The Gift That Keeps On Giving

How your generous donations to Alive to Strive will help those living with kidney disease to “get moving”.

Let's Get Moving

The almost $5,000 in donations raised at last May’s Alive to Strive race will go towards the “Let’s Get Moving” group training classes. Taking place at the McNabb Recreational Centre, the group training takes place for one hour, twice a week, for a total of six weeks. With the October group already complete and the November session nearing the final week, we are well on our way to providing many people with kidney disease who are living in the Ottawa area with a chance to increase their strength, mobility, endurance and balance, and lead more energized lives.

In collaboration with Ottawa Osteopathy and Sports Therapy, David Witiluk, a registered kinesiologist, has been the group instructor for the October and November 2014 groups.  A graduate of Lakehead University, David has been working as a kinesiologist at Ottawa Osteopathy and Sports Therapy for almost three years. He was excited to get involved with Alive to Strive and to take on the new challenge of helping dialysis patients to get fit.

“This has been a big learning experience for me. I learn something new with each new person I meet, and I adjust what I am doing to better suit the needs of the people with whom I am working,” said David.

David worked with the two groups to teach them exercises that would help them to get out of their comfort zones, but at the same time that would respect their physical limits. “I wanted to give them exercises they would be able to practice in the comfort of their own home. Whether they are on the couch or in the waiting room at the Doctor’s office, they would be able to do their exercises outside of the classes,” explained David.

The classes enable each participant to progress at their own rate, with the goal of giving them more energy while doing day-to-day activities. “For example, I teach the group how to do squats, a movement they perform everyday when they pick up a laundry basket or lift a box. I try and make the connection between the exercises and real-life examples,” David said.

All the participants have seen a difference in their energy levels over the six weeks of classes. One of the participants, an 88-year-old man, was experiencing leg cramps whenever walking. With the classes he has become more agile and he moves more smoothly, even his wife notices a difference around their home.

There is also a stretching component of the class. Some participants find they feel stiff, and one participant in particular was not sleeping well because of restless legs. “I gave him stretching techniques that he could perform before bed and even while in bed. When he came back the next week he was so pleased with the results—he was able to sleep through the night,” recounted David.

The group participants enjoy not only the physical results they get from the classes, but also the social aspect. They enjoy spending time with people who are experiencing the same health issues as themselves. David also likes to keep the classes light, by telling jokes and keeping everyone laughing. “I have had a lot of fun working with the groups, this experience has been very rewarding for me,” concluded David.

Starting in March 2015, Alive to Strive will be offering over eight “Let’s Get Moving” group training session. Half of the groups will take place on Tuesday and Thursday nights, while the other half will take place on Wednesday and Thursday nights. More information on these groups will be available shortly, but individuals who are interested in the “Let’s Get Moving” group classes or an Active Living Grant, can download the application online at

The “Let’s Get Moving” classes would not be possible without the generous donations made to the Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project! We want to thank those who through their donations have given us the chance to help individuals living with kidney disease to improve their quality of life by getting fit and having fun!

Interested in supporting the Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project? You can get involved by taking part in our annual Alive to Strive Race! Registration for the 2015 race is now open! Sign up today:

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