Volunteers are at the Root of the Kidney Community

Ontario Branch Awards Recognize Volunteer Contributions

This spring, the Ontario Branch of The Kidney Foundation of Canada came together to celebrate the efforts of valuable volunteers from across the province. The awards ceremony took place on May 14 and was hosted at the Kingbridge conference centre in King City. Volunteers are the heart of The Kidney Foundation. The awards presented recognized community members who displayed exemplary examples of caring, leadership and philanthropy to benefit those touched by kidney disease across Canada.

Craig Kerr, a member of both the Ontario Board and the Hamilton Leadership Group, announced the recipients of the awards over the course of the evening, along with Ontario Branch President Greg Robbins.

National AwardsJuly Dorland
The National Fund Development Award, which recognizes the efforts of a significant fund development effort on behalf of The Foundation, was presented to one of the youngest ambassadors of the Foundation, July Dorland. When July was six years old, she received a kidney transplant from her father. Three years later, in 2012, July turned a school fundraising assignment into a yearly initiative celebrating her transplant anniversary. July’s efforts have raised $49, 000 to date to benefit The Kidney Foundation.

The second national award presented was the Mary Lou Karley Patient Award. The award honours the late Mary Lou Karley and recognizes superb volunteer dedication to The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Patient Services programs or activities. Roger Wharmby, a Kidney Foundation Peer Support volunteer and transplant recipient, was honoured with this award for his compassion and strong commitment to those touched by kidney disease. Roger is an invaluable member of The Kidney Foundation, serving as a leader in the Kidney Foundation’s Peer Support network, a member of the Lakeridge Patient Council, and a participant in the Kidney Walk.

Anne BrinkmanThe National Special Appreciation Award is given to an individual or group whose involvement and contribution has had a significant impact on the Foundation. This year, The Kidney Foundation of Canada recognized the tremendous achievements and contributions of Anne Brinkman. Anne was the national manager of the Kidney Connect Peer Support Program for a number of years. During her time with the Foundation, Anne empowered thousands of Canadians living with kidney disease through her efforts with the Kidney Connect program. Additionally, Anne offered program support and governance with her social work training to multiple Kidney Foundation chapters across Ontario.

Lynn Caskie

Ontario Awards
Two members of the Ontario volunteer community were honoured with Outstanding Volunteer Awards for their devoted support of the Foundation. The first was Lynn Caskie, an outstanding volunteer who has been a great asset to The Foundation’s Program Department since 2011. Lynn’s enthusiastic assistance has been instrumental in providing support materials to patients, physicians and renal units throughout Ontario. 

Pauline Cernigoj

Pauline Cernigoj was also honoured with an Outstanding Volunteer Award at the awards ceremony. Pauline has been a valuable member of the Foundation’s volunteer network for 27 years. Well known throughout the renal community in Thunder Bay, Pauline just celebrated her 25th anniversary as a transplant recipient and continues to support the Foundation with her amazing spirit and dedication. 


 The Excellence in Leadership Award is intended to recognize an individual who exemplifies the spirt of volunteerism through exceptional commitment, service, creativity and leadership. This year’s recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award was dedicated nephrologist Dr. Norman Muirhead. As a leading member of the renal community in London and the current president of the London and District Chapter of the Foundation, Dr. Muirhead takes every opportunity to provide care to those affected by kidney disease.

David E. White

This year, The Kidney Foundation of Canada recognized two generous partners that have made significant contributions to fundraising efforts. The first was David E. White, an integral member of the annual London Celebrity Men in a Fashion Event. David’s enthusiastic involvement in the annual event is vital to its success. David goes above and beyond each year, providing music, choreography, outfits for the models and suits for the silent auction.

Peter Wilkins
The Kidney Foundation of Canada presented the second Outstanding Partner award to The Sarnia Golf and Curling Club. In August 2005, The Sarnia Golf and Curling Club first partnered with The Kidney Foundation of Canada and the Sarnia Organ Donor Awareness Group for their charity Pro Am golf tournament. Each organization received $7,500 in the first year. In 2015, both groups celebrated their 11th year participating in the annual Pro Am. The outstanding successes of the annual event exemplifies the benefits of local partnerships.

The dedicated volunteers of Sarnia’s Friendly Visitor Program provide assistance and a friendly ear to dialysis patients at the Bluewater Health Dialysis Unit. Both patients and staff look forward to the Friendly Visitors’ weekly visits. The positive impact on the lives of kidney patients made by this exceptional team was recognized with this year’s Programs and Services Award. Current members of the Friendly Visitor team include Gord Kuglin, Peter Neuhart and Paul Sloane.

Two awards were presented at the awards ceremony to recognize Excellence in Fundraising, an essential contribution to the Foundation. The Sutherland family from Pembroke were given the first Excellence in Fundraising Award of the evening. Don and Cathy Sutherland

The Sutherland family, including Don, Cathy and their three daughters, Colleen, Meghan and Heather, participated in their first Pembroke Walk in 2012, four years after Don received a kidney transplant from Cathy. Since then, the family has become an essential part of the renal community in Pembroke. Their efforts benefit the Pembroke Walks and have greatly increased both the number of attendees and the funds raised each year.

Erin Stimac has dedicated her valuable time to help with the London Celebrity Men Fashion Event since its inception. Erin’s vibrant personality is an essential part of the success the event achieves each year. The team behind the London Celebrity Men Fashion Event is consistently motivated by her hard working spirit and dedication. For her unwavering commitment to The Foundation, Erin received the second Excellence in Fundraising Award presented this year.

Jed Dadson
The awards for Leadership in Philanthropy aim to recognize the philanthropic nature of individuals and corporate partners which allows The Kidney Foundation to assist Canadians touched by kidney disease. Jed Dadson, Vice-President of National Sales and Marketing and Bellco Canada Inc. was the first creative contributor honoured for his philanthropic leadership. Since 2013, Jed has secured over $90,000 in corporate support for events and activities across the province. In 2015, he joined the Ontario Branch Gala Committee and continues to bring invaluable insight, humour and enthusiasm to The Foundation. 

Dr. Faisal Rehman was also recognized for his philanthropic leadership with The Kidney Foundation. A kidney specialist and staunch supporter of the Kidney Foundation, Dr. Faisal puts his heart and soul into every charitable event in which he is involved. These include implementing the annual “Showdown in the Downtown” fundraising event in London. The black tie gala initiated by Dr. Rehman has evolved over the years to include entertainment from boxing demonstrations to performances by artists Jim Cuddy and Jann Arden.

Richard Bernreiter and Marion Harms
The award recognizing this year’s Outstanding Chapter went to the Northern Superior Chapter, which is centred in Thunder Bay. The Northern Superior Chapter’s efforts have generated a new record for both participation and revenue generation in their 2015 Walk, raising $17,000. As well, the Chapter has engaged the renal community in Thunder Bay through numerous activities including activities on World Kidney Day at the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital and an expansion of the local Kidney Connect Support Group.

Wendy Kudeba
Finally, the President’s Award is presented to a recipient personally selected by the Branch President. This year, the significant award recognized Wendy Kudeba, Ontario Branch Director of Marketing & Communications, who has assisted in advancing work that supports the vision and mission of The Kidney Foundation.


It is through the compassion and dedication of volunteers and partners such as those recognized at this year’s Ontario Branch award ceremony that the Foundation is able to provide these tremendous services. Volunteers are the roots of The Kidney Foundation and they play a crucial role in improving the lives of those affected by kidney disease. 

Click here to learn how you can become involved as a Foundation volunteer.

Ontario Branch - 1599 Hurontario Street, Suite 201, Mississauga, ON L5G 4S1 - Tel.: (905) 278-3003 / 1-800-387-4474
Charitable Registration Number: 107567398RR0001