Kincardine’s Christopher Pennington ambassador for 2017 Kidney Walk

Section: 
News

By Barb McKay

At just 12 years old, and despite physical challenges, Christopher Pennington has accomplished a lot.

Christopher, who calls both Kincardine and Brussels home, was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2015. But rather than let his illness get the better of him he focused on educating as many people as possible about kidney disease and fundraising to advance the effort to find a cure.

For the third year in a row, Christopher will lead a team in the Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walk fundraiser. The first year he participated in the Owen Sound walk and last year took part in the Goderich walk, which is the only walk in this region. He set a fundraising goal of $4,000 and raised an incredible $13,000.

This year, Christopher will once again enter a team – Christopher’s Crew – in the 2017 Kidney Walk in Goderich on Sept. 10 and is the event’s Ambassador. He has set a fundraising goal of $8,000 and has already surpassed $2,000, thanks in large part to support from the Kincardine community. For the first time, Christopher has launched Kilometres for Kidneys which encourages supporters to donate $1 for every kilometre they run. His mom, Cathy Hambly of Kincardine, said she is already racking up quite a tally. Pete Richards recently completed a 50-kilometre run and donated $50 and Jared Adams, who raised funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kincardine with his Run 4 a Reason challenge last year, is also donating to Christopher’s team.

Christopher is selling bracelets this year to help reach his fundraising goal. The bracelets are $2 each and can be purchased at West Shore Clothing and Surf Shoppe, Penetangear, Fincher’s, Bruce Telecom and Blyth Ultramart. Hambly said that Blyth Ultramart is entering the names of those who purchase a bracelet there into a draw to win a Toronto Maple Leaf’s Austen Matthews jersey.

When asked about what all the support for a cause so important to him means to him, Christopher was all smiles.

“It feels good,” he said.

The last few years have not been easy for the young boy. He is an athlete and his diagnosis meant having to bow out of contact sports. He found a way around it by pitching for his fastball teams and playing goal in hockey, but bouts of sickness have affected his attendance.

“This year was tough for hockey with him being absent,” said Hambly. “It’s sad and disappointing when you can’t do what you love to do.”

Still, Christopher remains upbeat and puts as much energy into his sports as he can and has helped to lead his teams to several championships.

One in 10 Canadians lives with kidney disease.

“If medications don’t work you have to go on dialysis,” Christopher said. “If you can’t find a kidney match (for a transplant) you have to stay on dialysis.”

That is why Christopher is so invested in spreading the word and helping the Kidney Foundation of Canada raise funds for research and programs. He also encourages everyone to sign their organ donor cards.

Last year, Christopher was honoured by the Kidney Foundation with a volunteer award from the Waterloo/Wellington chapter and on May 6 he received this year’s Ontario Kidney Foundation Excellence in Fundraising Award during the foundation’s annual Volunteer Celebration Awards Dinner in King City.

The president of the Waterloo/Wellington chapter will walk with Christopher in the Goderich Kidney Walk on Sept. 10, along with Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and Goderich Mayor Kevin Morrison.

To support Christopher’s team, visit https://kidney.akaraisin.com/pledge/Team/Home.aspx?seid=14307&mid=10&tid.... To register to participate in the Kidney Walk, visit www.kidney.ca/walk.