Bill Egnatoff introduced our speaker Katie Kyte this morning by turning the usual introduction on its ear. Bill asked Katie to talk about how she arrived in her role with the Canadian Kidney Foundation. Katie has been with the Kidney Foundation for two years. What led her to work with the kidney foundation is a lifelong desire to give and give back.
Although she has no personal connection to kidney disease, the last two years have resulted in Katie being very familiar with the disease and its effect on Canadians. Katie has been a teacher and a tour guide in the past, so her ability to connect with people has really been an asset in her present job.
Katie came to the Kingston chapter of the kidney foundation as it needed new life pumped into the organization - they needed a Kingstonian to revitalize and recruit new volunteers. Just as she got going COVID hit, and everything changed.
What is the Kidney Foundation of Canada? It is a national charity dedicated to improving the lives of those with kidney disease. The organization is also dedicated to helping find a cure for kidney disease. There are several main areas of their work;
  1. they fund research,
  2. two they provide education and support,
  3. they advocate. During COVID the Kidney Foundation advocated for dialysis and transplant patients to receive higher priority for covert vaccines.
  4. they raise awareness of kidney health and organ donation. It is interesting to note that a kidney transplant is not a cure.
There are 18 chapters of the Kidney Foundation in Ontario. Kingston is a very important chapter because of the role our hospitals play in regional dialysis and transplants.
The Kidney Foundation provides information for patients, manuals to help doctors and nurses, opportunities for those who suffer from the disease to connect with others, and support. The Kidney Foundation also offers short-term financial assistance, which is key for people struggling to get to dialysis appointments and afford medication. They also provide summer camp opportunities for kids, which has unfortunately been put on hold because of COVID, but will be back soon. Lastly they also provide through their website advice on diet for kidney disease patients. Kidney disease requires a close monitoring of your diet and this helps the patients.
How does the Kidney Foundation do their work? They raise funds in various ways. Their most important fundraisers are their kidney walks, which take place in September. They also hold events at chapter level including online auctions and scavenger hunts. Just like our Rotary Club bingo is always a source of funds, and public donations are very important. If you would like to know more about the Kidney Foundation of Canada go to For more information.
Katie then introduced Craig Lindsey program director for the Kidney Foundation in Ontario. Craig was a paramedic with the air ambulance service when he contracted kidney disease. He received a kidney and pancreas transplant a few years ago. Craig described himself as a terrible patient, but when he talked to people at the Kidney Foundation about their struggles with kidney disease it made all the difference for him. When he returned to work, he returned to work for the Kidney Foundation. His role is to talk to people struggling with kidney disease and provide support. Craig wonders if enough money is being spent on research. He also told us that many people don't know how important their kidneys are to their overall health, the disease affects all of your body’s systems. Craig also invited us to take the survey on the Kidney Foundation website. This survey helps you to assess your risk of getting kidney disease.
After a couple of questions from the members, Robert Reed thanked Katie and Craig for their presentation today.