirit of things by donning a Kidney Walk t-shirt, too. (Photo: Murray Mitchell/Murray Mitchell Photography)

Ready to go Kidney Walking in Kamloops. . . . Pearlman, Valdez talk about transplant. . . . Mother wants to make late son proud, donates kidney

Almost all is in readiness for Kamloops’ 10th annual Kidney Walk.

We will gather on Sunday at McDonald Park on the North Shore, with registration at 10 a.m., and the walk to begin at 11.

Edna Humphreys is the executive director of the Kamloops branch of the Kidney KWlogo2Foundation. I can tell you from experience that without her leadership and organizational skills, the Kidney Walk would experience some difficult times.

(It’s also worth noting that if it’s a renal-related activity in Kamloops, you can bet that Humphreys is in the forefront. Among other things, she is a co-founder of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group, and also is the lead organizer of a Christmas luncheon for dialysis patients and transplant recipients. With music by old friend Jesse Jones. Yessss!)

Anyway . . . Humphreys recently took time out from her busy schedule to talk with Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week about the 2019 Kidney Walk.

That story is right here.


One of my favourite renal-related stories involves a woman named Catherine Pearlman, who walked into a Los Angeles-area Starbucks on Dec. 30, saw a poster on a bulletin board, and decided that very moment to become a kidney donor. . . . The result was that Eli Valdez, a complete stranger, received one of her kidneys. . . . They told their story to today.com, and it’s all right here.

If you missed it earlier, Pearlman wrote about her experience for the Los Angeles Times, and that piece is right here.

Catherine’s husband, Jeff Pearlman, is a writer and published author. He wrote on his blog about what all of this meant to him. Here’s how he started it:

“It’s 10:15 am, and as I write this my wife Catherine is in surgery here at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center — donating one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.

“You read that correctly, but I recommend reading it again. My wife Catherine is in surgery donating one of her kidneys to a complete stranger.”

The complete piece is right here.

BTW, if you are a sporting fan and haven’t read Jeff’s book, Football for a Buck, you’re cheating yourself. It’s all about the USFL — remember that league? — and is loaded with especially juicy anecdotes, including some involving, yes, Donald Trump.


Laura Gillum’s son, Dean, was 23 months old when he drowned in the family’s backyard pool in the Pittsburgh area in 2015. His heart, lover and kidneys were donated.

“My son was amazing,” she told Lisa Washington of KDKA-TV. “At 23 months old, he saved three people’s lives. Not many people can say that, and even though he’s gone, I try every day to do something to make him proud of me.”

On March 7, Lisa donated a kidney to Brian Cox, a complete stranger. They met early in April.

“I just can’t comprehend why someone wouldn’t want to donate their kidney, so hopefully getting the message out, more people will want to do it and that they’ll want to educate themselves to find out just what everything entails,” Gillum said.

Washington’s complete story is right here.









Kamloops Kidney Walk to honour recipient, donor. . . . Organizers get largest single donation in event’s 10-year history

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Katherine Ray of Molycop (left), Edna Humphreys of the Kamloops Kidney Walk, honourees Louis (Big Rig) McIvor and Hugh McLennan, and Allan Dodds of Lordco Auto Parts with the biggest donation in the 10-year history of the event. Ray and Dodds were representing the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), South Central Interior Branch, which made the donation. (Photo by Murray Mitchell of Murray Mitchell Photography)

KAMLOOPS (Aug. 19) — The 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk will be held on Sept. 22 at McDonald Park, organizers announced at a news conference today.

   Participants can register at 10 a.m., with the Walk to begin at 11 a.m.

   Each year, organizers honour someone who has been involved in the fight against

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Hugh McLennan (left) and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor, the honourees for the 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk. When McLennan found himself in need of a kidney, longtime friend McIvor was there for him and the transplant took place on Nov. 22, 2017. (Photo by Murray Mitchell of Murray Mitchell Photography)

kidney disease and the promotion of organ donation. This year, the co-honourees are Hugh McLennan and Louis (Big Rig) McIvor.

  McLennan, 76, is a working rancher — he and his wife, Billie, work the McLennan Ranch near Pinantan Lake, northeast of Kamloops.

   McLennan also is the host of Spirit of the West, a weekly one-hour radio show that is  syndicated and streamed on the Internet. He also is an emcee, keynote speaker and a guitar-playing musician.

   When McLennan found himself on dialysis — he dialyzed three times a week in the North Shore CDU — and in need of a kidney, McIvor, a long-time friend, was quick to offer his help. McIvor is a former long-haul truck driver who later became a Kamloops-based radio personality. He is a familiar face on the local entertainment scene.

   After testing proved McIvor was a match, the two wound up in Vancouver General Hospital and the transplant took place on Nov. 22, 2017.

   It wasn’t long before both men had returned to living their lives . . . McIvor as he had before surgery and McLellan as he had before being forced onto dialysis.

   Also attending the news conference were Alan Dodds of Lordco Auto Parts and Katherine Ray of Molycop, both of whom are with the South Central BC Branch of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM). They, along with Tyler Thompson of New Gold Inc., who is the chair of the South Central Interior executive officers, are responsible for getting the 2019 Kidney Walk off to a roaring start with a donation of $5,000. This is the largest single donation received in the event’s 10-year history.

   As of mid-August, in the region served by RIH, there were 1,378 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) being monitored by nephrologists. Of those, 140 have undergone transplants, and 114 are on dialysis.

   The annual Kamloops Kidney Walk is in support of kidney transplantation and organ donation. It uses the River’s Trail from McDonald Park to the entrance to McArthur Island.

   Following the walk, the Brock Central Lions Club will have pancakes and sausages available, along with coffee, by donation.

  The Kidney Walk raises funds for programs and services to support those affected by CKD and donors when a transplant is arranged, as well as supporting vital research. To donate to a team or an individual, please visit kidneywalk.ca.

  The 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk’s goal is $20,000.

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NOTES: FMI, contact Edna Humphreys (250-376-6361), or Dorothy or Gregg Drinnan at 250-573-2988 (ddrinnan52@gmail.com, gdrinnan@telus.net).

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Emcee Larry Read, with Dorothy Drinnan (left) and Edna Humphreys, the two lead organizers of the 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk. (Photo by Murray Mitchell of Murray Mitchell Photography)

Introducing the Kamloops Kidney Support Group — we’re here for you. . . . 2019 Kamloops Walk to hold news conference

Early each month, I post a message to Twitter that goes something like this:

Nearly 49,000 Canadians are being treated for kidney failure. If you are one, the Kamloops Kidney Support Group will gather Saturday, Aug. 10, 9 a.m., and Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m., at Chances (Barside Lounge and Grill), 1250 Halston Ave. Join us for breakfast and conversation. #kamloops @KidneyBCY

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I also post a similar message to Facebook and send a PSA (Public Service Announcement) to various media people and outlets in the Kamloops areas.

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So . . . allow me to tell you a bit about the Kamloops Kidney Support Group (KKSG).

It was founded by three women — Edna Humphreys, who has a son who has had a kidney transplant, Dorothy Drinnan and Margaret Thompson, both of whom are enjoying life after kidney transplants. Margaret has since moved to Edmonton, however, so we carry on while she watches with interest from afar.

The KKSG doesn’t have any affiliations, medical or otherwise. We are a bunch of folks who come together twice a month, over coffee and/or breakfast, and talk about our renal-related experiences.

No one has kept track, but I would guess that we have had contact with upwards of 50 different people over the time that we have been around. People come and people go; some are regulars and others show up perhaps when they feel a need for some support or when they have a question or two.

We meet twice a month — on the second Wednesday and second Saturday — and had 17 people attend our last gathering.

Two regulars recently have started dialysis — one hemo and the other peritoneal — as they wait for the phone call that hopefully will come soon, telling them there is a match and that a transplant is in the works.

There are other people in our group who are dealing with one type of kidney issue or another, all under medical care. We have one couple who have joined us a couple of times as they seek all the information they can find, their son having been diagnosed with kidney disease.

Dorothy, who was born with one kidney, had her transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. Prior to that, she spent almost four years doing peritoneal dialysis. At that time, there wasn’t a support group or anyone she could chat with — outside the medical community — or ask questions of in a search for information.

You are asking: What kind of information?

It could be answering questions about the interview process one goes through at St. Paul’s Hospital or Vancouver General Hospital in the lead up to a potential transplant.

It could be pointing out that there isn’t a cure for kidney disease — just because someone undergoes a transplant and gets a new (used) kidney doesn’t mean he/she is cured. Yes, it’s true. While there are cures for various kinds of cancer and other diseases, there isn’t a cure for kidney disease.

The trick is to learn how to live with it. Those of us involved with the KKSG hope that we are able to help people do just that.

If you have been impacted by kidney disease, feel free to check us out.

If you live in a community other than Kamloops and wonder if such a group really is worthwhile, I highly recommend it. If you would like more information, get in touch with us.

If you are in the Kamloops area, we will be at the Barside Lounge and Grill in Chances on Saturday, 9 a.m., and Wednesday, 10 a.m.



2019 KAMLOOPS KIDNEY WALK

NEWS CONFERENCE

WHAT: Organizers of the 2019 Kamloops Kidney Walk have scheduled a news conference.

WHEN: Monday, Aug. 19, 2 p.m.

WHERE: St. Andrews on the Square, 159 Seymour St.

WHO: Organizers will outline plans. . . . Two honourees will be introduced. . . . Organizers will introduce and thank the largest single donor in the event’s 10-year history.

We look forward to seeing you there.

FMI: Edna Humphreys, 250-376-6361 (ednahumphreys@shaw.ca); Dorothy Drinnan, 250-573-2988 (ddrinnan52@gmail.com).