September 24 marked the fifth annual Pontiac Kidney Walk at the Shawville fairgrounds. The event was organized by Randy Russell and all proceeds went to the Canadian Kidney Foundation.
After being diagnosed with hereditary kidney disease in his late 20s, and receiving a kidney transplant courtesy of his wife, Francine, Russell felt a calling. He knew he needed to do something to honour all the previous generations of his family who suffered from the disease and create hope for generations to come.
“For years, my wife and I did the walk in Gatineau, and then we moved out here and kept driving down there anyway. That’s when I realized there was a whole community being left out of the awareness, and I decided I wanted to bring the event out here. The community here is amazing, really. We’ve exceeded our expectations for donations each year.”
This year, Russell aimed to raise $8,000 for the Canadian Kidney Foundation. That goal was surpassed before the walk even began. Over $11,000 has been raised for the non-profit, and the event had a sizeable turnout of school children and the elderly alike.
Russell took a moment to reflect on the turnout for the event and expressed his appreciation for the increased number of younger attendees this year. In the past, the majority of those who attended were older individuals, making this year’s diversity of age groups a sign of the event’s growth.
– Grace Richards