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Linda Bonner-Brown doesn’t want any cards for her birthday.
Friends and family can skip the presents, too.
All the longtime volunteer with the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Kamloops branch wants is to see those friends and family — and, ideally, their friends and families and their friends and families.
She wants to see 1,000
people at the third annual fundraising walk for the society on Sunday, Aug. 26 at Riverside Park — her 65th birthday.
It’s a hefty goal, given there were about 200 people there last year — but, if there’s one thing Bonner-Brown isn’t adverse to, it’s taking on big challenges.
That indomitable spirit helped her and husband Doug deal with his diagnosis of kidney disease in August 1995.
It helped as they made the regular tips from their home in Clinton to Royal Inland Hospital for 18 months so Doug could undergo dialysis.
It definitely helped when the couple was in two accidents making those weekly trips, collisions that totalled their vehicles both times.
“The vehicles didn’t make it through,” Bonner-Brown said, “but we did.”
Eventually, they moved to Kamloops but, just 4.5 years after his diagnosis, Doug died and Bonner-Brown found her calling.
“We had no idea why he had it,” she said of his kidney disease, “and the doctors said he should have never lived that long, but we laughed every day and we loved every day.”
Since his death, Bonner-Brown can be seen regularly at RIH with her table of information on the foundation and on the value of organ donations.
Ill health means she won’t be walking when the fundraiser starts at 11 a.m.. — registration is at 10 a.m. — but she’ll be there greeting everyone, including those on the memorial team who will be walking or running in honour of friends and family who have died.
Bonner-Brown is looking forward to seeing her sister and two brothers, bringing the siblings together for the first time in five years.
She’s hopeful the walk and run will raise more than the $23,000 collected last year, not only because she believes in the cause, but because 85 per cent of the money will stay in the Kamloops area, helping others living with kidney disease.
“I can’t make a difference in Doug’s life,” she said, “but, if I can make a difference in someone else’s life, that makes my day.”
For more information on the walk, go online to kamloopskidneywalk.ca.