Testimonials from grant recipients who participated in the “Let’s Get Moving” Group classes:


My name is Carol-Ann.  This is how the Alive to Strive fitness grant program has touched me.

When I was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2012, my energy level and physical condition were so poor I could not walk from the Ottawa Senators parking lot to the entrance of my beloved team’s arena door.  Kidney failure followed in 2013 due to pneumonia and the influenza virus.  I started emergency hemodialysis at the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital in February.  By the time I was released, I was 50 pounds lighter due to the removal of the body fluid my kidneys could no longer filter.

Although hemodialysis was life-saving, the process took its own toll, leaving me anemic and weak from the low blood pressure inherent in the process.  It was not until the miracle of Peritoneal (PT) Home dialysis in September of 2013 that I had any hope of a return to independence and wellbeing.  Once I was stable on the PT regimen, the home dialysis social worker talked to me about an exciting program called Alive to Strive.

The program offered an opportunity to begin guided, regular exercise.  I qualified to receive personal training sessions and a gym membership in January of 2014.  Marie-Eve Chainey met with the trainer to ensure that he understood my limitations and could design a suitable personalized workout.  She shared her considerable experience and provided online reference material, both of which proved very valuable to both my trainer and I. My trainer worked with me for 8 weeks, gradually increasing my activity level and general level of fitness.  After the sessions with the personal trainer were completed, I continued on my own at the gym three times per week.

The call came for a paired exchange transplant opportunity[1] in December of 2014.  My physical condition virtually guaranteed my acceptance for and recovery from the transplant.  I received my new kidney on December 11, 2014.  This amazing gift was made possible by my dear sweet sister, Marilyn.  She was not directly compatible with me, so she and her husband Steve flew to Vancouver to make her donation to a recipient there.  Her donation allowed me to receive a kidney from a compatible donor, who in turn traveled to Ottawa from parts East.  I will be forever in their debt…

On the three month anniversary of the transplant, I am back at the gym walking 4 to 5 miles several times per week, getting back to my former fitness level.  I am learning to cross country ski, and have been skating on the canal.  The financial, and more importantly, the moral support provided by the Alive to Strive fitness grant program has made an incredible difference in my quality of life, both before and now after the transplant.  It was an enabler for a better physical and mental life.

I need to acknowledge the love and support of my family on this journey, without which I would never have survived.   In particular the love and attention of my husband has kept me from those dark places where prolonged illness can lead.  He kept and continues to keep the sun shining on my face and my spirit!  I am so blessed to have such an amazing soul mate….

[1] For information on Paired Exchange Transplant see https://www.blood.ca/sites/default/files/english_ldpe_brochure_general.pdf

Hope to see you there in April!

Here we are, The Kimini Kidneys, at the 2014 Alive to Strive race

Here we are, The Kimini Kidneys, at the 2014 Alive to Strive race


  Very fun class.  Helps you with mobility and flexibility.  When I first started I couldn’t bend my knees and now, I go all the way to the floor!  Hope to see you at our next class!
December 19th 2013

 This program helps you get in shape and helps you become confident in yourself and your body.  The Alive to Strive program has let me meet new people on dialysis just like me.  Being in shape is a good idea and being involved in this program has kept me in shape.  I have become more confident in everything I do now!
Let’s Get Moving class participant
December 19th 2013

 This has been a wonderful experience for me as a group fitness instructor.  Through adaptive movements the group has been able to get much stronger and more flexible!!  Can’t wait to see everyone in March!  Remember, keep moving and keep smiling
Jill, class instructor
December 19th 2013

 This exercise class was challenging and very beneficial to me.  A great improvement in my stamina and overall improvement in my agility.
December 19th 2013

  This experience has helped me to strengthen my muscles and increase joint mobility, also helped me to relax through breathing with the exercises and meditation at the end of the sessions.
Let’s Get Moving Class participant
December 19th 2013 

  My name is Kim and I have been on dialysis since 2004.  I presently do home hemodialysis.  When my social worker suggested I might like to join the “Let’s Get Moving” group, I was scared.  Scared I wouldn’t be able to do the exercises and also to be honest, scared I would be the worst in the class.  I hadn’t done any exercises in more than five years and in my mind, below beginner level.  I spoke with Marie-Eve and my nurse who both reassured me that the class was designed for our abilities and to not worry so I went.  I am so happy I overcame my fear and joined the class.  Our trainers have modified the exercises to each person’s ability, it’s nice to talk to other dialysis patients.  I have become more confident that I can do more with my body.  I event took my dog for a short walk up and down the street!  I don’t know who was more shocked, me or the dog!  It’s a great Group.  Come join us!
November 7th 2013

Email received from David Presley’s wife on June 7th, 2013

On Monday, April 28th. we were relaxing at home after a busy weekend. Saturday, we had done a promotion for Organ Donation at our local grocery store and on Sunday, we had volunteered at Alive to Strive. Our phone rang, and it was the call we had been waiting years for. A kidney was available for David. That night, at 11 p.m. he was taken to surgery which lasted for several hours. At 4:30 a.m. I received a call from the surgeon to inform me that all had gone remarkably well and that the kidney started to function immediately!

David’s recovery has been remarkable! Yes, there are the little ‘bumps’ which we were prepared for. I firmly believe that David’s recovery would not be progressing as well as it is if it were not for the fact that through the Alive to Strive program with his wonderful trainer Becky and his exercise regime he was in good shape to receive this gift of a new kidney. He had never exercised in a formal way until this program was offered to him.

We feel we are ‘Living a Miracle’!

Sincere thanks and appreciation!
– Lyn Presley

Everyday people are the ones who can make miracles!

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