Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Annual Kidney Walk

Tracey (donor) and Dan Eyles (recipient)
were the honorees at the Annual Kidney Walk

On Sunday October 14, 2012 all of the players from the Prince George Spruce Kings attended the Annual Kidney Walk to help raise funds, awareness and support for those affected by kidney disease. The game played the night before was in honour of the event with members of the local organization on hand to promote the walk. At the game, Tracey Eyles dropped the ceremonial puck to recognize her unselfish act of donating a kidney to her father.

At the walk, the Spruce Kings were recognized for their efforts of giving back to the community that they play in and received a round of applause when introduced by MLA Shirley Bond. Although the VIPs at the walk were Tracey and Dan Eyles, the Spruce Kings were made to feel very special as well by everyone in attendance.

On Wednesday, the Prince George Free Press published an article in their paper about the event and the Spruce Kings involvement. That full article has been reposted below with thanks to Teresa Mallam and the entire staff at the Prince George Free Press.

The local support grows every year.

Sunday's Kidney Walk, put on every year by the Kidney Foundation of Canada, attracted a large number of participants including organ donors, recipients, their family and friends, local luminaries and medical field workers. The group filled a main floor room at the Charles Jago Northern Sports Centre where they met for a "pep talk" before taking to the track.

There was lots of heartfelt emotion in the room.

Walk honoree Tracey Eyles says the decision to giver her father a new lease on life was the easiest thing she's ever had to do. Diagnosed with severe kidney disease, Dan Eyles was scheduled to begin dialysis in 2011 but Tracey was determined to bring back his health by donating one of her kidneys. Following an extensive screening process and tests, she found out she was a match.

The Spruce Kings at the Annual Kidney Walk

On June 4, her father received her precious gift.

Sunday, just a few months after the surgery, both father and daughter look fit and happy. However Tracey described how shocked she was by her 66 year-old father's appearance prior to surgery.

"He looked white in the face," she said. "Actually he was gray ... he looked like he was about to die," she said, fighting back tears.

Looking over at her father in the crowd, with other family members at his side, she smiled at him.

"Now his cheeks are pink and he's up doing things again. And hopefully now we will have him around for a very long time."

She praised the work of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. They made it possible for her family, who lives in Burns Lake, to stay for two months in Vancouver following the procedure without enduring financial hardship.

At the podium with her walking shoes on, Prince George MLA Shirley Bond had kind words for the selfless mother of two.

"You give a face to giving a gift," she said. "You are a local hero - and we're proud of you."

Bond also acknowledge the participation of the local Spruce Kings.

"We support (the Spruce Kings) in our community and so it's good to see so many of them out today supporting this."

Indeed, Tracey had the honour of dropping the puck at Saturday's Spruce Kings against the Surrey Eagles.

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