On April 27, The Amazing Race Canada’s Jody Mitic, five-time Paralympic Games medalist Jason Dunkerley, Mike Herzog from Good Guys Tri and kidney specialist Dr. Deb Zimmerman will be joining 8 other amazing runners to take on the “3 kg Challenge.”
Did you know that people living with kidney disease and who rely on dialysis to survive accumulate an average of three kilograms of body fluid between dialysis treatments? “When kidney function deteriorates, patients stop urinating. Dialysis (peritoneal or hemodialysis) is needed to remove waste from the blood and excess fluid ingested by the patient,” explains Dr. Deb Zimmerman, nephrologist at The Ottawa Hospital. This imbalance has an enormous impact on the person’s energy levels and health. In addition, they need to closely monitor fluid intake and the kinds of nutrients they ingest, such as potassium, sodium, phosphorus and protein even for those who still have some kidney function. This requires patients to lead a disciplined lifestyle. Day to day activities like walking, climbing stairs and cleaning the house can become very exhausting when faced with carrying around three kilograms of extra weight. Imagine for a moment someone attaching a three-kilogram bag of potatoes around your waist and saying, “go about your day as usual.” Many would find they were exhausted at the end of the day.
This is what brings us to the “3 kg Challenge” race. As part of the 2014 Alive to Strive race day, to take place on April 27 in Ottawa, 12 individuals accepted the challenge to run 5 km while wearing 3 kg vests. They will run the race and experience what people on dialysis live with every day. This initiative aims to raise community awareness of the challenges surrounding kidney disease. The Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project’s mission is to prevent kidney disease by promoting an active and healthy lifestyle. After several months of keeping the team secret, below are the 12 very inspiring individuals who have accepted the take on the “3 kg Challenge!”
Jody Mitic (Canadian Forces and 2nd place in The Amazing Race Canada)
Jody was an elite sniper for the Canadian Forces. While on duty in Afghanistan in 2007, he stepped on a landmine and lost both his legs below the knees. After an extraordinary recovery, Jody was able to run 5 km on his new prosthetic feet, only a little over a year after his accident. “It’s obviously going to be a challenge,” he says of his prosthetics, “we’re going to have to overcome that with determination.” He was right. Most people recognize him because of the extraordinary adventure he went on with his brother Cory in the Amazing Race Canada. They came in second place!
Jason Dunkerley (paralympic athlete)
One year ago, Jason and his wife Colleen overcame the difficult process of undergoing a kidney transplant. Colleen was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure in 2008. Her deteriorated kidney function was due to diabetes. Approved as a potential donor, Jason successfully donated a kidney to his wife in March 2013. Since the transplant, the couple has returned to their daily lives without ever looking back. Jason, five-time Paralympic Games medalist in middle distance events, was quickly back on his feet with the support of his guide, Josh Karanja, and his coach, Ian Clark. With proper training, Jason and Josh managed to qualify to represent Canada at the Athletics World Championships last summer in Lyon. They came 5th in the 800 metres for blind runners. One year after organ donation, Jason feels at the top of his game and is confident that with Josh by his side, he may represent Canada at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Mike Herzog (GoodGuysTri)
Mike Herzog is the founder of a grass roots philanthropic organization called GoodGuysTri. He would be the first to admit that he is an average guy simply trying to squeeze every ounce out of life. His philanthropic career started at a very young age and he continues to inspire others to serve their community & nurture one another so that we can break the status quo and return to our humanity.
Dr. Deb Zimmerman (kidney specialist)
Dr. Zimmerman has been a nephrologist at The Ottawa Hospital since 1999. Every day she witnesses the devastating effects of diseases, such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes on the lives of her patients. This is why she decided to get involved with the organization, Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project, which raises money to provide Active Living grants to people on dialysis. Lover of life and physical fitness, she runs, weight trains and competes at the national level as an equestrian. Every day she enjoys the benefits of leading a healthy and active lifestyle, and wants to help her patients achieve an improved quality of life by encouraging them to move and get back in shape. “I agreed to take part in this challenge to support the mission of the Alive to Strive race, which is to educate and increase public awareness in the community. I am very excited to see that several other people have accepted to take on the challenge with me and support individuals on dialysis! Come cheer us on or run with us!”
Councillor Mathieu Fleury
Matthew grew up in Ottawa and graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Master of Human Kinetics, concentration in Sport Management. In 2010, he won the Rideau-Vanier Ward and became the youngest councillor to sit on the Ottawa City Council at the age of 25. Since he began his term, Mathieu has been working towards improving Canada’s capital and the Rideau-Vanier neighborhood, which includes Lowertown, Sandy Hill and Vanier.
Kimothy Walker (CTV reporter)
Kimothy has spent more than half her life working for CTV in Ottawa and the Valley as a reporter, producer and anchor. She is the recipient of several awards, including the “Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal” for her national work as a defender of child abuse victims. Kimothy gives of her time freely, making about 100 appearances a year for charitable causes. She is a champion for organ donation and works regularly at CHEO, in addition to supporting many other important causes. Mother of a young girl, she sets an example by training for a triathlon and is always ready for a new adventure.
Melanie Adams (co-host BOB FM)
Melanie is the co-host of the morning show, Cub & Company, airing on 93.9 BOB FM. This is her third year participating in the Alive to Strive race, and says she intends to “run with us for many more years to come.”
Eric Collard (Efficient Coaching Inc.)
Eric Collard is a running and triathlon coach, as well as a specialist in the prevention of running injuries and former ambassador for the Lululemon race. He regularly travels across the country to give talks on biomechanics. More than 500 people have attended his seminars over the past three years. Eric is also co-founder of the CTV Amazing People Gala. As a local businessman involved in his community, he is very active on social media and frequently gives lectures on various topics related to racing. Check out his blog at www.ecinc.ca.
Councillor Tim Tierney
In the fourth year of his term as municipal councillor, Tim continues to be involved. He likes to show his support at community events like Celebrate Summer, neighborhood barbecues and recreational activities. He is particularly proud of the construction of a sports facility in his neighborhood and looks forward to its opening in 2014.
Dr. Amit Langote (kidney specialist)
Amit Langote has been a resident in the Division of Nephrology at The Ottawa Hospital since 2012. He is currently specializing in home dialysis and kidney transplantation. Originally from India, where the kidney failure epidemic has become rampant mainly due to diabetes and hypertension, he feels it is his duty to educate his patients on the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and leading a healthy lifestyle. Admitting that he sometimes forgets to make exercise a regular part of his daily schedule, he decided to take part in the Alive to Strive “3 kg Challenge.”
“Running in my first race will help me to practice what I preach to my patients. It is time that I lead by example.”
Susan Power (nephrology nurse)
Susan is a registered nurse at The Ottawa Hospital and has worked with individuals living with kidney disease for over 12 years. She remains very active through running, yoga, biking and skiing. She is also a busy mother of two young children, and has a very energetic puppy who helps keep her in shape.
Dr. Ted Clark (kidney specialist)
Edward (Ted) Clark is a nephrologist at The Ottawa Hospital. He explains, “Working in the hemodialysis unit has allowed me to experience first hand the challenges that people on dialysis face to maintain an active lifestyle. By accepting to run with a 3 kg vest, I am in my own way, humbly and simply, recognizing the perseverance and courage of those patients who are able to overcome these challenges.”
Come out and meet our courageous runners! Join these inspiring people who are coming together and rallying to the cause of kidney health, in support of people on dialysis. Come out and walk, run or cheer on our runners on April 27, 2014 at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.