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Banker shows support for cause

- North Shore Kidney Run, Sunday, Sept. 25, Ambleside Park, West Vancouver. Participants can choose an 8/5/2.5-kilometre course. A kids run is also scheduled. Registration: 8 a.m. Run/walk: 9 a.m. Info: www.northshorekidneyrun.ca.

- North Shore Kidney Run, Sunday, Sept. 25, Ambleside Park, West Vancouver. Participants can choose an 8/5/2.5-kilometre course. A kids run is also scheduled. Registration: 8 a.m. Run/walk: 9 a.m. Info: www.northshorekidneyrun.ca.

NORTH Shore residents are encouraged to take steps to become "kidney heroes" by lacing up for next weekend's North Shore Kidney Run.

Funds raised from the event, which has been held on the North Shore previously though has been rebranded this year to include an added timed run component, is a fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation of Canada, B.C. branch.

This year's event honouree is Chris Ouellette. He's proud to be supporting the event, both from a professional and personal perspective. The 36-yearold Vancouver resident recently transferred to the position of branch manager at the CIBC branch located at Granville and West 13th in Vancouver. However, he worked for a number of years at the Capilano Square branch of CIBC as the business development manager. In that role, he was responsible for events, promotions and sponsorship on the North Shore and in downtown Vancouver.

"Because I was the business development manager at the time, we were looking for community events and sponsorships to take part in," he says.

Last year, event organizers approached him wondering if CIBC was interested in coming on board as a presenting sponsor. "I thought that this would definitely be something that was very worthy of attention," says Chris. "When I was about 13, I remember, we were about ready to go on a family vacation and all of a sudden my father had to go into the hospital because his blood pressure was so high it was scary," he says.

His father Mark, now 57 and a resident of Regina, Sask., was eventually diagnosed with degenerative kidney disease. In the years that followed, Mark continued to cope with the disease, making changes to his and his family's diet, and took a lot of medication that would at times affect his mood. "Growing up with it, it was something that he just sort of lived with," says Chris.

Six years ago, Mark's kidney failed. "Luckily he was a candidate for home dialysis," says Chris, adding they then began to search for a donor. One of Mark's sisters, Theresa, a resident of the Yukon, was deemed a match and provided a kidney. "I'm happy to say he's really doing well, it's been about five years," says Chris. "He's definitely got a real appreciation for life and a zeal for life and my aunt, his sister, is doing really well and he, as well, has been very healthy and very active in making sure to make himself healthy and focused."

Having witnessed his father's struggles over the years, Chris was an advocate for his place of employment to take on the cause. This year, CIBC is a provincial sponsor of the event. In addition, due to his connection to the North Shore, Chris is directly involved with the West Vancouver run as a volunteer.

"If you can do something for someone else and you have the power to do something for someone else I just think why wouldn't you?" he says.

Also scheduled to be in attendance on event day, Sunday, Sept. 25, is local actress Jessica Parker Kennedy (CW's The Secret Circle), as her family has been touched by kidney disease.

In addition to raising funds for the foundation, which is committed to improving the lives of those living with kidney disease, the event is intended to raise awareness of the need for more organ donors. Info: www. transplant.bc.ca.

emcphee@nsnews.com