December 3rd, 2021

Local senior using home turf for ‘virtual’ Kidney March

By GILLIAN SLADE on August 26, 2020.

Local resident Fred Robins, 76, trains for the 100-kilometre Kidney March in Strathcona Island Park on Tuesday morning. Even though the march is going '"virtual" for this year, Robins is doing the full 100-km walk on home turf to raise funds for the Kidney Foundation of Canada Southern Alberta.--NEWS PHOTO GILLIAN SLADE

After celebrating his 75th birthday by doing the 100-kilometre Kidney March last year, Fred Robins is ready to do it again.

Unlike last year though, the Kidney March in K-Country will not bring together 450 participants and hundreds of volunteers for support during a three-day event.

Due to COVID, it is “virtual” this year, but Robins has put together his own team and will do the full 100-km walk locally on Sept. 11, 12 and 13.

Robins believes it needs to be the whole walk to be fair to those sponsoring his walk to raise funds for the Kidney Foundation of Canada Southern Alberta.

“The little bit that I can do makes a difference,” said Robins, who remembers fondly the enjoyment of being with so many participants last year whom he calls his “kidney family.”

His training regime is the same as last year and includes a daily walk after breakfast. If it’s hot, the day simply starts earlier. From his home to a point near the Veiner Centre is 10 km, and with the return journey it’s 20 km in a day. Over a weekend he includes a walk to Echo Dale and that’s 40 km.

He says it is always interesting with plenty others to talk to who are also out walking.

On Friday, Sept. 11, Robins will do the 40-km walk to Echo Dale and sleep in a tent at Gas City Camp Campground. That will make it feel like the real thing in K-Country, he says. On Sept. 12 he will walk to Strathcona Island from his camp site accounting for 30 km and another 30 km on Sept. 13 culminating at Echo Dale.

Plenty of friends, supporters and family are going to be cheerleaders along the way providing physical and mental nourishment. He is happy for others to join them.

“I’ll give them two thumbs up,” he said.

The lives of people can change as a result of organ donation. Robins says meeting recipients of donated kidneys last year was so rewarding, to “see their enthusiasm for life.”

If anyone has not filled out the organ donor information on their drivers licence, Robins says: “Quit procrastinating and do it.”

Last year just days before the Kidney March his niece had a brain aneurysm and died. She donated all her organs. This year he will walk in her memory and her mother, his sister, who passed away earlier this year.

He says after being a smoker for many years and then quitting he gained a lot of weight. His physical exercise routine has seen him lose the weight and he benefits from increased energy.

Robins initially thought he would lower his expectations on how much he could raise this year but people are responding so his goal is what he managed last year: $6,500. Donations can be made directly online:

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