PKD – 3 letters that changed my life

by Sep 3, 20140 comments

PKD. Who knew these 3 letters would hold so much significance in my life.

What is PKD?

PKD or Polycystic Kidney Disease is a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts in the kidneys. Over time, kidney function decreases resulting in kidney failure.

As a child I knew very little about this disease other than what I witnessed my grandmother go through. I knew it made you tired, that you had to spend countless hours in your room hooked up to a machine, and that if you were lucky, you would have an operation to get a new kidney. A pretty elementary understanding.

I really didn’t know how much this disease would impact me. My naive mind only understood it as an isolated incident. Never did I think that my father, and two of his siblings would also be affected. And never once did I think it would affect me, my siblings or our children.

It didn’t seem like much at first. So they would end up with a few cysts on their kidneys. What did that really mean anyways? Change of diet? More exercise? More sleep?

Fast forward a few years, a lot has changed.  My grandmother passed, my uncle received his transplant (gift of life) from his wonderfully loving and selfless wife, only to know be back on dialysis and in need of another transplant.  My aunt, after spending years on dialysis and the transplant list finally received her gift of life.  And my dad, who was holding on strong to his kidneys, received his gift of life from his loving and selfless wife. 

Why am I writing about this?

September 4th is National PKD Awareness day in Canada and I want to put a face to this prevalent yet not widely known about disease.

So many families like mine, suffer with this terrible disease.  The more I can speak and share about it, the more people become aware of what it is.  My hope, is that this will not only bring awareness to what PKD is, but that people will rethink organ donation.  There are so many lives that can be changed from just one person saying “yes” to organ donation.

The cure is my finish line.  

For more information about PKD, visit

Photo: Team Risi at the 2014 fundraising walk