What’s in a name? The creation of “Alive to Strive”

By Marie-Eve Chainey, President of Alive to Strive:

I remember sitting down in the Chapters on Rideau St. during the summer of 2010, with five or six open dictionaries and thesaurus lying on the table, trying to find a name for our race.  Nicholas, one of the founding members of Alive to Strive, and I wanted something that would be positive, motivating and representative of our vision.  We spent hours looking in multiple books, trying to find something catchy, and minutes before Chapters was closing that night, Alive to Strive was the winning name.  

Three Founders

Marie-Eve, Dr Deb Zimmerman, Nicholas Newell

Dr. Deb Zimmerman, Nicholas Newell and I started Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project in 2011.  We created this
volunteer based organization to help individuals in the Ottawa area living with chronic kidney disease live a healthier and more active lifestyle.  By providing Active Living Grants, we are giving patients a chance to have access to the right resources, and the support they need to achieve their goals while removing the financial barrier. Studies confirm that physical activity helps prevent heart disease and prevent depression – two conditions that we see far too often in the chronic kidney disease population. By awarding grants, we are telling them that we believe in them, that the challenges of dialysis are many but they are not alone – we are here.  

Caleb and Marie-Andrée

Caleb and Marie-Andrée

In 2012, we provided our very first grant to Caleb Lewis – a very motivated individual that gained 15 pounds of muscles within the first few months in the gym!  We have seen a difference in the physical health of our grant recipients, but an Active Living Grant provides more than that – in Caleb’s case – the gym is also where  he met his now fiancé!  We’ve had numerous success stories, and many grant recipients have now received a kidney transplant.  I encourage you to read the stories we have on our website (Carol-Ann, Kim, Linda, John, Christine, Michel, Diana, Hélène, Mohamed, David) – they really are amazing!!

Thanks to the amazing sponsors we have, 100% of your registration fee go towards the Alive to Strive Active Living Grant Program – directly to individuals in our community.    What started as a vision for a small non-profit organization has now awarded over 230 grants in only 6 years.   

The Alive to Strive Race has raised over $130,000 so far, as well as more than $50,000 for local charities (Kidney Research Centre, Kidney Foundation of Canada, Diabetes Canada).   This is only possible because of you, and because of an amazing team of volunteers that organizes the race every year.  

Let's Get Moving Class

Let's Get Moving Class, left to right Angie, Leona, Roy, Kim and instructor Jill

On Sunday April 30th, this is why you are running – to give the chance to individuals like Carol-Ann, the opportunity to begin guided, regular exercise that gradually increased her activity level with the help of a trainer, and Kim who overcame her fear of exercising in a group with our Let’s get Moving Classes, but who also gained a best friend in the group and now Kim and Angie go for walks multiple times a week together.   There’s also John who lost 55 pounds with the help of a trainer and gym membership and has improved his kidney function by losing this weight.  In Hélène’s own words: “Receiving this grant and participating in the Alive to Strive Race in April gave me hope. I felt a sense of belonging and community. I was not alone, and I realized that we are many battling for the same cause”.  This is the impact you have in our community by participating in the Alive to Strive Race.  



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