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Pontiac’s first Kidney Walk a whopping success!

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Added: Wed, 06/05/2019 - 2:28pm
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Jamie Cameron

SHAWVILLE – Over 100 people, including all of the nurses from the Pontiac Community Hospital’s Dialysis Unit, created a sea of blue t-shirts in support of the Pontiac’s first Kidney Walk at the Shawville Fairgrounds, May 26. The event
was organized by Clarendon residents Randy Russell and his wife Francine Lyrette, in conjunction with the Shawville Rotary Club.
With an initial goal of raising $10,000, Russell was extremely pleased with the day’s turnout, which raised $15,495 for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
A series of people spoke before the event began. MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller explained the importance of the event and how it originated: a long-time
participant of the kidney walk in Gatineau, Russell was inspired to coordinate a local walk when the Pontiac’s Dialysis Unit was opened last year. He received a kidney transplant himself in 2017, donated by his wife. According to Russell, one in ten Canadians suffer from chronic kidney disease and 70% of the people on Québec’s donor list are waiting for a kidney.
Daniel Levesque, the first person to receive treatment at the Pontiac Dialysis Unit, said having a local treatment centre greatly improved his quality of life by reducing his trips to the city. Alain David, a Municipality of Pontiac resident, shared his experience as an angel donor — he donated a kidney to a stranger he will never meet. If given the chance, he said he would do it all again. 
Russell then spoke about his long-time friend Laureen Bureau, a transplant recipient and Kidney Foundation volunteer, who said she was unable to make the trip from Montreal to attend the event. Bureau received a transplant 35 years ago and was a huge support to Russell throughout his transplant process. For many years they have participated in kidney walks together. Russell said he was very saddened by her absence, so emotion was high when she surprisingly appeared
during his speech.
After a final word from Russell about his appreciation for everyone who contributed to the event, a warm-up, and a ribbon-cutting, the walk officially began.