News Local

Kidney Walk raises nearly $20K

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

The annual Kidney Walk took place Saturday, an event which raised close to $20,000 for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

The annual Kidney Walk took place Saturday, an event which raised close to $20,000 for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

It was a walk to remember.

 

The 2017 Pembroke Kidney Walk brought out more than 50 people to the Riverwalk Amphitheatre to kick off this year’s fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Nearly $20,000 has been raised by the event, which as usual was led by the Sutherland family of Pembroke, who's personal story of dealing with kidney disease formed the core of the event for nearly 10 years.

This year's event was tinged with sadness, though, after last year's loss of Don Sutherland. Known to his friends as Suds, he passed away Dec. 14, 2016 due to a non-kidney related health issue, just two months after his 65th birthday.

It was his diagnosis with Polycystic Kidney Disease in 2006 which started the family on their journey. In March 2008 Don was started on dialysis and in October of that same year he received a new lease on life thanks to a kidney transplant received from his wife Catherine.

“We had eight good years after his transplant,” she wrote on the Sutherland team page online for the Kidney Walk. “We were able to travel, enjoy our lives and start our retirement.”

Catherine wrote how her husband was the inspiration for her getting involved in the Kidney Walk.

“Without all of the work that The Kidney Foundation does the research would not have existed for me to donate a kidney,” she wrote. “His life would have been much more complicated; I thank them for their support.”

Catherine admits it was tough this year to carry on with the walk without Don, but the Sutherlands will carry on.

Heather Sutherland, one of Don and Catherine's daughters, said her father also inspired her to do the walks. This time, it will be in his memory.

“This foundation not only provides special programs and supports to people with kidney disease and their families, but also helps to fund research to better treat this disease and maybe one day, find a cure.

I believe this research is especially important,” she said.

It is that research which made her father's transplant possible, and will hopefully lead to a cure.

SUhler@postmedia.com