Christmas arrived at the Heritage House in Kamloops on Sunday afternoon as the Kamloops Chapter of the B.C. and Yukon Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada held its annual luncheon.
Every year, volunteers with the chapter prepare and serve a pre-Christmas turkey lunch to dialysis patients and transplant recipients along with their guests.
This year’s luncheon was played host to by Larry Read, the sports information officer at Thompson Rivers University. He also is the emcee for Kamloops’ annual Kidney Walk, another event that is organized by the local chapter. The 2020 Kidney Walk is scheduled for Sept. 20 at McDonald Park, so you can put that on your calendar.
And, on Sunday, the inimitable Jesse Jones, who teaches at Lee’s Music in Kamloops, joined us, as he always does, to provide the tunes of the season.
Murray Mitchell, the Kamloops’ chapter’s official photographer, also was there. A long-time photographer with the late Kamloops Daily News, he took the photos that appear here. He now operates Murray Mitchell Photography — murraymitchell.ca — right here in Kamloops.
Check back shortly for more from Murray Mitchell Photography from the annual Kidney Christmas Luncheon.
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 . . .
Well, 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 issyndicated 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.