Our History

In the 1960s, people with kidney failure had little hope of survival. Dialysis was considered an extraordinary treatment and restricted to very few. Transplantation was still experimental.

It was during this time that a young Montreal architect, Morty Tarder, died from kidney disease. Confronted with their son’s death, the Tarder family vowed to start an organization that would raise money for research into this poorly understood disease. In 1964, The Kidney Disease Foundation of Canada, as it was known then, was created in Montreal.

In 2014, The Kidney Foundation of Canada celebrated 50 years of helping Canadians living with kidney disease. View our infographics illustrating our key achievements.

Today, the Kidney Foundation of Canada is the national health charity committed to kidney health and to improved lives for all people living with kidney disease. Our vision for the future is an enduring legacy of those dedicated volunteers who, 50 years ago, started out with a compelling cause and the resolve to make a difference.

Atlantic Canada Branch History

The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s first Chapter in New Brunswick was formed in Woodstock in 1970.  That same year, kidney patient Judy McKay and Dr. S. Paul Handa, the Province’s first nephrologist, attended the National Organizing Meeting in Toronto, returning with the information necessary to start a Branch.  On their return, Judy McKay personally contacted former Premier Louis J. Robichaud who took a lead role in bringing New Brunswick business and community leaders together around the cause.  On May 16, 1971, the inaugural meeting of the New Brunswick Branch was held.

In 1971, a small group of people from Summerside, Prince Edward Island, started the "Gerri Lynn Memorial Chapter", in memory of Gerri Lynn Sheen, a teenaged kidney patient from Summerside.  The Chapter carried on until 1976, when it became inactive.  In 1979 a meeting was held in Charlottetown and the PEI Branch was formed.  The first meeting official meeting of the PEI Branch was held on February 28, 1979.

On February 2, 1972, a meeting was held at the Hotel Nova Scotian in Halifax where a slate of officers was brought forward to form the first Executive Committee of the Nova Scotia Branch.  Under the leadership of Dr. Eric Balcom, President, the provincial branch of The Kidney Foundation of Canada was on its way.

Newfoundland was first represented as a chapter established by Margaret Fitzgerald, her husband Charlie, and Dr. Henri Gault, the province's only nephrologist.  With the help of the Northwestern Rotary Club, in 1973 this chapter became the Newfoundland and Labrador Branch of The Kidney Foundation of Canada and Margaret Fitzgerald was elected as its first President.

On May 6, 2009, the New Brunswick Branch and the Prince Edward Island Branch were merged to form the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island Branch and in June, 2011, all of the Branches in Atlantic Canada were merged to form the Atlantic Canada Branch.  Over the years, the number of Chapters has varied based on the level of interest in various communities across the Branch.  Today, we have  twelve active Chapters and eleven volunteer groups in all four Atlantic Provinces.  These committed volunteers provide support to kidney patients and their families; volunteer their time at dialysis units; promote organ donation; attend health and wellness fairs and participate in fundraising activities.



Atlantic Branch - 10 Pippy Place, Suite #102, St. John's NL A1B 3X3 - Tel.: (709) 753-8999 / 1-800-563-0626 
Charitable Registration Number: 107567398RR0001