The Give the Gift of Life walk, Queens County’s third annual walk to raise money for the Kidney Foudation of Canada, is taking place in Liverpool Sunday, Oct. 16.
Participants of the five kilometer walk will gather at the search and rescue building on Sandy Cove Road in Liverpool at 1 p.m. to begin their route, which will go from the building, down the Trestle Trail, then back through town ending back at the start point. There will be various prizes, as well as a cake waiting for participants when they complete the trek.
Organizer of the walk Elaine Park, dialysis licensed practical nurse at Queens General Hospital, says the first two walks in Liverpool were quite successful, and she hopes this year will be packed with more enthused walkers.
“We got a lot of different walkers last year, so I'm hoping that the year before and last years walkers are going to join up,” says Park. “We're hoping to get around 50. Fifty would be good, and more would be better.”
Because there is a lot of kidney disease on the South Shore, Park says it is more important than ever for people to be aware of the disease. With patients coming to the dialysis centre three times a week for four hours, some even up to five or six hours, Park says awareness of organ and tissue donation is crucial. A kidney transplant can drastically change the life of a dialysis patient.
“We've had a number of transplants over the past few years, which is just great. It makes such a big difference in their life,” she says. “When someone gets a transplant it's just like they're giving us one. We're just as excited.”
Although Give the Gift of Life is an awareness walk, it is also a fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation of Canada, so participants are given pledge sheets. Page says she has had some difficulty getting people involved with the walk, especially when she mentions the pledges.
“When you tell them it's a pledge sheet they kind of hum and haw,” she says. “But they can put a team in. It'd be nice to get some companies involved.”
“I knew I wanted to do something for [the patients], because they're so important to me and the nurses here. You get so close to them when you're with them three to four hours a day.” - Elaine Park, organizer of the walk.
Park says she originally took on organizing the walks when the hospital was contacted by the Kidney Foundation of Canada three years ago. The foundation was looking for someone to step up and tackle the project, and Park volunteered for the sake of the patients who had become so near and dear to her heart.
“I knew I wanted to do something for [the patients], because they're so important to me and the nurses here. You get so close to them when you're with them three to four hours a day,” she says. “They're family almost when you're with them that much. That’s why we get so excited when something good happens.”
Although the walk is only a couple years old, Page has high hopes and dreams for the future of the awareness event.
“I just want this to take off so bad. I want it to grow so much,” she says. “I'm hoping as the years go by it will catch on like the rest of the walks in town.”
Page says many have been involved with getting the walk up and running, but she thinks Harold Mossman is someone special worth mentioning. Mossman was a frequent visitor to the dialysis unit at Queens General Hospital while his wife was going there for treatment. Although his wife has since passed on, Mossman has continued to support the unit and Kidney Foundation by driving other patients, and donating generous amounts to the walk as well as some of the big prizes.
“He has put in a lot of work, money, and travel,” says Page. “Without him I really don’t know where we would be.”
Anyone interesting in collecting a pledge sheet can contact Elaine Park at the Queens General Hospital dialysis unit at 354-3174, or her home phone at 356-2611.