Hamilton Kidney Walk participant says the cause is ‘near and dear’ to his heart

Hamilton's Kidney walk goes Sept. 22 at Confederation Park.
Hamilton's Kidney walk goes Sept. 22 at Confederation Park. File / Global News

A number of Hamiltonians impacted by kidney disease will be gathering at Confederation Park on Sunday to raise much-needed funds for lifesaving research.

The 2019 Hamilton edition of the Kidney Walk will take place on Sunday as part of walks in 35 communities across Ontario in September.

Hamilton’s Craig Kerr is one of those who will be participating in the annual event at the park’s Willow Cove Pavilion.

Kerr says his connection to the disease is an intimate one, having been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in the 1990s.

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“The cause is near and dear to my heart but I’m a kidney transplant recipient,” Kerr told Global News. “I received a kidney through a paired exchange program. My wife donated a kidney to an anonymous recipient and as a result I received a kidney from an anonymous donor.”

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Kerr, who’s part of the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Hamilton leadership group, says the walk is a family affair for him. His father, wife, children, siblings and niece all volunteer at some level with the foundation and the walk.

This year, the foundation is aiming to raise more than $1 million in Ontario, and Kerr says some of those funds will be earmarked for Hamilton.

“Hamilton’s a research centre and research grants come back into our community,” Kerr said. “A lot of those funds will go into research and into developing better treatments and outcomes for patients.”

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The Kidney Foundation says one in 10 Canadians have or are at risk of developing kidney disease. The agency also says three-quarters of Canadians who are waiting for a transplant are waiting for a kidney.

Sunday’s event will take place between 9 a.m. and noon with the walk starting at 10 a.m.

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