Cheri's PKD Posse team picture taken at the Ottawa Chapter Walk in 2019. Submitted photo

Walk to End PKD fundraiser returns to Vankleek Hill September 26

A group of friends will be taking part this Sunday in the virtual Walk to End PKD, in both support and as a surprise to Cheri Barton, who was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease 20 years ago.

The September 26 walk is held annually across the country by the PKD Foundation of Canada to raise funds for PKD research. This year Cheri’s PKD Posse will be walking through Vankleek Hill in support of the cause. Friends and family are hoping to surprise Barton at the event (so please no one tell her).

Barton has raised more than $200,000 towards PKD research since she first took part in the Toronto PKD walk in 2005. Later that same year, she and her friend Joyce Oswick organized a walk in Vankleek Hill, which raised $8,888. Over the years Barton has actively spread awareness of the disease and has been a guest speaker at various conferences and events.

Barton continued to organize annual walks and bake sales to raise funds for PKD Research for the next 10 years. The 10th annual walk in Vankleek Hill attracted more than 80 participants when it was held for the final time in 2015. Since then, Barton, along with friends and family, has been taking part each year in PKD walks organized by others in Ottawa and Montreal.

“She felt it was time for her to retire and just support their efforts,” said Cheri’s daughter Laura Barton, who is organizing Sunday’s walk through Vankleek Hill.

Cheri’s PKD Posse has set up a fundraising page on the PKD Foundation of Canada’s website and anyone who would like to donate to Sunday’s walk can do so by visiting this link. As of Monday, September 20, Cheri’s PKD Posse had already raised more than $1,600 towards their goal of $2,000.

“We’ve had amazing community support over the years,” said Laura of past PKD walks in Vankleek Hill. “It was always a lot of fun too.”

In 2006 the entire Barton family attended the PKD Walk in Toronto and Laura recalled that the walk that year in Vankleek Hill raised more than the one in the much larger metropolis.

“It just goes to show how amazing our community really is,” Laura said.

Cheri’s PKD Posse will be gathering at an undisclosed location on September 26 and will wait for Laura to bring her mother to the planned start of the walk through Vankleek Hill. If all goes well, Cheri will not find out about the event until the surprise is revealed.

Reid Masson

Reid Masson is a graduate of Algonquin College's Journalism Program. He has over 20 years of experience as a staff writer and editor for various newspapers across Canada, including The Ottawa Citizen and Brockville Recorder and Times.

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