Paula Browning, captain of team InCYST a Cure, is ready to get moving in the Baltimore Walk for PKD. With the event just a couple weeks away, we reached out to Paula to hear more about her family history with PKD, how she fundraises and what inspired her to become a team captain:
PKD Foundation (PKDF): What is your relationship with PKD?
Paula Browning (PB): My family’s PKD story started many years ago. My great-grandfather passed away from the disease in 1932, followed by my grandmother in 1965, a great uncle in 1967, my aunt in 1991 and then my cousin in 2006. My most devastating loss was my dad. He passed April 28, 2016. He fought so hard and was just ready for his battle with this disease to be over. I currently have 13 family members (including myself and my son) who are living with PKD.
PKDF: What has been your experience with PKD?
PB: I found out I had PKD in 1993 when I was fifteen. I wasn’t having any symptoms; my parents just decided for me to have an ultrasound, knowing that it ran in our family. One of my sisters had PKD and passed away in 2015, but not from complications with the disease. My other sister also has PKD. As of right now, the only issue I have is high blood pressure and I take two different blood pressure medicines to control it. I have five children, and as of right now, my oldest son is the only one we know for sure has PKD. My youngest son was checked a few years ago and nothing showed up and my daughters have not been tested yet. We live our lives knowing they may all have it and watch our salt intake accordingly. My dad had a living donor transplant in 1997 after his brother was confirmed as a match.
PKDF: What have been the biggest challenges about dealing with PKD?
PB: For me personally, my biggest challenge has been losing my dad to PKD last year. PKD has not yet become a debilitating disease for me, but I have seen so many in my family struggle. I have a cousin who is on the transplant list and an aunt who is about to be on the list, as well.
PKDF: What inspired you to become a Team Captain and why do you Walk for PKD?
PB: Again, 2016 was a rough year with the loss of my dad. We all had talked before about doing a Walk for PKD, but just never did. I really wish we would have done one with him. I was so motivated to make people aware of what PKD was that we just went for it!
PKDF: What do you do to fundraise?
PB: I utilize social media the most (Facebook & Instagram), making daily posts about my family and PKD awareness. I also send out emails, text and fliers to local business.
PKDF: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own Walk Team?
PB: I would say don’t hesitate, just go for it! Be ready and willing to help your team members out with signing up and sharing posts on social media.
The Walk for PKD is our signature fundraising event and 100% of each donation goes directly to fund PKD research. There’s still time to Walk with us this fall—create or join your Walk team and start fundraising today at walkforpkd.org!