Hiking to end PKD: Paul Chapman

When someone you love has been affected by PKD, one of the most powerful ways you can help fight for them is by raising funds toward research. Whether you donate by yourself, host an event or take on a challenge that inspires others to give to your cause, your efforts can help the Foundation as we work toward our vision that one day no one will suffer the full effects of this disease. Earlier this year, we spoke with Paul Chapman, who is determined to help eradicate PKD, about his epic plans for fundraising in 2017:

PKD Foundation (PKDF): How are you planning to fundraise to help end PKD?
Paul Chapman (PC): Beginning in June this year, I plan on thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. The Trail is nearly 2,200 miles and goes through fourteen states from Georgia to Maine. My plan is to utilize the resources of the different PKD Foundation Chapters along the trail to help spread the word of my adventure in their region. I will also give updates on my six-month-long journey on my YouTube channel and on my Facebook page. All of these will direct people to my fundraising page, where they may donate to the cause.

PKDF: Where are you in the process of your fundraising?
PC: My fundraising page went live at the end of January, so I have already received a few donations. I just started to promote my page through various social media platforms. My goal is to raise $25,000 by the end of my six-month hike. That may seem a bit crazy, but I believe in thinking big.

PKDF: What is your relationship with PKD?
PC: My grandfather died of PKD when my mother was ten years old—and that was before the kidney dialysis machine was invented. She and all her siblings had PKD. Two of them, including my mother, were blessed to eventually receive a kidney transplant. One of my brothers and most of my cousins has the disease and are either on dialysis or has had a transplant. I am one of the few people in my family that did not inherit PKD.

PKDF: What has been your experience with PKD?
PC: I don’t have the disease, but I’ve seen its effects up close. Despite the physical, emotional and financial challenges, my parents provided us with a great example of how to cope with the hardships.

PKDF: Why is fundraising for the PKD Foundation important to you?
PC: Since I don’t have PKD, I feel a tremendous obligation to use my time and energy to help find a cure. I have been morbidly obese most of my life and recently embarked on my own journey to lose weight and get healthy. How selfish it would be to not inherit PKD, but still lose kidney function due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Fundraising for the PKD Foundation inspires me to live my life to the fullest.

PKDF: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about fundraising to help end PKD?
PC: Do it! Don’t be afraid to set your goals high. Learn how to use every social media platform possible to reach as many people as you can. Also, reach out to the PKD Foundation. They are very helpful and supportive.