Fundraise Your Way: Connecticut father turns homebrew passion into thousands in honor of infant son’s memory

Jim and his family at the 2018 Pints for PKD

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 Jim. Check out his story:

My name is Jim Marshall, and I’m a big fan of craft beer. As a pretty avid homebrewer, beer judge, homebrew club vice president, and just a fan of a quality fermented beverage, I spend more time than I should probably admit in pursuit of learning about and enjoying the art of making great beer.

Polycystic kidney disease was a complete unknown to our family until our anatomy scan with our second child, Porter, in 2015. We have since found out that our firstborn daughter, Jordan, is a carrier. Finding out your child is affected by this disease in utero is a truly overwhelming and humbling experience. There’s not much to do but see every doctor possible, watch, wait, and hope for the best outcome. It’s difficult to go through all of this while feeling totally helpless and unable to physically do anything to affect the outcome. Unfortunately, Porter lost his battle with PKD and was only able to stay with us for a few hours. It is his memory that drives us to do all we can to try to help raise awareness.

Jim and friends at the 2017 event serving station

Our first involvement with the PKD Foundation and the Fundraise Your Way program came about out of a desire and need to just do something, anything really, as long as it allowed my wife Julie and I to feel like we were being proactive in support of our family. In 2017, we found out our third child, Jameson, was also affected by PKD at his 23 week ultrasound. We knew we needed to feel like we were able to do something besides just sit and wait. At the time, one of my local homebrew clubs–the Rhode Island Brewing Society (RIBS)–was hoping to expand on some of the local charitable efforts they had been doing with a bigger festival-style event. When I reached out to the club and told them our personal story and pitched the PKD Foundation as a potential benefactor of the event, they rallied to the cause without hesitation. And so, “Pints for PKD” was born!

RIBS members, as well as other local homebrew clubs, breweries, and beer related industry sponsors all stepped up to donate homebrewed beer, raffle prizes and their energy to make for a great event. Although organized as a homebrew festival, the main event of the day was a “Brewathalon” where participants would be put through an obstacle course of brewing related tasks to determine the “Best Brewer”. For a few hours, attendees were able to socialize and sample around 30 different beers and take part in a pretty impressive raffle for some amazing prizes thanks to all of our generous sponsors. When all was said and done, we had approximately 150 people and raised roughly $3,400 for the PKD Foundation.

Participants at the 2018 event raised over $2,300 for PKD research

We have since held a second (and hopefully now annual) Pints for PKD event this past September. Hosted by Buttonwoods Brewery, we were able to brew a special release beer called “Positive Impact” just for the event. Proceeds from sales, donations and a raffle raised another $2,300 for the cause! With the American Homebrewers Association’s annual Homebrew Con coming to Providence in June, this year’s upcoming event should be well timed to be something really special as well!

That’s what makes the PKD Foundation’s Fundraise Your Way program so great: it lets you turn any hobby or passion into a way to bring awareness and raise support for a great cause. Don’t hold back; pick something you love and jump on in!


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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