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Fifth Annual Pontiac Kidney Walk brings in 12k

LIZ DRAPER
SHAWVILLE Sept. 24, 2023
Many would say that this past weekend we were blessed with beautiful warm weather, but it was also clear Sunday afternoon at the Shawville Fairgrounds, that The Kidney Foundation has been blessed with Sand Bay resident, Randy Russell.
Russell, the fifth generation in his family with polycycstic kidney disease, along with his wife and kidney donor, Francine Lyrette, organized the Fifth Annual Pontiac Kidney Walk, which brought out dozens of supporters and participants of all ages.
Registration began at noon, with the walk officially starting at 1:00 p.m. after a few welcoming words from Russell, who thanked the Shawville Rotary Club for their major role in the day, as well as the many businesses who donated prizes to be raffled off at the end of the walk. Russell emphasized that not a single business he visited, said ‘no’.
Russell also used his opening speech to share some facts about kidney disease, and the importance of awareness.
“The number of people with chronic kidney failure disease increases every year. The average in Canada is one in 14, the average in Quebec is now one in 10,” Russell began. “The sad part is the ones in 10, many don’t even know they have kidney disease.”
Russell went on to explain that the walks that happen all over the country are the biggest fundraising efforts to bring in money for The Kidney Foundation. The foundation uses it to fund research, help those living with kidney disease, promote organ donation and educate about early detection.
“One of the priorities is early identification – if you’re caught early you can make it through your life without being tethered to a dialysis machine,” Russell said, adding that detecting disease is often as simple as asking your doctor to check off a few extra boxes on your requisitions.
Enthusiasm was high by the time the opening ribbon was cut and the 5k walk began. Participants had been given a bag of 15 kidney beans at registration and at the end of each lap they put one in a jar being held by this years’ mascot, Kidney Bean Samantha. Several participants even chose to run the entire time, or most of it, and were greeted by rounds of applause each lap they completed.
Russell said he was encouraged by the number of young people participating, and he made note of it in both his opening and closing speeches. Edith Campbell, whose three granddaughters were there, made a point of telling THE EQUITY that they were there because of Russell.

“Randy did a presentation at school when he was [supply] teaching and that’s why there are so many young people involved,” Edith said. “He explained to them what kidney disease was, that he’s had a transplant and that his wife donated it. The kids were really impressed, so they’re doing this for Randy.”
By mid-afternoon, the walk wrapped up with door prizes, another speech from Russell and also from Regional Director for the Kidney Foundation, Bruno Tousignant, who thanked Russell for his endless support. Tousignant also presented Russell with a shirt, thanking him for raising 75 per cent of the funds from this area himself.
This year’s grand total was then announced, a whopping $12,062, which has brought the five-year Pontiac walk total to over $60,000.

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