This post is part of a special series in honor of the 2017 fall Walk for PKD season. As the season progresses, a PKD Foundation staff member will share their experience at a local Walk event. This week’s featured contributor is Robin Strachan, Senior Director of Leadership Gifts:
Over the years, as I’ve attended and volunteered at Walk for PKD events, I’ve noticed that each Walk has its own unique flavor. Whether your favorite Walk for PKD is held at a city park or in an outdoor shopping area, every Walk is special, bringing out a group of dedicated volunteers and walkers, each wanting to make a difference.
The reason Walk for PKD events are so enjoyable for me comes down to this: the conversations I have with people and the camaraderie we share. Each of us has family and/or friends with the disease.
In Detroit on September 9th, the day was picture-perfect—sunny and 65 degrees—nice enough that walkers shed their light jackets as they made their way around scenic Boulan Park in Troy.
First-year Walk Coordinator Lisa Mohr, a PKD patient who has had a transplant, joined forces with her husband Greg, daughters Jessica Krueger and Sarah Craft, and other family and friends to make the Detroit Walk an enjoyable success. Led by a celebrity emcee, Detroit Channel 4 meteorologist Andrew Humphrey, the enthusiastic walkers enjoyed a one-mile loop around the park before sitting down together to enjoy a cook-out picnic lunch.
I walked with a couple from Detroit who had tuned in to that morning’s Channel 4 weather report and heard Andrew Humphrey promote the Walk. They had not been aware that there was a Walk for PKD in Detroit, and there had been a PKD diagnosis in their family that week. They headed straight over to the Walk to participate. In addition to meeting others with PKD, they were introduced to a nephrologist who supports the Walk with his own team. Next year, they say they’ll have their own family team.
Linda Bracket, whose husband Michael and daughter Megan have PKD, assisted Lisa Mohr with this year’s Detroit Walk. Together, Lisa and Linda were an unstoppable force, and the Walk raised over $32,000.
In Milwaukee on September 10th, it was a similarly beautiful day with temperatures in the mid-sixties. The Walk was held at Bayshore Town Center, an upscale outdoor shopping center.
As Jacque English, Walk Coordinator for the Milwaukee Walk for PKD, put it so aptly, “I’m not a scientist. I’m not a doctor. But I can raise money to pay for research!”
Jacque walks in celebration of her mother Jo who passed away from complications of PKD seven years ago. Jacque had her second daughter Evie in early July. Most mothers of brand new babies and a toddler might choose to take a break for this year’s Walk—allowing someone else to lead the charge. Not Jacque. In her typically organized, don’t-hold-anything-back fashion, she demonstrated why the Milwaukee Walk for PKD was named “Outstanding Walk for 2016.”
The Milwaukee Walk for PKD had a $25,000 goal this year. At last count, this Walk surpassed its goal, raising $35,000.
I salute all the volunteers and walkers for the Detroit and Milwaukee Walks for PKD. I look forward to seeing all of you again next year!
Robin Strachan is Senior Director of Leadership Gifts. She works from her home office in Chicago and also manages leadership gifts activities for the Great Lakes region.