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Fundraise Your Way: Montana man hosts soccer marathon to raise $12K for PKD research

Andy Brunkhart (center) with his son and participant, Caleb Brunkhart (left) and friend and participant, Gavin Marsh (right)

Our Fundraise Your Way program is one of the best ways you can help create a future without PKD. When you turn your hobbies or passions into creative fundraisers, 100% of the money you raise goes directly to fund PKD research. You can help give hope, like our friend Andy. Check out his story:

My name is Andy Brunkhart, and I reside in the mountainous town of Missoula, Mont. My family has seen the effects of PKD, with my father, brother and uncle each having had the disease. When I was diagnosed in April 2017, I decided to do something to help eliminate this disease. That summer, I contacted the PKD Foundation through the Fundraise Your Way campaign to find out what I could do.

I had the idea to combine one of my greatest joys with a way to help raise funds and awareness for the Foundation: I would contact fellow soccer players around Missoula to gauge their interest in playing a 12-hour soccer marathon to benefit PKD research. The event would have two teams of 12 playing 12 hours of soccer to raise $12,000, with each player making a commitment to raise $500 for the Foundation. It would take place in Missoula, in February, where it’s cold and snowy; we would play indoors.

The final score after 12 hours was 136-127, pink team

After our last co-rec game of the summer season, I pitched the idea to my teammates. Every one of them expressed an excitement that I honestly was not expecting. Maybe it was the fact that we won the season championship that night, and people were giddy, or maybe they did not realize what 12 hours of soccer would do to their bodies, but that night, I secured 14 players! Within one week, I had people begging me to be part of the fundraiser. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to find people to participate! I filled the roster and started raising funds from local businesses with which I had a relationship for miscellaneous costs, like field rental, t-shirts and food for the players. Every business was eager to help.

Each player logged into the PKD Foundation site and found my team page (PKs for PKD). They then created their own page as part of the team, included their story about why they wanted to participate, and started fundraising. They sent emails and texts, shared the link of their page on social media, and spoke with co-workers and family. It was cool to see the players’ Facebook feeds pop up with their fundraising ideas. The team page was a great tool for me to monitor the team’s fundraising progress, solicit donations and encourage the participants. In the end, PKs for PKD was a huge success; we raised about $15,000! It was so successful, that I decided to do it again. PKs for PKD 2.0 is scheduled for Feb. 16, 2019.

All participants from the inaugural PKs for PKD soccer game

I am very grateful that the PKD Foundation has a method for people to use their creativity in fundraising. Even though walks are extremely successful, it felt overwhelming to organize one. However, a soccer marathon sounded easy. There are so many other ways to tap into a community to raise awareness of this disease. My passion is soccer. What’s yours? Find a way to incorporate what you love into a Fundraise Your Way campaign and let’s #ENDPKD.

Your events, hobbies and celebrations are only one step away from giving hope to the PKD community. Head over to the Fundraise Your Way page to create your fundraising page now and start spreading the word!

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