Emily Harr was just 10 years old when her mother was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Today, 22-year-old Emily takes part in the fight against the disease in any way she can – attending Kansas City Chapter events, volunteering and fundraising. Last year, she participated in her community’s local turkey trot, raising awareness and funds for the PKD Foundation. We spoke with Emily to learn more about her story, her goal for this year’s run and how others can get involved. (Photo: Emily and her fiancé Josh)
PKD is very much a part of your life. Tell us, what has been your experience with the disease?
I have watched my mom deal with the disease from an early age. She is incredibly strong, so I haven’t seen her struggle very much, but I know that she faces a lot of hardships from the disease. She has encouraged me and the rest of our family to get involved in order to become more educated about the disease and to help in the fight to find treatments and a cure.
You’ve participated in many PKD Foundation-related fundraising events, and last year you ran in your first turkey trot. Tell us more about this fun event.
A turkey trot is a fun race held on or just before Thanksgiving in the U.S. Most turkey trots are short races with different start times, allowing an opportunity for people who want to walk or competitively run to participate.
Why did you decide to participate in the event?
I thought that the turkey trot would be an awesome way to continue the fundraising momentum from the PKD Foundation’s Walk for PKD. It’s really fun and it draws so many participants every year, including many of my friends and family. I thought it would be a great opportunity to raise awareness and money for the Foundation.
What did it mean to you to raise money to fight PKD?
Raising money to fight PKD is so important to those affected by the disease. It’s the only way that we can fund the research that PKD patients count on. It also helps support education and awareness, which is also very important on the road to treatments and a cure. By raising money, I do my small part to help finally put an end to PKD.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to participate in the Turkey Trot?
The turkey trot last year was so much fun! It was a great way to spend our Thanksgiving morning. (Not to mention, I felt a lot better about my second piece of pie later in the day after running a few miles!) I enrolled in the race at the last minute last year, so I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. This year, I have a little more time to physically train and get an earlier start on fundraising.