Manitoba News & Events

Welcome to the Manitoba News & Events page! Here you can find news and events from our branch: click on the buttons below to read the latest news, or to go to our events calendar. 


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Angels Amongst Us

February 23, 2018

We wish to celebrate the life of Mr. Donald McLaren of Roland, Manitoba. We mourn his passing on January 22nd, 2018, and send our sincere sympathies to his wife Shirley, daughter Kyla, son Shane, father Clarke and all family members. Together the family has hosted the McLaren’s Pig Roast for over 20 years, raising an unsurpassed amount of financial support for our local Patient Programs and Research, while heightening awareness of kidney disease throughout the region. 

Donald was admired and loved. His cheerful, caring demeanor and optimistic outlook were contagious and helped many. He inspired branch staff. We shall miss those chats in the shed, where we planned how to solve the world’s problems.

Val Dunphy, Executive Director

June 23, 2017
It is with sad hearts that Branch staff, volunteers and supporters remember Jennifer Derksen from Morden who passed away on Jun 21st. 

A key volunteer for Manitoba Branch, Jennifer was a very special, kind lady who first approached us to learn of ways she could assist others affected by kidney disease in Manitoba. Before long she offered to take on lead roles, and most recently organized the first Kidney Walk at Morden, in September of last year. Her conviction was contagious and she engaged many, many supporters and volunteers. She was always ready for the next task or opportunity! Jennifer was a very effective spokesperson and ambassador for the Foundation, sharing her personal story of living with kidney disease with sponsors, other patients and the media.

We remember Jennifer’s warm smile and loving ways. There was always a ‘round of hugs’ for all. Her strong spiritual beliefs gave her strength throughout her battle, and she was an inspiration to us all. 

Val Dunphy, Executive Director

April 18, 2017
Branch staff and volunteers are truly saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Carl Radimer, on April 15th.Carl was an active member of the Branch’s Peer Support network, Manitobans for Presumed Consent and a cherished presenter.

Until a couple of years ago, Carl taught PR at the University of Winnipeg. He was a respected mentor.Most recently, Carl was a speaker at our Patient Symposium in November. He was a very popular presenter, appreciated for sharing his experiences and honest insights.

His kidney disease was caused by medication used to treat his ulcerative colitis; this was valuable information for the masses on how kidneys are truly ‘master chemists’ and can be impacted by external agents.

Mr. Radimer had been dialyzing successfully at home until he became sick last winter.

Carl had a very positive and ‘matter-of-fact’ attitude which spread to those around him. He will be missed.

Val Dunphy, Executive Director

April 28, 2017
It is with profound sadness that I advise that Mr. Mendel Schnitzer died on Sunday following a lengthy battle with kidney disease. He received a third transplant in late December, but unfortunately, it did not take.

Mendel was volunteering with the Manitoba Branch of the Kidney Foundation when I joined the organization in 2000. He served many years on the Branch’s Patient Services and Organ Donation committees, and several on the Board of Directors. He was a trained and valued Peer Support volunteer, assisting many Manitobans, until very recently. Over the years he shared his story numerous times, inspiring the masses with his energy and positive attitude. As a very effective advocate, he was instrumental in the Home Hemodialysis process at Seven Oaks and Manitoba’s related reimbursement program. He was a model patient, dialyzing comfortably at the Lake during summer months. Most recently, as you know, Mendel was working with Manitobans for Presumed Consent. His contributions were always significant.

Always an educator, Mendel initiated research and focus on the Aboriginal population, back in 2000, based on his prediction that this target group would soon need the Kidney Foundation, and we had to have (school) materials to address their needs. Following a needs assessment conducted in 2001, we began developing the school curriculum that we still provide today at First Nations schools - Our Children-Their Health-Our Future. 

Mendel was determined, deliberate, calculated and visionary. He taught me a great deal about leadership and education over the years. He was a strong voice for Manitoba Branch during his presidency. 

Mendel will be greatly missed. Family advises that there will not be a funeral, as per his wishes.

Val Dunphy, Executive Director

February 9, 2017
It is with heavy hearts that we share that Mr. Hank (Henry) Horner passed away last night at the HSC.

Hank is one of the first people I met when I joined the Kidney Foundation, over 16 years ago. He was the most optimistic person I knew, with a wonderful outlook on life, despite his family’s many health challenges.

Hank was a dedicated volunteer - always - giving freely of his time to sell peanuts, canvas door-to-door, or share his story of living with kidney disease. He sat on many branch committees over the years and was instrumental in the enhancement of many patient programs. He was a strong advocate for organ donation and was my mentor through the development of the green organ donation (vehicle) magnets. He introduced many others to the Foundation, including his wonderful friends Dennis & Connie Stewner.

Many would remember seeing Hank at our Patient Symposiums, the launch of the Bison Transport trailer, or at our Branch reception on June 3rd of last year.

You inspired us Hank. We are grateful for all you did, and are honored to have been your friends. You will be missed. 

Val Dunphy, Executive Director


Finding hope while being “married” to dialysis

By Melanie Ferris
Phyllis and Ivan Lathlin started dating at age 17.

“I fell in love with my husband from day one,” Phyllis says. “Ivan is such a caring and gentle man. He will give you the shirt off his back. Whenever you need advice, a friend, he would be there to lend a hand.”

The couple has been together 29 years. They have called The Pas and Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) their home for 24 years.

The couple has 5 children together: Amanda (28), Josh (24), Al (21), Jasmine (19), and Summer (14). 
Lathlin family
Phyllis was a stay-at-home mom for many years, and she eventually went on to have a career in the justice system. Ivan became a class one truck driver and a heavy duty equipment operator. He went to work in a Fort McMurray mine for almost a year until he got sick with high blood pressure. Ivan went on sick leave until he was able to control his blood pressure with medication.

Ivan went to work near Brandon as a truck driver after his blood pressure was under control. He soon became very ill, and his brother had to bring him home.

“My husband lost 70 pounds, his body was wasting away,” Phyllis explains. “Once a strong man, now a shell of a man. What happened to my husband, where did he go?”

Ivan received a diagnosis of IgA Nephropathy. His kidneys were failing and functioning at 60 percent. He would be looking at dialysis in the “far future.” Ivan had to follow a special diet, learn to eat differently, and take omega 3 fish tablets to slow the progress of the disease.

Unfortunately, Ivan’s uncontrolled high blood pressure caused his kidneys to fail faster.

“The doctors told us he would need dialysis in 18 months and be prepared,” explains Phyllis. “Two weeks later, his kidneys failed and were functioning at 10 percent. He needed to go to Winnipeg as soon as possible.”

“Once we got there, we got the devastating news that he had to start dialysis right away,” Phyllis recalls. “I remember that day very well, it was March 15, 2010.”


Living with the diagnosis
“It takes a lot out of a person when you have a loved one who has kidney failure,” states Phyillis. “It is almost like a grieving process. The loss of income, loss of stability, and a broken man. I fought with my emotions and screamed inside, as I watched helplessly, unable to help him.”

Ivan started with hemodialysis and went to peritoneal dialysis. He now gets his treatment at The Pas Dialysis Unit. He has been on the kidney transplant list since 2010.

“I always said that we are married to dialysis. The old ball and chain,” states Phyllis. “Even visiting family has become a task and needs pre-planning. We have to plan our trips around dialysis, Monday, Wednesday, Friday (when) he does his 4½ hour treatment. We only have our weekends, even that is not long enough.”

Impact on the loved one

“I was diagnosed with depression in the fall of 2012,” Phyllis says. “I did not even know that I was depressed, I just went with the flow. I was in survival mode most of the time, and numb at the same time. It has been 4 years now. It is still a constant battle all the time.”

“I am on a healing journey and have had some set backs and needed to be hospitalized,” explains Phyllis. “I have faced many obstacles in our life. This one has been like a rollercoaster ride. I have been focusing on working through my depression with my mental health counsellor and doctor.”

“I did find support by way of patient, caring, thoughtful community member/staff who comforted me,” Phyllis shares. “I made contact with the local disabilities coordinator for OCN. She is interested in starting a support group and creating awareness of available programs. I found a group called Getting Better Together in The Pas for patients and families.”

Finances, dialysis, and health
Phyllis and Ivan Lathlin
"When my husband first got sick, we both never dreamed it would happen to us, “Phyllis says. “We were young and just starting to enjoy financial stability both in our careers. Our dreams of travelling, building our lives together has all come to a halt.”

“I was under extreme stress as the bills piled up and I struggled to keep food in the fridge,” she explains. “I never thought that I would be the one to break down. I thought I was the strong one. I had a nervous breakdown.”

Hopes for the future

“I pray and hope that he can receive a kidney transplant in the future. Even if he does not get a new kidney, he will still live his life to the fullest while he is on dialysis,” Phyllis states. “After all, it is only his kidneys that are not well, he is healthy otherwise.”

“My son Josh wanted to donate his kidney to his dad,” Phyllis explains. “He was a good candidate. My son went through the tissue testing and that was successful. Our excitement quickly turned to sorrow. My son could not donate because they found high blood pressure. Josh was disappointed and felt he had been a failure.”

“Ivan celebrates his life, and is thankful that he can enjoy our children and grandchildren together,” Phyllis says. “Life is good and if I can still hear him whistling a tune in the morning, then I know, my husband is happy. If my husband can find the strength to love life and stay alive, then I can too. He gives me lots of love and support, and always has a positive support for all people who know him.”

Misconceptions about kidney failure
By Phyllis Lathlin

Ivan does not have diabetes. His kidneys did not fail because he was diabetic. Most people believe that he has the condition and always ask. Even the nurses are geared to automatically test his sugar and they forget he does not have diabetes. People often ask him, “How did your kidneys fail?” He tells them his immune system attacked his kidneys, silently doing damage all his life. They were scarred for life.
Ivan Lathlin
Ivan lived a healthy lifestyle and did not smoke or do drugs. He did drink socially once in awhile. He was very active always wanting to work hard to afford a good life for us. He still practices that whenever he can. He says he feels good when he moves about even when he is sickly. Exercise changes everything. He has proven that to me every day.

I like to make people aware that being on dialysis is not only for diabetics. There is a status quo that we often assume that is why. Or it was drinking, smoking drugs… who knows why?

There is available testing you can take by a urine sample and a pin poke on the finger that was developed by Dr. Rigatto and a team of scientists at the University of Manitoba. They predict that in the year 2024 we will have 3000 people on dialysis. Now that is less than a decade away. Are we prepared?

We need to tell people that the whole family and extended family are equally impacted by the illness and we’re in it for life. It’s like we are on a boat without a paddle.



Do you need support? You can call our Peer Support Program at: 204.989.0806

Rock Climber Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Kidney Transplant

Adrien Perras enjoys ice climbingOriginal story written in 2015 by Estafania Wujkiw, edited by Melanie Ferris in 2016

Not many people realize the exact moment they are given one more opportunity to conquer life. Adrien Perras does. His moment was on May 26, 1976, when he received a kidney transplant. Today he celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The diagnosis happened in January 1976, and he received a kidney transplant that same year.

The 60-year-old Manitoba resident remembers that as a child, he was diagnosed with high levels of protein in his urine, but he never felt very sick. Serious problems began in university, when he had a bad case of the flu, which led to a series of tests at the Health Sciences Centre. It was confirmed he had a remaining kidney function of about 15 percent.

"It was surreal. It was as if I was not participating in my life anymore,” Adrien says. “The hospital and doctors were in charge of me; I couldn’t come and go as I pleased.”

He was about 20 years old when the overwhelming news shook him to the core. After the diagnosis, he was provided with counselling, a dietitian, and a very strict diet.

"They called it a low-protein diet, I called it a no-food diet," he states. "Everything tasted like cardboard."

The diet included no meats, no seasoning, gluten-free products, and mostly vegetables. Once a week, one egg was allowed.

Since there were no matches for a kidney donor in his family, he was on the waiting list for a transplant. With the fistula operation already done in early May, Adrien received a phone call on Victoria Day with news about the possibility for a kidney.

An hour later, it was confirmed it was a match. That evening he went to the hospital and began preparation for surgery.

After surgery, he was given heavy anti-rejection drugs, which helped him overcome two rejection episodes: The first happened three days after and the second episode about three months later.

Mr. Perras was diligent about his recovery and spent a total of six and a half days in the hospital.

"I was really, really, fortunate to be alive again and I wasn’t going to let messing up the rules screw it all up for me,” he explains. “I was religious about when I took my medication, when I did my exercises, and how I did it.”

If the doctor’s order was to walk down the hallway five times, he would do it ten times. Once at home, he walked around the yard then began light running.

Since then, his wife Rosemary McVicar found out that the donor was a cadaver, a victim of a crash-accident. Adrien has declined more detailed information.

His secret to staying healthy is exercising and reducing the amount of junk food he consumes. Adrien also goes to the gym three times a week, along with cross-country skiing, curling, kayaking, hiking, skating, and biking as much as possible.
Adrien Perras kidney recipient
It wasn’t until he was 49 years old that the little boy who always climbed trees began to climb higher.

He took a rock-climbing course at a gym and fell in love with the sport. He met more enthusiasts of the hobby, who encouraged him to join the Alpine Club of Canada and attend regular outings to northwestern Ontario and the Canadian Rockies.

"We are not adrenaline junkies, or thrill-seekers, and we are not cheating death. We are climbing rocks and we are focused, we are out in nature having a blast," he explains.

Perras loves the concept of using his body to propel up a rock.

“Nothing more basic than you and a rock," he says. "You are tied to a person who literally has your life in their hands. If you fall, they catch you on their own. There’s a trust element and anyone who climbs knows that. There is a real communicative bond."

Four years ago, he took it up a notch and tried ice climbing. In winter, he perfects his technique 3 times a week at the 60-foot-high St. Boniface Ice Climbing Tower.

After his journey, he is incredibly grateful to his donor for the gift of life they have given him.

“How do you thank people for that?” he asks. For him, one way to do that is to sign up to become an organ donor. “You are literally giving life to people: eyes, hearts, kidneys, or lungs. It’s so important."

The fact that he was very active at a young age before the diagnosis and continued to exercise properly after the transplant, contributed to his exceptional recovery and a remarkably healthy life. He hopes people in a similar situation take their medications, follow the doctor’s advice, and eat right.

"They also need to know to not give up hope, be optimistic and don’t take anything for granted,” he says.

“Don’t act stupid either. Don’t go jumping off buildings... without a parachute."
Editor’s note: Only one per cent of transplanted kidneys make it to the 40-year mark. The average lifespan of a transplanted kidney is 25 years.

A Test of Faith: An Interview with Sarah Konitz*

By Melanie Ferris

*This story was originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of our Kidney Care Connection newsletter. Since May 2nd is the 1-year anniversary since Faith's kidney transplant, we thought we should share her story again.   Sarah Konitz and daughter Faith

May 2, 2016... Sitting quietly in her stroller, she is small for her age—you wouldn’t know that she is four years old.

Meet Winnipeg resident Faith Konitz, a true fighter. Faith has been on dialysis since she was only two days old.

Sarah and David Konitz are proud parents to Faith. At 28 weeks of pregnancy, they learned that Faith’s kidneys were not functioning. They received the option of terminating the pregnancy.

“She’s my fourth child,” Sarah explains. “I knew she was really strong inside of me. We continued with the pregnancy.”

When she was born, Faith was put onto a ventilator. She was in the hospital for about two months.

“Her lungs were very sick,” Sarah recalls. “She was on peritoneal dialysis at home. She did fairly well.”

Getting ready for a transplant
Faith had problems with her catheter, so she ended up on hemodialysis. She had increased energy with this treatment.

Sarah and David were taking Faith for dialysis six days a week. They decided to get her ready for a kidney transplant. Both parents got tested and were a match to donate a kidney to their daughter. They decided that David would be the donor.

Change of plans
In summer 2013, the transplant surgeon at the Health Sciences Centre did not feel comfortable doing the surgery. David and Sarah looked for another hospital where the transplant could be done, and they found the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California.

“We went to California in January 2014,” Sarah explains. “She had an MRI, a cardiac cath, to make sure her heart was strong enough to handle the transplant. They agreed after a week that they could list her in California.”

Waiting for “the call”
“We went on their transplant list in February 2014. We thought we’d be on the list for a month or two, because they have a lot more donors than we have here,” Sarah states. “The only thing is that Faith needed a kidney from a child or a small adult.

“A year went by and we still didn’t get the call, we were just waiting, waiting, waiting for the call.”

Relocating to California
After a year went by, California health care providers reassessed Faith. She was now able to accommodate an 11-centimetre kidney—an adult-sized kidney.

In March 2015, the Konitz’s relocated to California while they waited for the kidney. Sarah’s mom, Carolyn, relocated to Winnipeg to look after the three older children (Tanner, 14, Mackenzie, 12, and Grace, 12). The Konitz’s were able to afford the move thanks to fundraising they had been doing throughout the year, as well as help from their church.

Faith on May 2, 2015
The above photo shows Faith with her dad David and mom Sarah moments before going into her kidney transplant surgery in 2015.


May 1: Receiving “The Call”
On May 1, they received the call that there was a kidney for Faith.

“She ended up getting an American kidney,” Sarah explains. “We waited 6 weeks.”

“She was on the northern California region waiting list. Her kidney came from Modesto, California,” Sarah says. “We think the kidney came from a 17-year-old girl who died in a car accident. They got both the kidneys and a liver from the same donor, so they did three transplants that weekend.”

Manitoba Health covered the transplant costs—the hospital stay and the medications while Faith was in the hospital. The Konitz’s had to pay for their accommodations and living expenses.

Long road to recovery
After the transplant, Faith had extra fluid in her body that affected her recovery.

“We struggled with her lungs, they were not well, it was like she had pneumonia,” Sarah says. “The first three weeks were a struggle with balancing the fluid that her adult kidney needed with her lungs.”

Faith remained in the Intensive Care Unit for two months in California. Doctors didn’t feed Faith for at least two weeks after her transplant. While her lungs began to recover, she still wasn’t herself.

An MRI was completed, which found that there had been no strokes or blood clots. Back in Winnipeg, doctors suggested that Faith had suffered a brain injury.

“She was on large amounts of heavy drugs. We don’t know if it was that or the malnourishment that affected her brain,” Sarah says. “Basically we were left with our child who was not our four-year-old child.”

Life after the transplant
Faith is now in Winnipeg and re-learning everything, such as rolling, sitting, and communicating using sign language. Although Faith was born hearing, she now depends on sign and body language to communicate with others. Health care providers believe she lost her hearing from a drug called gentamicin.

“It’s going to be months now before she walks,” Sarah says.

“We have to keep our eye on the fact that she has a kidney that’s working perfectly and she’s not having to have dialysis anymore, and focus on the positives. Every day she’s making progress. She will recover.”

“Every day she’s doing a little bit more and she’s kind of settling into life here. She’s a pretty happy little girl,” reflects Sarah. “She’s always been that way, she has such a beautiful little smile. Little hints of her personality are coming back. She’s a bit of a joker, she’ll just stare at you and raise her eyebrows at you.”

Hopes for Faith’s future
“Our hopes for her are that she’s going to make a full recovery, that she’ll be walking and running and signing again,” Sarah says. “We’d like her to go to school next year. Our main hope for her is just to live a normal a life as possible.”


“All of this is God’s will. Our family has amazing faith, which is Faith’s name, but we just have such a strong faith and it’s the only thing we’ve clung to this whole time. Just knowing that God is in control of all of this and he’s just looking out for Faith. Even at the most dire times, that’s all we had.”


Supporting a child with a chronic disease

“Try to give them as normal a life as possible,” advises Faith Konitz’s mom Sarah. “Yes, they have an illness but that’s not the deciding factor of who they are. Just try to help them live life to the fullest.”

“We’ve really just learned, enjoy every day. Every day is a gift and it could be gone just like that. Live life to the fullest,” Sarah says. “Take time for yourself and for your spouse and your other kids. It just falls into trying to have as normal a life as possible. I don’t know how people who don’t have a support system do it.”

Faith's family 2015
Above: Faith Konitz surrounded by her loving family.


“It’s been hard on David and I. It’s been hard on the other three kids. We have to keep doing special things with them and for them. It can’t be easy for them.”

David and Sarah’s families, as well as their church family, have all been a support to them.

Kidney Mortgage: New Partnership Supports Manitobans Affected by Kidney Disease

April 26, 2016 Every 2 weeks, 224 Canadians are diagnosed with kidney disease. The fact is, millions of Canadians are at risk but most don’t even know it—and there is no cure for kidney disease.


The Kidney Foundation of Canada and Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Excellence are pleased to announce a new partnership that is working to support people with kidney disease. The goal is to improve these daunting statistics by raising awareness about kidney disease and its risk factors, helping to facilitate timely interventions and treatments, and striving to improve rates of organ transplants across Canada.


“Working with The Kidney Foundation to launch Kidney Mortgage is something we are really proud of,” says Dave Kelly of Dominion’s Lethbridge office, who helped facilitate the partnership. “This new partnership is a real win-win. It gives us the chance to support people affected by kidney disease simply by doing what we do best – helping Canadians get the best mortgage arrangement possible.”


By donating $224 on every mortgage completed through the Kidney Mortgage program, Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Excellence has made a commitment of up to $1 million over the next 5 years--one of the largest corporate partnerships the Kidney Foundation of Canada has established to date.


The executive director for the Foundation’s Southern Alberta Branch, Joyce Van Deurzen, describes the arrangement as something really special, “With the current economic situation, charities are finding it more and more difficult to get the support they so critically need. That makes it even more exciting to partner with a company like Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Excellence that is able to think outside the box to continue to support the causes most important to them. What’s so wonderful is that kidney patients will be the real beneficiaries of this innovative new partnership.”


If you are interested in getting a kidney mortgage, please visit the Kidney Mortgage website or call 1.888.594.9473 for The Kidney Foundation to receive the $224. 


Meet Dr. Tangri: Groundbreaking kidney researcher

By Melanie Ferris

“People think chronic kidney disease is uncommon,” says Dr. Tangri. “People don’t talk about it.”

In fact, Manitoba has rapidly rising rates of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Sadly, our province has the highest rates of end-stage kidney disease compared to the rest of Canada.Dr. Nav Tangri

Manitoba resident Navdeep Tangri is a great person to speak about regarding these issues, as he’s doing ground-breaking research in the area of kidney health. I recently took some time to catch up with Dr. Tangri.

“We need to look at the epidemic of diabetes,” says Dr. Tangri when asked about how we can combat the rising rates of kidney disease. “We need to screen and diagnose Manitobans for diabetes early. We really need a federal, provincial, and municipal diabetes strategy.”

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD.

Predicting kidney failure
In January 2016, Dr. Tangri published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association about predicting when people living with CKD would reach kidney failure.

Dr. Tangri says a common misconception about the disease is that it equals kidney failure. Some patients may never get to that stage.

Many people with CKD feel stress when wondering about when their kidneys might fail. Dr. Tangri developed a computer application that can help a person to plan their life and to take steps that might help to delay kidney failure.

To calculate the risk of whether a patient’s kidney may fail in the next two to five years, medical professionals can look at a person’s urine albumin; their sex (male or female); age; and their glomerular filtration rate.

A useful tool for primary care providers
Dr. Tangri has an app that is available through the QxMD website ( Use the search terms “Kidney Failure Risk Equation” to find the application. It’s a useful device for primary care providers to download onto their phones. This tool can help health care providers gauge the risk of kidney failure. You can read more about the tool in the image below.
Dr. Tangri's risk prediction
One of Dr. Tangri’s main goals is to keep people living with CKD from progressing to kidney failure. “Dialysis negatively affects a patient’s life. Our job is absolutely to prevent dialysis.”

“We need help getting the word out to primary care providers about CKD,” explains Dr. Tangri, stating that most people with CKD are treated by their primary health care providers. “We’re meeting 30 family physicians in the next month.”

Staying healthy with CKD
“Knowing your risk is helpful for planning your life,” says Dr. Tangri when explaining why his risk equation is helpful for people in the early stages of CKD.

Some advice he would give to people in the early stages of the disease would be to maintain really good blood pressure control and blood sugar control; avoid medications (eg; anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and naproxen can be hard on your kidneys); and make healthy lifestyle changes.

On a personal level, Dr. Tangri is passionate about food, being active, soccer, and travelling. He stays active by playing squash on a regular basis.

As a nephrologist, he says he “tries not to restrict diets unless absolutely necessary.”Fun facts about Dr. Tangri

Dr. Tangri explains that eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, saying that he made his previous evening’s dinner in just 30 minutes, consisting of scallops, broccoli, and sweet potato.

A shining light in Manitoba
Although he was raised in Mississauga, Ontario, 36-year-old Navdeep Tangri now calls Manitoba home. He is an attending physician at the Seven Oaks Hospital in Winnipeg as well as an Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba.

Many who know him would argue that Dr. Tangri is one of Manitoba’s finest. He is humble and down-to-earth, and possesses a great sense of humour that surely puts his patients and colleagues at ease.

"It is a privilege to work with a brilliant academic clinician like Dr. Tangri,” says Dr. Paul Komenda, Associate Professor of Medicine in Nephrology at the University of Manitoba, and Director of Research and Home Hemodialysis at Seven Oaks General Hospital. “His scientific vision, execution and reputation are all world class, but to work with someone such as Nav who is humble, collaborative, compassionate and without entitlement is truly an honour."

We know that Dr. Tangri’s research is positively impacting the lives of people living with kidney disease throughout the world, not just here in Manitoba. He has been widely published and has active research grants from the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Research Manitoba, and the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

These days, Dr. Tangri is conducting a large prospective study on frailty, physical, and cognitive function in people with advanced CKD. He plans tospend the next 4 to 5 years putting the best evidence for kidney care into practice. He has an innovative approach, and wants to “break the old mold of research.” He speaks of overhauling the way that people are detected with CKD using electronic health records. He is looking at developing an Ipad platform that would incorporate a scale, somewhat similar to a fitbit device.

We hope that Dr. Tangri will continue to make Manitoba his home. It sounds like a good plan, as he enjoys living in a province where you can easily connect with people who can help you further your goals of helping others. Dr. Tangri also happens to love his workplace, explaining, “My colleagues are outstanding and are very innovative.”

Do you want to learn more about Dr. Tangri’s research? Visit his website.

Making changes with the Lean, Keen Kidney Machines

By Melanie Ferris

February 2, 2016, Winnipeg....
People living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) face many obstacles. They need to learn how to best manage their condition with the goal of avoiding or delaying kidney failure. Getting a diagnosis of CKD can be overwhelming. Many people struggle with feelings of depression.

Being active is a great way to battle feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Unfortunately, when some people think about being active, they get overwhelmed. Perhaps they don’t have any ideas on simple steps they can take or they feel that winter is a challenging time to take action.Helen and Stefanie in Winnipeg

A program in Winnipeg makes it easier for people living with CKD to be active and take steps to make changes. The Lean, Keen Kidney Machines Program is run by the Manitoba Renal Program. It includes exercise classes as well as health information. The program runs for several weeks at a time.

“These classes were created to educate individuals with CKD regarding the benefits of physical activity and to increase individual comfort level with exercise participation,” says Winnipeg nephrologist Dr. Clara Bohm. “The overarching long-term goal of our program is to decrease morbidity and improve quality of life in people with kidney disease by increasing physical activity and physical function.”

I visited the program to see what it’s all about. At the start of my class, I sat in a room and listened to a presentation by Marla Benjamin, a social worker from The Wellness Institute in Winnipeg.

Ms. Benjamin talked about the five stages of change, which are: (1) pre-contemplation; (2) contemplation; (3) action; (4) preparation; and (5) maintenance. She wanted program participants to think about where they were at in terms of making healthy lifestyle changes.

Since I joined the group on their final class, everyone was focused on the final stage: maintenance. The social worker asked participants, “What is going to trip you up?”

What kinds of things get in the way of people continuing to be active once they have made a commitment to regular exercise?

Participants answered: weather; other priorities; lack of formalized structure (since the program was ending); and lack of transportation to get to the gym.

The social worker asked people to think creatively about being active. She suggested that each person try, at home, to sit in a chair and have some music playing. Stand up and then sit down again. Do this for one entire song. You can feel that just standing up and sitting down will get your heart rate up.

Participants gave more ideas on how they would be active moving forward:

  • Take the stairs more
  • Wash some walls: bathroom, bedrooms, split the work up over a few days
  • Ride a stationary bike for 20 minutes
  • Increase exercise from 3 times/week to 5 times/week
  • Walk to the store instead of driving
  • Walk one extra block every day

Ms. Benjamin asked participants, “What is something new that you have learned here?”

Participants explained that they benefitted from increased energy, became open to being more active, enjoyed a greater social connection, and made new friends. Two people even discovered that they are cousins!

The social worker suggested using those new relationship to be accountable to one another. She said it would be good to keep in touch to check in and make sure that people were still doing things to stay active and healthy.

Another question the social worker asked participants was, “How does exercise benefit you overall in your life?”

“It’s easier for me to walk up and down the stairs,” shared one woman.

“I have more energy now,” said a man.

“All the information I got, I shared with my family,” explained another woman. “About the diet especially.”

Out of the seven people in the program on the day I visited, five of them said that the program did NOT change the food choices they were making, while two people said that they DID change their food choices. Everyone agreed that they became more aware of their nutritional choices, even if they aren’t yet making changes.

One man talked about cutting down on his salt intake. Participants agreed that it is difficult to give up sweets, salts, and fats.

Ms. Benjamin closed her short presentation by explaining, “You need to do something continuously for six months to establish change.”

After the presentation ended, everyone went into the gym area to do cardio, stretching, and strength-building activities. A kinesiologistworks with all participants for the duration of the program, and he led the group through various exercises before the program ended for the day.

New sessions of the Lean, Keen Kidney Machines Program start now. This program is a great way to make positive changes in your life. If you’re living with CKD and would like to sign up, call Krista at 204.631.3039.

Winter sessions

Wellness Institute: February 1 to March 24

Wednesdays, 6pm – 8pm and Thursdays, 2pm – 4pm (education and exercise)

Mondays and Thursdays, 1:00-2:30pm (exercise only) 



Reh-Fit Centre: February 2 to April 8
Thursdays, 1:00 – 3:00 (education and exercise)
Tuesday and Fridays, 9:30 - 11:00am (exercise only)

Funding for Manitoba Schools to “Drop the Pop”: Promoting Kidney Health to Children and Families

January 26, 2016, Winnipeg.... The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch invites elementary schools from across Manitoba to apply for a $250 grant that will help them carry out a Drop the Pop Challenge for children in kindergarten to grade six.
Child with Drop the Pop poster
This is an opportunity for school and community staff to help educate young students about the dangers of sugary drinks. This includes beverages such as soft drinks (eg; Pepsi, Diet Coke, 7-Up, etc); sports drinks (eg; Gatorade and Powerade); energy drinks (eg; Red Bull and Full Throttle); powdered drinks (eg; Tang and Kool-Aid); sweetened milk products; and fruit drinks, beverages, punches, and cocktails.

Teachers take on the role of challengers, asking students to “drop the pop” and all sugary drinks for one week while they teach their students about making healthy lifestyle choices. The Drop the Pop Challenge is a part of the Foundation’s curriculum for Aboriginal schools called Our Children, Their Health, Our Future.

The $250 grant is available to elementary schools that have a significant Aboriginal student body (50% or more of the school population). There are 12 grants available, for a total of $3000 being made available to schools across the province. The deadline to apply for a grant is February 21. Interested parties can click here for a 1-page information sheet and a 1-page application form.

“These grants help enable schools to provide incentives and encouragement to children that help them think more about making healthier choices. Cutting back on sugary drinks may help children avoid Type 2 diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and ultimately, chronic kidney disease,” explains Val Dunphy, executive director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch. “Manitoba has the highest rates of end-stage kidney disease out of all Canadian provinces. By working with the schools to promote healthy kidneys, we hope to have a long-term, positive impact on children, their families, and the larger community.”

The Foundation is asking schools to organize a Drop the Pop Challenge for students in March 2016. March is Kidney Health Month. World Kidney Day falls on March 10—this year’s theme is fitting, as it is Kidney Disease and Children: Act Early to Prevent It.

Aboriginal communities struggle with disproportionate rates of diabetes. Many Manitobans are not aware that diabetes, along with high blood pressure, are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

CKD is very serious because there is no cure. People in the late stages of CKD need to go on dialysis or get a kidney transplant to stay alive. Education is a key part of helping young Aboriginal people to take the right steps that will help them avoid this devastating health issue.

Successful applicants will be notified of their grant by February 26, 2016. The Kidney Foundation will provide support, the $250 grant, and Drop the Pop curriculum with lesson plans and handouts for the selected schools.

This grant is made possible with generous funding from CN Rail.

Eight Manitoba Schools will Encourage Students to “Drop the Pop” for Healthy Kidneys

November 19, 2015, Winnipeg… Today, The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch is pleased to announce it has chosen eight elementary schools from across Manitoba to receive its second annual $250 grant that will help the schools carry out a Drop the Pop Challenge for their students.Happy child from Tadoule Lake

Elementary schools with a significant Aboriginal student population were invited to apply for this grant. Twenty-five schools from across the province applied. The successful schools are as follows:

  • Chief Clifford Lynxleg Anishinabe School, Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation
  • Duke of Marlborough School, Churchill
  • Joe. A Ross School, Opaskwayak Cree Nation
  • Langruth Elementary School, Langruth
  • Peter Yassie Memorial School, Tadoule Lake
  • Roseau Valley School, Roseau Valley
  • Walter Whyte School, Grand Marais
  • Waywayseecappo Community School, Waywayseecappo First Nation

 “We are continuing to spread the word to children that it’s important to take care of your kidneys. One way of doing this is to limit your sugar intake,” explains Val Dunphy, executive director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch. “As November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, this is a perfect time to get students thinking about nutrition and the connection between diabetes and kidney health. We are grateful for all of the school staff members who are committed to sharing healthy living messages with their students.”

Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney disease. Many Manitobans are not aware that diabetes, along with high blood pressure, are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is very serious because there is no cure. People in the end stage of CKD need to go on dialysis or get a kidney transplant to stay alive. Education is a key part of helping young Aboriginal people to take the right steps that will help them avoid this devastating health issue.

During a Drop the Pop Challenge, school and community staff commit to help educate children about the dangers of sugary drinks. Teachers take on the role of challengers, asking students to “drop the pop” and all sugary drinks for one week while they teach their students about making healthy lifestyle choices. Successful applicants will receive the $250 grant along with Drop the Pop lesson plans and handouts.

Schools were selected based on providing concrete plans on how they would promote health to their students. Many schools are planning to use their grant money to buy milk and fresh fruit to make smoothies for their students. The high cost of fresh produce in many northern/remote communities means that smoothies are a rarity for many children. The Roseau Valley School is having a “snack trade in,” where students can trade unhealthy food for something that is better for them. Culture is also a part of this challenge, and some of the schools will invite Elders to come and share stories with students about healthy living.

This grant is made possible with generous funding from CN Rail. The Drop the Pop Challenge is a part of the Foundation’s curriculum for Aboriginal schools called Our Children, Their Health, Our Future.


Quotes from schools:
“By receiving the $250 grant, Joe A. Ross School can utilize the funds to continue to promote healthier choices. This would promote students in selecting healthier drinks without the sugar.”
~Vice-Principal Sylvia L. Scott, Joe. A Ross School, Opaskwayak Cree Nation

“This grant would help us express the importance of all the sugary products and how it affects the community as a whole. There is a high rate of obesity and diabetes among our community. This grant would better the lives and increase the knowledge of healthy choices to our younger generation.”
~Principal Vick Slay, Peter Yassie Memorial School, Tadoule Lake

“Living in the north sugary drinks are often the drink of choice because milk is more expensive. From a very young age children learn to prefer these tooth-decaying drinks. We know our students are curious to learn therefore we are eager to engage in the Drop the Pop activities. It is hope to deepen understandings of the negative impacts of sugary drinks while supporting kids to make better choices.”
~Principal Dr. Sandra Jack-Malik, Duke of Marlborough School, Churchill

“Waywayseecappo Community School would like to thank the Kidney Foundation of Canada for the grant they provided to our school for “Drop the Pop.” We are now able to provide a healthy alternative to students during a mini health fair that contain much less sugar. We are also able to promote healthy alternatives to the community in a form of posters and flyers.”
~Principal Troy Luhowy, Waywayseecappo Community School, Waywayseecappo First Nation

“From November 24 to December 1, 2015, our Walter Whyte School staff and students will be challenged to ‘just STOP and DROP the POP’ for 168 hours! We will sign our pledges in our Tuesday ‘Drop the Pop’ assembly to begin the challenge and finish on Tuesday, December 1 and celebrate with our Groovy Smoothie Day! This is a fabulous opportunity for us as a school community to encourage each other and our families to reduce our sugar intake and focus on healthy kidneys and healthy bodies. We would like to thank the Kidney Foundation of Canada for this fabulous grant and learning opportunity!”
~Principal Gloria Juvonen, Walter Whyte School, Grand Marais

"What an awesome program! This will certainly help our students learn about diabetes and the other health-related issues with sugary drinks."
~Principal Tim Klein, Langruth Elementary, Langruth

“We are doing the Drop the Pop Challenge to fix students’ knowledge of the toxins and damage of sugary drinks on their health and to keep in mind that water and milk are better substitutes for them and their families.”
~Dana Lynxleg, Chief Clifford Lynxleg Anishinabe School, Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation

“We are thankful for the ‘Drop the Pop’ challenge funding as it will have two important functions. The first is it will allow us to take our education for Sustainable Development work into the area of socio-emotional well-being and will be an important step in changing our nutritional policy. Secondly, it is allowing us to connect with Aboriginal community partners in offering support for making healthy choices.”
~Principal Jason Mateychuk, Roseau Valley School, Roseau Valley

Meet The Waldvogels: Our Volunteer Family of 2015

October 26, 2015, Winnipeg... Blair, Jack, Leo, and Irene are The Waldvogel Family. They have been working with The Kidney Foundation of Canada to help build awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. Blair and his family share what it's like to do dialysis, take leave from a great career while dealing with a chronic illness, and the struggle that comes with being on the transplant list. Blair has been waiting five years now for "the call." You can read the Waldvogel's story by clicking here.

The Waldvogel Family at St. Vital Park

Congratulations to Dr. David Rush on Receiving the 2015 Medal for Research Excellence

October 22, 2015, Winnipeg… For his outstanding contribution to research in kidney disease, Dr. David Rush has received the 2015 Kidney Foundation of Canada Medal for Research Excellence

Dr. David Rush is Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, as well as Medical Director of Transplant Manitoba – Adult Renal Transplant Program, and Past Head of the Section of Nephrology in the Department of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Rush has received several teaching awards, as well as the Nadine Jenkins Distinguished Service Award by The Kidney Foundation of Canada Manitoba Branch in 2003, and The Canadian Society of Transplantation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. Dr. Rush’s work has been instrumental in moving the kidney transplantation field forward.

The Kidney Foundation established the Medal for Research Excellence in 1996 to honour Canadian researchers whose work is recognized bytheir peers for having improved the treatment andcare of people living with kidney disease andrelated conditions. It is awarded to a Canadian resident who is recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in kidney research.

“We congratulate Dr. Rush on receiving this national Medal for Research Excellence. We are grateful to have a first-class researcher, doctor, role model, and mentor who is so committed to kidney health,” says Val Dunphy, Executive Director for the Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch. “Dr. Rush joins an esteemed group of researchers who have received the medal since 1996. Dr. Rush’s dedication to research has an incredibly positive impact on the lives of those affected by kidney disease in our province.”

Dr. Rush’s pioneering work in using surveillance biopsies in transplantation made him the first to report the high prevalence of subclinical rejection in kidney transplant recipients. He has changed the understanding of the link between early chronic pathologic changes and long-term graft survival. Dr. Rush’s seminal work has lowered the threshold for the diagnosis of rejection and impacted the design of clinical trials evaluating immunosuppression protocols for kidney transplant patients. Dr. Rush’s work in translational medicine has also directly led to the improvement in renal allograft survival and patient care in Transplant Manitoba’s Adult Renal Program, where over 1000 transplants have been performed to date. The international profile of his research program has led to changes in clinical practice in many transplant programs worldwide.

“Dr. Rush’s dedication to his patients and to the field of transplantation has meant the world to families living with renal failure,” says Dr. Peter Nickerson, Medical Director, Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life Program. “His leading-edge research has greatly improved outcomes for renal transplant patients giving people the ability to live life to the fullest.”

Dr. Rush, Past Director of the Nephrology Training Program at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, has been a dedicated counsellor to a new generation of researchers, helping them develop as independent, internationally-known investigators. During the past 30 years Dr. Rush has been nominated almost annually for awards in teaching excellence by his students. His passion for kidney health continues to live on and impact Manitobans positively through the up-and-coming nephrologists who have been mentored by Dr. Rush.

Manitoba Schools “Drop the Pop”: Funding to Raise Awareness about the Dangers of Sugary Drinks

October 13, 2015, Winnipeg…. The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch invites elementary schools from across Manitoba to apply for a one-time $250 grant that will help them carry out a Drop the Pop Challenge for children in kindergarten to grade six.

This is an opportunity for school and community staff to help educate young students about the dangers of sugary drinks. Teachers take on the role of challengers, asking students to “drop the pop” and all sugary drinks for one week while they teach their students about making healthy lifestyle choices. The Drop the Pop Challenge is a part of the Foundation’s curriculum for Aboriginal schools called Our Children, Their Health, Our Future.

The $250 grant is available to elementary schools that have a significant Aboriginal student body (50% or more of the school population). There are eight grants available, for a total of $2000 being made available to schools across the province. The deadline to apply for a grant is October 31. You can find an  application form here and an information sheet here. You can also email to request these forms or to ask question.

“We’d like teachers to help us spread the word to children that it’s important to take care of your kidneys. One simple way to do this is to cut back on sugar,” explains Val Dunphy, executive director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada-Manitoba Branch. “Last year we provided grants to the Mulvey School in Winnipeg, Langruth Elementary School, Peter Yassie School in Tadoule Lake, and also to the Kistiganwacheeng Elementary School in Garden Hill First Nation. We know this fun challenge has a positive impact on children by getting them to think about nutrition and the connection between diabetes and kidney health.”

The Foundation is asking schools to organize a Drop the Pop Challenge for students in November or December 2015. November is National Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney disease.

Aboriginal communities struggle with disproportionate rates of diabetes. Many Manitobans are not aware that diabetes, along with high blood pressure, are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

CKD is very serious because there is no cure. People in the late stages of CKD need to go on dialysis or get a kidney transplant to stay alive. Education is a key part of helping young Aboriginal people to take the right steps that will help them avoid this devastating health issue.

Successful applicants will be notified of their grant by November 6, 2015. The Kidney Foundation will provide support, the $250 grant, and Drop the Pop curriculum with lesson plans and handouts for the selected schools. 

This grant is made possible with generous funding from CN Rail.

Drop the Pop application form 2015

New Reimbursement Program for Home Hemo Dialysis Patients

August 20, 2015 - The Kidney Foundation of Canada is very pleased that Manitoba patients who treat their kidney disease independently, at home, will now be reimbursed for the extra water and power costs incurred during these treatments. The Province of Manitoba approved proposals submitted by the Nocturnal Home Hemodialysis Patient Action Group (NHHPAG) and the Manitoba Branch of the Kidney Foundation for this important initiative. The Home Hemo-Dialysis Reimbursement Program (HHDRP) will be administered by the Manitoba Branch.
“The Kidney Foundation of Canada commends the Province of Manitoba for launching this reimbursement program for home hemodialysis patients, covering the extra water and power costs incurred during these treatments,” said Val Dunphy, Executive Director, Kidney Foundation of Canada - Manitoba Branch. “This is the first provincial program of its kind in Canada and will truly assist families affected by kidney disease.”
Home Hemodialysis offers good medical outcomes, and the Kidney Foundation recognizes that doing this treatment at home means extensive training, major changes to the patient’s residence and a tremendous commitment by the entire family. We are pleased that this will assist those families.
We thank the many patients at Seven Oaks and Health Sciences Centre who provided their utility bills, input and time, enabling us to develop a comprehensive case for support. We at the Kidney Foundation thank our colleague Sebastien De Lazzer for his hard work and tenacity.
Home hemodialysis patients will be notified of program details by the Manitoba Renal Program. The program will be retroactive to April 1, 2015.


RBC Provides $225,000 in Support of New Healthier Together Program

 July 31, 2015 – RBC Royal Bank joined three charities to announce an exciting and comprehensive new health program to benefit Manitobans.

Healthier Together: Mobile Screening and Education for Aboriginal Peoples in Manitoba is a new program that will work to improve the health of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples in Manitoba by sending mobile screening clinics to all areas of the province. The aim is to provide simple tests and education that will help Aboriginal Peoples detect chronic health problems in the early stages, including issues such as kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation in Manitoba, The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch, and the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association have been working together for two years to plan this new program. The aim is to help Aboriginal communities get better access to health services and to provide culturally appropriate health education workshops to individuals.

RBC Foundation is proud to provide $225,000 over the next 3 years in funding support.

“We at RBC are inspired by this important partnership and program,” shares RBC Regional President Kim Ulmer. “We believe that everyone deserves access to the education, diagnosis tools, and care to better ensure healthy and vibrant communities across Manitoba.”


“This program will certainly impact communities across Manitoba in a positive way,” says Val Dunphy, Executive Director for The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch. “Aboriginal Peoples in our province have disproportionate rates of chronic health issues. By providing screening clinics to remote and rural communities, we’ll provide education and early detection to help Aboriginal Peoples take better control of their health and ensure that future generations can lead healthier lives. Our program will empower young Aboriginal Peoples to take steps to avoid issues that come with chronic illnesses, such as dialysis and amputations.”

Aboriginal communities and organizations that serve First Nation, Inuit, and Metis populations in Manitoba are invited to apply for screening clinics. There will be 30 clinics and education workshops provided to communities free of charge each year. A simple 2-page application form is available on the program’s website at The deadline for this year’s applications is September 18, 2015.

Wendy’s Restaurants in Winnipeg raise more than a $260,000 in support of kidney health

June 30, 2015 (Winnipeg, MB) – Throughout the month of March, which was Kidney Health Month, six Wendy’s ReBlue Bomber Louie Richardson at Wendy's in Marchstaurants in Winnipeg joined forces with The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch (“The Foundation”) to raise funds and awareness for more than 4000 Manitobans affected by kidney disease.

This year, Wendy’s staff raised an impressive $31,318 for The Foundation. The money was raised through selling paper chili cup “diskettes” at the cash register and from a portion of all chili sales for the month. Staff also made donations through payroll deductions.  

Michael Hutchinson of APTN National News helped with the fundraiserThe highlight for the month was World Kidney Day on March 12 when local celebrities served chili in support of kidney health. All proceeds from chili sales on this day were donated to the Foundation. Local celebrity servers at Wendy’s included JD Francis (99.1 Fresh Radio); Shannon Gwynne (Jewel 101); Michael Hutchinson (APTN National News); Jordan Knight (Energy 106); Rachel Lagacé(CTV Morning Live), and Chester Pangan (CKJS); Jay Richardson (97.5 BIG FM); as well as Louis Richardson and Rory Kohlert (Winnipeg Blue Bombers).


 “We are thrilled to receive such wonderful support from Wendy’s Restaurants in Winnipeg,” said Val Dunphy, Executive Director of The Foundation. “Every year, their dedication to our cause is reflected in how their staff and customers support us. The money they raise will help our friends, neighbours, and family member affected by kidney disease.”

Wendy’s staff in Winnipeg enthusiastically sold diskettes during the month of March. The top two diskette sellers received prizes. The top selling location for the fundraiser was on King Edward, bringing in more than $8000 for kidney health! The most improved location was the Wendy’s on McPhillips. Rachel Lagacé of CTV Morning Live


“The Kidney Foundation of Canada provides important programs and services to Manitobans who have kidney health issues,” explained Tim MacLeod, owner of the Wendy’s Restaurants in Winnipeg. “Our business feels it is important to support our local community. Our founder Dave Thomas was on dialysis before he passed away. We know he would be proud of our efforts to support kidney health in Manitoba.”


This marked the 13th year of partnership between The Foundation and Wendy’s Restaurants. While some may think 13 is an unlucky number, The Foundation feels that this is a great year, since it is the year when Wendy’s surpassed the $250,000 mark in its fundraising efforts. To date, Wendy’s has raised $266,339 to support kidney health in Manitoba.

Supportive employer a key to success in cross-border kidney donation

By Melanie Ferris

*This story originally appeared in our Spring 2015 Kidney Care Connection newsletter.

“Murray saved my life,” says Patrick McPhillips. He is sitting in the Foundation’s office, sharing the story of how his nephew from Washington, DC, recently donated a kidney to him.Murray McPhillips and his uncle Pat


“I’m 55 years old,” explains Patrick. “I didn’t expect to reach 60.”


Patrick McPhillips is a life-long resident of Winnipeg. He found out he had polycystic kidneys about 17 years ago.


“I didn’t have many symptoms but once I hit about age 53, they (his kidneys) started to fail,” Patrick states. “I went on dialysis in May 2012.”


Once Patrick’s kidneys started failing, he was placed on the waiting list for a kidney donation. Doctors said it would be probably at least seven years (on the waiting list).


"Dialysis worked well for me at first. I kept working,” he says. “I worked for a while and did dialysis, but it got to be too much. I became overwhelmed and I had to stop working.”


Patrick does not have any children. His wife was not able to donate either of her kidneys. While he is one of three siblings, unfortunately, two of them passed away before they were able try to donate a kidney to their brother.


That’s where Murray comes in—honouring a promise that his late-mother made.


“My mother passed away 12 years ago, rather unexpectedly,” explains Murray. “That’s how a lot of this comes into play. My mother made a promise to her brother to get tested. He lost another brother, so things got really narrow in our family for possible candidates.”


“I live in Washington DC right now. My involvement here started shortly after my uncle went on dialysis. I promised I would get tested for a match, not thinking I would be,” Murray says. “When I found out I was a match, my perspective on the whole thing changed.” 


The journey to give his uncle the “gift of life” took almost one year. It was complex because of issues due to Murray living in the United States and his uncle living in Canada. 


A key to the success of the transplant was the support that Murray received from his employer, Marriott Hotels International.


“They are a great organization. They put people first,” states Murray, explaining that they allowed him to work remotely for a month in 2013 while he spent time in Winnipeg getting health tests done, and again in late 2014 when he returned to Winnipeg to donate his kidney.


After finding out that his kidney was a match for his uncle, Murray talked about it with a lot of co-workers and friends. “I’ve never heard a negative story,” he explains. “It was very reassuring.”

The kidney transplant happened on November 13, 2014.

Val Dunphy with the McPhillips

Above: Foundation executive director Val Dunphy with Murray McPhillips and Patrick McPhillips


Uncle Pat is doing well and hopes to go back to work soon. “I was instantly a little better,” Patrick says. “I’m getting better every day now, I’m doing more and more.”


Murray has words of encouragement for others who are thinking about donating a kidney.


“If only people knew how easy this was,” he shares. “I don’t feel like I lost a kidney, and I don’t feel any different. I am running a couple of 5Ks every week now, and that was one of the conditions. Because I couldn’t give up running.” 


Murray was out of the hospital in a day and a half. He has now returned to Washington, DC, but an important part of him will remain with his uncle Pat in Winnipeg. 



If you are thinking of becoming a living kidney donor, please visit Transplant Manitoba  for more information.

March is Kidney Health Month

March 1, 2015: Did you know that Manitoba has the highest rate of end-stage kidney disease in Canada?

The Kidney Foundation of Canada wants Manitobans to think about their kidney health. Throughout Kidney Health Month, the Foundation will work to build awareness and raise funds for the thousands of Manitobans affected by kidney disease through the following initiatives:

  • March 1 – 31: Volunteer canvassers are going door-to-door throughout the province to collect funds for The Foundation’s programs and to provide information on kidney disease.
  • March 1 – 31: All six Wendy’s locations in Winnipeg will support The Foundation through their 13th annual Wendy’s Great Chili promotion. Throughout March, Wendy’s is donating partial proceeds from chili sales and total proceeds from sales of $1, $5, $10, and $20 paper chili cups to the Foundation.Wendy's bronze diskette
  • March 12: On World Kidney Day, Wendy’s is donating 100% of proceeds from all chili sales to the Foundation. Join us at Wendy’s during the lunch hour on this special day to be served by:
    • JD Francis, DJ for the morning show at 99.1 FRESH Radio
    • Shannon Gwynne, news anchor at Jewel 101
    • Michael Hutchinson, anchor at APTN National News
    • Rory Kohlert, player for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
    • Jordan Knight, DJ at Energy 106
    • Rachal Lagace, reporter at CTV Morning Live
    • Chester Pangan, host of the morning show at CKJS
    • Jay Richardson, DJ for 97.5 BIG FM
    • Louis Richardson, player for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • March 24: The Foundation invites adults (ages 18+) to get their kidney function tested for FREE from 10am to 2:30pm at Neechi Commons, 865 Main Street in Winnipeg.

“With some of the highest rates of kidney disease in Canada, we encourage Manitobans to think about getting tested for kidney disease and taking steps to protect their kidneys. This includes getting active and eating healthy foods,” explains Val Dunphy, executive director of the Foundation in Manitoba.

“Symptoms for chronic kidney disease often do not appear until it is too late to be proactive. Throughout Kidney Health Month, we encourage Manitobans to think about the importance of good kidney health as well as discussing organ and tissue donation with their families to help Manitobans who are waiting an average of five to seven years for a kidney transplant.”

The Foundation has many programs and services for those affected by kidney disease. It also has programs to help prevent kidney disease. We care about your kidney health.

The Winnipeg Foundation supports Kidney Camp

December 22, 2014:

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is very grateful for the $10,000 grant we received in support of Manitoba’s Kidney Camp. The Foundation was able to send 19 young people affected by kidney disease to Camp Stephens at Kenora, August 11 to 16, 2014.

Kidney Camp is an amazing experience; we hear this from all participants each year. It is a glorious, week-long adventure.

This year, two children were on hemodialysis and two children were treated by peritoneal dialysis during their stay. This was valuable "training" for those youth not yet receiving these treatments--it was viewed as a great learning experience. This demonstrated ways to cope and explain the procedures to others. Overall, it seemed to bring the children even closer together. This experience is truly invaluable.

Thank you so much to The Winnipeg Foundation for building healthier communities!

Drop the Pop grants for Manitoba schools

On November 25, 2014, The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch announces that it has chosen four elementary schools from across Manitoba to receive its inaugural $250 grant that will help the schools carry out a Drop the Pop Challenge for their students.

KFOC staff with Mulvey school students and staff

Elementary schools with a significant Aboriginal student population were invited to apply for this grant. It is the Foundation’s first time providing this grant. Nineteen schools from across the province applied. The successful schools are as follows:

  • DR Hamilton School in Cross Lake First Nation
  • Langruth Elementary School in Langruth
  • Mulvey School in Winnipeg
  • Peter Yassie Memorial School in Tadoule Lake, northern Manitoba

 “We are thrilled that principals and teachers from across Manitoba are going to help spread the word to children that it’s important to take care of your kidneys. One way of doing this is to cut back on sugar,” explains Val Dunphy, executive director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch. “As November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, we think it is a perfect time to get students thinking about nutrition and the connection between diabetes and kidney health.”

During a Drop the Pop Challenge, school and community staff commit to help educate children about the dangers of sugary drinks. Teachers take on the role of challengers, asking students to “drop the pop” and all sugary drinks for one week while they teach their students about making healthy lifestyle choices. Successful applicants will receive health promotion tools, the $250 grant, and Drop the Pop curriculum with lesson plans and handouts.

Schools were selected based on providing concrete plans on how they would promote health to their students, as follows:

  • The DR Hamilton School plans to have students sign onto the Drop the Pop Challenge. They’ll do the challenge again in Spring 2015 to measure improvements. Younger students will do a poster contest while middle year students may make short videos about kidney disease, amputations, etc. The school will use their grant to purchase bags of vegetables for contest winners to take home or to give to a community Elder of their choice. They’ll also explore using Aboriginal foods and ways that they can make them healthier, such as using whole wheat flour in bannock and cooking moose meat in a healthier way (rather than frying).
  • The Langruth Elementary School is already a “pop-free zone.” It plans to use a graphic novel about the dangers of diabetes in Aboriginal communities with its students. They will have discussions, do research, lessons, and develop an awareness campaign. They will use the grant to help provide healthy snacks to the children who take part in an annual two-day ski trip.
  • Mulvey School in downtown Winnipeg will have “older” students meet with staff to design menus, create posters, and research and write nutrition education announcements that they will announce over the school’s PA system. Their challenge will encourage students to be instructional leaders for each other. They’ll use their grant to buy food items that were taken from the student-developed menus. Some funds will be used to purchase art supplies to advertise and promote the challenge around the school and the community.
  • The Peter Yassie Memorial School is Manitoba’s most northern/remote school. The school will encourage traditional cultural knowledge by inviting Elders to provide sharing/learning circles to the students. Students will learn about gathering and using traditional berries and teas instead of drinking pop and energy drinks. The teachers will use funding to help provide healthy snacks to their students, in an area where 4 litres of milk costs $14.99.

This grant is made possible with generous funding from CN Rail. The Drop the Pop Challenge is a part of the Foundation’s curriculum for Aboriginal schools called Our Children, Their Health, Our Future.

Brandon fundraiser a big success!

The Westman Kidney Ride, Glide, Stride (KRGS) happened on October 19, 2014, at the Westridge Park in Brandon, Manitoba. The Kidney Foundation of Canada is pleased that the KRGS was once again hosted in Brandon and there was a great turn out. The weather was perfect, and we had over 50 people in attendance. Participants raised almost $4000 in support of programs, services, and research.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada – Manitoba Branch would like to send a big “thank you” to all of our generous event sponsors. Snacks were provided by Sobeys, Superstore, Safeway, World of Water, and DAVIDsTea. Our media sponsors were: 94.7 Star FM/880 CKLQ; 96.1 BOB FM/101.1 The Farm; and the Westman Communication Group Channel 12. Our other event sponsors include Guild Insurance Brokers Inc.; Union Shoe; Westman Salvage; Millco Steel; and McKenzie Seeds.

To everyone who came out to participate and volunteer—you helped make the day a success! We look forward to seeing you again in 2015!

Remembering Vahan

Vahan Melikian was a strong believer in life-long learning
and even in his late eighties jokingly referred to his need for further post-secondary education. He was a valued volunteer of the The Kidney Foundation for over 18 years. Upon his passing in 2010, his daughter Arda and the rest of Vahan’s family decided to create a bursary in his memory to assist those affected by kidney disease in obtaining further education.

“My father was a longtime volunteer at the Kidney Foundation, was a strong believer in the mission of the Foundation, and always believed that education and helping others is very important,” says Arda. “Linking support through a bursary to someone who is impacted by kidney disease seemed like the right thing to do to honour his name.”

At the Foundation , he was known and admired for his
gentle demeanor by anyone who interacted with him, but
also for his handwritten records. “His work was so meticulous that the records he wrote by hand were often more reliable than any electronic documents we had,” says Val Dunphy, Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation’s Manitoba Branch. “If we ever had questions, we knew we could go to Vahan’s work to find the information we needed.”

Arda admits her father was a quiet man who actively avoided recognition for his volunteering efforts and involvement in philanthropy but Val recalls one time when Foundation staff were able to honour him for his dedication. “It was truly proof of the impact Vahan had on us that so many past and present KFOC employees and volunteers came together to celebrate him and all that he did for the greater kidney community,” she says.

His passion for education and assisting those with kidney disease have come together in the Vahan Melikian Bursary award, an endowment set-up by Vahan’s loving family to honour his name. The bursary is granted each year to a deserving kidney patient or their family member so they may pursue higher learning.

If you or a family member are a kidney patient and could benefit from the Vahan Melikian Bursary Award, contact your social worker, or Sharon at The Kidney Foundation at 204.989.0806, for an application form. Bursaries are awarded in August of each year (confirmation of enrollment required from the educational institute).

With Your Help, We Can Meet Each New Challenge Head-on

Our New Challenge Campaign Cabinet members were busy in 2013 raising funds that continue to support kidney research. While the initiative is a nation-wide collaboration, here in Manitoba we aim to raise $5 million to support research and prevention by 2017.

“Kidney disease in Canada has escalated tremendously; tripled in the past 20 years,” says Don Whitmore, Honorary Co-Chair of Manitoba’s New Challenge Campaign Cabinet. “Today one in every ten Canadians has kidney disease. Sadly, when kidney disease strikes, it affects the patient for the rest of their life and, also, impacts the entire family. Treatment is expensive, but the social costs are phenomenal!”

Too many of our friends, family members, neighbours, and acquaintances are being diagnosed with kidney-related illnesses each year. In our province, more than 4,000 people are currently affected and that number will continue to grow without breakthroughs in research. Besides the human toll, the current cost per person per year on dialysis is $71,000. With more than 1,400 Manitobans on dialysis right now, that adds up to over $99 million in annual costs. As the number of people diagnosed with kidney disease increases each year so will the cost to treat them.

“In recent years our modest investment in kidney research has made substantial strides, both in early detection and in treatment options,” says Don. “Together, we can, and must, do more.

We would like to thank everyone who has donated to the Campaign since its launch in 2012. With your continued support, we can meet these new challenges head on.

“Significant investments in funding for research are urgently required to assist in arriving at solutions that reduce the prevalence of kidney disease in our community,” says Bob Brennan, Honorary Co-Chair of our New Challenge Campaign Cabinet. “Please help us in this worthy cause.”

For more information about this important initiative or to donate, please contact us or visit With our campaign cabinet members alongside us, we are determined to break through the barriers around kidney disease. Together we can all work toward a future without failure.

Many thanks to our invaluable New Challenge Campaign Cabinet Members:

Carissa Gifford
Dave McIsaac
Brigitte Sandron
Lilian Tankard
Blair Waldvogel
Dr. James Zacharias
Honorary Campaign Chairs:
Don Whitmore
Bob Brennan

Our 2014 Volunteer Family of the Year: The Mullins

Janice & SeanThe fact that Sean Mullin is 11 years old is testament to the fact thatthere is always hope. He and his mom, Janice, try to find the positive in every situation and make the most of what life has to offer because they know that things could have been much different.

“When I was seven months pregnant, the ultra sound showed Sean had kidney problems and there was no amniotic fluid at that time,” recalls Janice. She was told her baby would not survive after birth. “I can’t even describe the feelings I had,” she remembers. “I prayed a lot - for some time with my son and for him not to suffer.” Janice tried to keep the thought of his birth out of her mind as she carried him for the duration of her preg­nancy. She recalls that he was full of movement and life the entire time and when Sean was born he proved he was a fighter. “I heard him cry and I knew I was going to be blessed with some time with him. We now really do believe in miracles,” she says.

Sean has Polycystic Kidney Disease which not only affects his kidneys but has also caused his liver and spleen to be enlarged. “We have been so blessed to have eleven wonderful years with little suffering so far,” says Janice. Fortunately, thus far medication seems to be working to treat Sean’s condition, however, dialysis and kidney and liver transplants are probably in Sean’s future.

The family tries not to let kidney disease affect them much but at times have had to make adjustments - like moving from their hometown of Dauphin to La Salle to be closer to Sean’s specialists in Winnipeg. This meant that Sean would be farther away from his Dad, who lives in Bowsman, but it was the best choice in case of an emergency, and they manage to see each other every few weeks.

“I think life with kidney disease in our family has made us stronger and more balanced,” she admits. “I focus, a lot, on providing Sean with balanced, healthy meals and make sure he is getting daily exercise and adequate sleep. I would say we have learned to be flexible and go with the flow and always look for the positives and have fun!”

Today, Sean is “doing awesome.” He has a wide variety of interests including cross country running, hip hop dancing, volleyball, basketball, curling, golfing, hunting and fishing. He enjoys school - especially gym and recess – and has many friends. Anyone who meets Sean can see that he has a great sense of humor and a happy go lucky attitude. “I am so proud of how he handles challenges in his life,” says Janice.

Janice believes that knowledge is power. By sharing her family’s story she hopes to make a difference by encouraging people to talk about kidney disease and organ donation. “That is what motivates us to help out with the Kidney Foundation. We truly are grateful for the Kidney Foundation and all they do for those living with kidney disease.” She also hopes to encourage others who find themselves in similar circumstances. To these people she says, “always have hope and make the most of every day because we can honestly find a positive in every single situation.”

With Greatest Appreciation....

We would like to thank the Kotowicz Family - Elaine, John, Jodi, and Adam - for being our 2013 Volunteer Family of the year. Your willingness to share your story helped provide hope to others affected by kidney disease and built awareness for the disease and organ donation. You are a testament to the importance of family and continue to inspire us!

March is Kidney Health Month!

2013 flew by for all of us here at the Kidney Foundation and we’re gearing up for another Kidney Health Month which is right around the corner! This March we’ll be featuring the following initiatives to help raise funds to support programs, services, and research for the thousands of Manitobans currently affected by kidney disease. Building awareness is also key during Kidney Health Month. Kidney disease is known as the “silent killer” because symptoms rarely present themselves in early stages. Many people living with kidney disease are unaware that they are ill until 80% of kidney function has already been lost. Once diagnosed with end stage renal failure, the only options are dialysis and transplant. Help KFOC raise funds and awareness by getting involved in…

Our Door-to-Door Campaign
Throughout the month of March, volunteer canvassers will be going door-to-door in your neighborhood to collect funds for the Foundation. Every dollar donated gets us one step closer to improved prevention programs and advancements in kidney research. We encourage you to answer your door and consider giving to this important fund­raising initiative!

Wendy’s Great Chili Promotion
One of our largest corporate supporters, Wendy’s Restaurants in Winnipeg, will be taking part in Kidney Health Month once again this year. Throughout March, Wendy’s staff will be selling paper chili cup diskettes for $1 each to patrons. The restaurants will be donating a portion of proceeds from chili sales to KFOC, Manitoba throughout the entire month. With real Olympic spirit bronze, silver, and gold diskettes will also be sold for $5, $10, and $20, respectively.

World Kidney Day
On Thursday, March 13, 2014 Wendy’s and KFOC will be joining forces for the 12th year in a row in support of World Kidney Day. On this day, local media personalities and sports figures will join us over the lunch hour to serve you chili while raising funds and awareness for kidney disease. Wendy’s will donate proceeds from all chili sold at their seven Winnipeg locations on this day to KFOC.

Last year, Wendy’s staff went above and beyond our expectations, selling chili and diskettes, and accepting donations in KFOC coin boxes from patrons throughout March that totaled more than $36,000! To date, they have raised $168,000 to support those affected by kidney disease! We are eager to raise record-breaking funds once again this year but we can’t do it without your help! We invite you to visit one of the following participating Wendy’s restaurants in Winnipeg during the month of March and to meet the following local personalities on World Kidney Day (Thursday, March 13):

1609 Kenaston Blvd. - FAB 94.3’s Kelly Parker & Dug Joy
650 St. James St. - QX104’s Brody & Samantha
1710 Pembina Hwy. - The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Glenn January (#69) & Steve Morley (#62)
1230 St. Mary’s Rd. - CTV News’ Andrea Slobodian
1039 King Edward St. - CTV News’ Karen Rocznik
1420 McPhillips St. - The Winnipeg Goldeyes'  Brendan Lafferty
1040 Beaverhill Blvd. - CityTV Breakfast Television’s Jeremy & Drew

Nunavut Man Walks 112 km to raise awareness and funds for KFOC

Jackson Preso

Jackson Tagak Kablutsiak, 21, walked 112 km over four days from his home town of Arviat toward Maguse Lake, Nunavut at
the beginning of October. His goal was to raise awareness for those who, like him, have experienced dialysis and/or kidney transplantation. He didn't anticipate raising nearly $12,735!
The funds he raised through his trek will support research, programs, and services KFOC offers to Manitobans, including those who receive treatment for kidney disease here.

Kablutsiak, himself, currently receives treatment in Winnipeg
and also attended KFOC’s Kidney Camp for children affected
by kidney disease. He is the first and only person from Arviat to have had a kidney transplant.

We can't thank Jackson enough for his commitment to supporting others affected by kidney disease. He is truly an inspiration and we are thrilled to have been able to meet him and his mom, Mary, to hear all about his journey!

South Beach Resort & Casino Spirit Fund Donates $15,000 to Support Manitobans with Kidney Disease

Spirit Fund Cheque Presentation

We would like to send our sincerest thanks to everyone at
South Beach Casino & Resort and all those involved with the
Spirit Fund for their generous donation and wonderful
community spirit! Brad Furlan, Chair of the Resort & Casino's Spirit Fund, presented a cheque for $15,000 to KFOC
Executive Director, Val Dunphy at the end of October. The donation was made on behalf of South Beach Casino along with their Seven First Nation owners to assist Manitobans affected by kidney Disease.




Thank-you for your support, Carellan Sewing Centre!

Thank-you to the wonderful management, staff, and customers of Carellan Sewing Centre who raised over $450 in support of KFOC’s programs and services through a unique event.  Carellan recently held a “Stash Bash” where patrons could donate their unwanted fabric for others to purchase. Funds from the repurchased fabric were donated to KFOC and unsold fabric was donated to another local charity.  What a great way to recycle and support worthy causes in our community! Your support is truly appreciated.

Thank-you to the wonderful management, staff, and customers of Carellan Sewing Centre who raised over $450 in support of KFOC’s programs and services with a unique event.  Carellan recently held a “Stash Bash” where patrons could donate their unwanted fabric for others to purchase. Funds from the repurchased fabric were donated to KFOC and unsold fabric was donated to another local charity.  What a great way to recycle and support worthy causes in our community! Your support is truly appreciated.

St. Vital Centre's Behind Closed Doors Event supports The Kidney Foundation!

Behind Closed DoorsTickets are now on sale for the hottest shopping event of the year!

On November 16 St. Vital Centre will host Behind Closed Doors, an after-hours evening of wall-to-wall sales throughout the Centre! Join us for a night of all-you-can-shop fun from 7:00pm - 10:30pm. Tickets are $5 each.

When you purchase your ticket from The Kidney Foundation, 100% of the proceeds will support programs, services, and research for more than 4,000 Manitobans affected by kidney disease.

Purchase your ticket today! For more information please contact Erica at 204.989.0804 or or visit

Tickets are also available at St. Vital Centre Customer Service while supplies last or visit our booth in the food hall on October 27.

Limited number of tickets available; entrance to ticket holders only. Doors open at 7:00pm. Tickets not available at the door.

The Power of One Person: Taking an Important Message Across Two Countries

Bison Trailer LaunchFrom L to R: Val Dunphy, Executive Director of KFOC-MB; Garth Pitzel, Director of Safety and Driver Development at Bison Transport Inc.; Dr. James Zacharias, Nephrologist and President of KFOC-MB Board of Directors; Jim Penner, KFOC volunteer and Bison Transport Trucker

A very special new addition to the Bison Transport fleet has officially hit the open highways carrying an important message. The unique truck trailer will showcase the KFOC and Organ Donation logos as it travels throughout Canada and the United States, and it’s all due to the dedication of one man.
Jim Penner, a 40-year trucking veteran, has supported Manitobans affected by kidney disease by putting in hundreds of hours of volunteer work with The Foundation over the past 20-plus years. Recently, he melded his two worlds when his idea to have a ‘moving billboard’ sharing a special message became reality.

“Because of Jim’s dedication to The Kidney Foundation, and his affiliation with a wonderful company that supports causes that are dear to their employees’ hearts, we will be able to spread an invaluable message of awareness for the Kidney Foundation and organ donation across two countries, along thousands of kilometres, and to millions of people,” says Val Dunphy, Executive Director of KFOC’s Manitoba Branch.

Jim says he is just happy to help. "I really hope that higher visibility will translate into more awareness of the need for organ donations," says Jim.  "If this increases the number of organ donations and the amount of financial donations, we will have made a difference for those affected by kidney disease and those waiting for organ transplants."

The truck will be on the road for the next 10-15 years and is a prime example of how one person can truly make a significant difference - in this case, for more than 4,500 Canadians currently awaiting organ transplants of all types and many more affected by kidney disease. Many thanks to Jim Penner and Bison Transport Inc. for their invauable support.

2013 Kidney Ride, Glide Stride event raises over $66,000!

Many thanks to all who joined us at this year's Kidney Ride, Glide, Stride event held on September 8 at St. Vital Park. Because of you, we were able to raise more than $66,000 to support Manitobans affected by kidney disease through research. Approximately 300 participants walked, ran, cycled, and rollerbladed to support kidney research, programs, and services for more than 4,000 Manitobans currently affected by kidney disease!

Participants collected pledges leading up to the event and joined us for a 2km walk, 5km run or 10km bike ride. The annual family-oriented 'fun run' is geared toward people of all ages and abilities with a shorter route available for those with physical limitations.

We extend our sincerest appreciation to our sponsors; The Canadian Medical Laboratory Technologists of Manitoba, Giselles Professional Skin Care & Spa on Meadowood, Manitoba Egg Farmers, QX104, Remax, Shaw, the Vickar Community of Auto Dealers, & The Winnipeg Free Press. We would also like to thank our Food & Drink Sponsors; Cora's Breakfast & Lunch, Corpell's Water, Harvest Bakery, and Sozo Coffee and all those who donated prizes.  A big thank-you to Rachel Lagace of CTV for joining us as our M.C. for the third consecutive year!

We hope you all enjoyed the 2013 KRGS and can't wait to see you out next year!

The Chamois raises more than $10,000 through KFOC's 'Buy-a-Bean' Program

Chamois Buy a BeanDuring the month of July, the three locations of The Chamois Carwash and Detail Centre were busy, once again, selling Beans to support programs and services for Manitobans affected by kidney disease through our Buy-a-Bean Program.

This year, they took their generosity a step further by hosting a "double-down" weekend where each $1 bean purchased was matched with a $1 donation from The Chamois.

KFOC would like to thank the wonderful staff, management, and patrons of The Chamois Reenders, The Chamois St. James, and The Chamois Waverley for your continued support!


Visit us at APTN's Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration on Saturday, June 22!

Join us as APTN presents Aboriginal Day Live and Celebration on June 22, 2013 at The Forks. Visit our booth, located in Tent 4, where we’ll be providing free information about kidney disease. The site opens at 11 am and festivities kick-off at noon.

Thank-you for supporting The Hope Affair!

R to L: Dr. James Zacharias (President, KFOC-MB Board of Directors, Dr. David Rush (honouree),
& Val Dunphy (Executive Director, KFOC-MB)

We would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to everyone who attended our inaugural gala event, The Hope Affair, on Friday, April 12. With your support we raised $47,000 to support KRESCENT, and local programs and services for those affected by kidney disease.  Many thanks to our partners and sponsors, organizing committee, everyone who joined us, and those who purchased items from our live art auction.
We would also like to congratulate Dr. David Rush who was presented with the Kidney Foundation’s Founder’s Award at the event. The Founders Award, originally presented to Dr. Ash Thomson, Branch Founder, honours those who exemplify outstanding compassion for patients.

Manitoba Business Leaders Helped Make Shoe Drive a Success!

In December 2012, we made a plea to community members to help us gather 100 pairs of gently-used running shoes for the elementary school children of Garden Hill First Nation. We never imagined that several members of Manitoba's local business community would come together to donate funds for 100 pairs of brand new shoes!

The initiative was driven by Paul Jacuzzi, President/CEO of Waterite Technologies, Inc.(left of centre). 

Donors and Shoes

Photo Credit: Chronic Creative 

Robin Jacuzzi, VP Operations, Robinair Aviation (far left), and Pam Plaster, Director and Regional Director of Roynat Capital (right of centre), two of the generous donors, are pictured with Mr Jacuzzi and Val Dunphy, Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Manitoba Branch on Tuesday, January 28, 2013 as Perimeter Aviation prepares to ship the shoes to the remote community of Garden Hill at no expense to KFOC.

In addition to the above mentioned donors, the following individuals also donated funds to our running shoe drive:

Anne Bolton, Lawrence & Bea Cherniak, Jo-Anne Duncan, Connie Ewald, Gavin W. Law, Anne McGarry, Chrys Pappas, Patricia Smith, Christa Walkden, Waterite Technologies, Inc.and Don Whitmore.

Many thanks to you all!

Perimeter Airway Plane, donors

 Photo Credit: Chronic Creative 



Remembering Dr. Ash Thomson, Father of Nephrology in Manitoba

It is with both sadness and fond memories that we remember Dr. Ashley Thomson, known by many as the “Father of Nephrology” in Manitoba.

After graduating top of his class from medical school at the University of Manitoba in 1945, Dr. Thomson received a grant to research the effects of sodium on WWII Veterans who had served in the tropics which took him to Britain in 1948. His research focused on how heat-related illnesses affected the kidneys of veterans who had adapted to changes in environment and temperature after serving in warmer climates.  This research would peak the doctor’s interest in kidney function, eventually leading him to become a pioneer in the area of hemodialysis treatment and technology in Manitoba. Dr. Thomson would treat hundreds of Manitobans with kidney disease throughout his impressive career. 

Dr. Ash ThomsonAfter returning to Winnipeg, with the assistance of a technician, Dr. Thomson would go on to build Manitoba’s first dialysis machine with spare parts, including washing machine motors. He was instrumental in teaching in-home ‘self-care’ dialysis to his patients before the concept was even documented. In 1971, Dr. Thomson founded The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Manitoba Branch after working with representatives from Montreal to form a nation-wide organization to support those dealing with kidney disease. 

“Dr. T”, as many referred to him, was always able to intrigue and inspire KFOC staff, who he educated on the importance of the kidneys, with his many stories and the vast experiences he shared with them. In 2002, the Manitoba Branch was thrilled to honour Dr. Thomson with the inaugural “Founders Dinner.” In 2004, the Branch established an endowment fund held at The Winnipeg Foundation in his honor to fund experienced researchers with relevant projects in Manitoba.  In 2011, Dr. Thomson, himself, presented the first grant from this endowment fund.

Always a strong advocate for patients, First Nations people, and organ donation, his home prominently displayed signage to support Organ Donation.

The caring ways of “Dr. T” were always appreciated by staff and supporters of the KFOC, Manitoba Branch.  Peace and rest have come to this brilliant and remarkable man but his compassion, focus, and spirit will live on within our Branch.

GOAL MET: Thank-you to everyone who donated running shoes to the Children of Garden Hill

We are thrilled to announce that a group of local business owners, who wish to remain anonymous at this time, have come together to provide 100 pairs of brand new running shoes to the elementary school children in Garden Hill First Nation. The group has donated $2,000 to supply new runners to children in this community and have even arranged shipment of the shoes for the Foundation. We cannot express the gratitude we feel toward this wonderful group of Winnipeg business owners for such a selfless act of kindness.

Thank-you to everyone who helped us reach our goal by donating new and gently-used running shoes to our shoe drive! We are incredibly overwhelmed by the generosity you have shown us and the children who will benefit from your good-will.

Thank-you! Winnipeg Foundation Makes 2012 Kidney Camp Possible

We extend our sincerest thank-you to The Winnipeg Foundation for funding our 2012 Kidney Camp. The grant is in part due to a generous donation from the Moffatt Family Fund. Without the support of The Winnipeg Foundation children who are on dialysis, who have had a kidney transplant, or who are in varying degrees of kidney failure would not have had the opportunity to enjoy this week at camp.

In August of this year 16 children, who wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity to enjoy a camp experience due to chronic illness, joined Nephrologists and Renal Nurses at Camp Stephens in Kenora. Through Kidney Camp, these very special Manitoba children had an opportunity to meet others affected by kidney disease, enjoy the outdoors and take part in various camp activities under the watchful supervision of medical professionals.

The Kidney Foundation is grateful to The Winnipeg Foundation for providing the children who attended this year’s camp an opportunity to form positive childhood memories and enjoy being kids.


Help the Children of Garden Hill, Donate Running Shoes

The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Manitoba Branch (KFOC) is asking for your assistance in gathering new or gently-used shoes for children ages 8 to 12 (grades 3 to 6 and approximate shoe sizes children’s 3 to adult’s 8) from now until Friday, December 28, 2012.

“We develop and support a healthy, culturally appropriate curriculum in partnership with the Kistiganwacheeng Elementary School in Garden Hill First Nation. Many of the children there must do gym class in their socks,” says Val Dunphy, Executive Director of the Foundation’s Manitoba Branch. “We want to help these children get the proper footwear so they can fully partake in healthy habits that may help to prevent Chronic Kidney Disease.”

Please drop-off new or gently-used running shoes at either of the following locations in Winnipeg between the weekday hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm:
•    The Foundation’s office at 1-452 Dovercourt Drive (near Waverly and Scurfield)
•    The NADA downtown office at B1-90 Garry Street (just south of Broadway)
Note: These offices are closed on December 25 and 26.

The shoes will be delivered to the children of Garden Hill in January 2013, in time for their new school term. This important initiative will help KFOC promote healthy habits such as physical activity to children of this community.

Aboriginal peoples are more likely to be diagnosed with Type II diabetes which makes them more susceptible to Chronic Kidney Disease. KFOC hopes to empower Aboriginal children to grow up strong and free of chronic health issues as much as possible.

Healthpartners & KFOC present Brigitte Sandron

The 11th Annual Renal Ride Glide and Stride raises over $83,000!!

We had a very successful turn out on  Sunday September 9, 2012 with over 300 participants who walked, ran and biked through St Vital park. 

Such an accomplishment would not have been possible without the dedication of participants raising pledges, volunteers keeping us safe and fed and of course the corporate support of the business community who sponsored the RRGS.  A big thank you to: 

Manitoba Egg Farmers
Vikar Community Chevrolet
Giselles Professional Skin Care & Day Spa
College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Manitoba
Bikes & Beyond
NCI Spirit of Manitoba
Manitoba Pork Council
South Beach Casino
Canadian First Aid
CTV Winnipeg
Valeant Pharmacuticals

Together we are making a difference in the lives of kidney patients.


Donate Your Car, Boat, Trailer, Motorcycle...To Kidney Car

Look around.  Is there an old unwanted vehicle sitting in a field, garage, alley or parking lot of your life?  Instead of sitting there going to rust, give that old car a new life by donating it to Kidney Car.  We are looking all type of vehicles. trucks, motorhomes, motorcycles ATV’s even farm equipment!

The benefits of this program are unique.  Just give us a call and we will come on out and tow your vehicle for free.  Plus, we will give you a tax receipt for the value of recycling all its parts.  We do the work, you clean up your environment and save on your taxes too!




Manitoba Branch - 1-452 Dovercourt Drive, Winnipeg MB R3Y 1G4 - Tel.: (204) 989-0800 
Charitable Registration Number: 107567398RR0001