Sunday, September 27, 2009

Walk for PKD 2009

Yesterday was the 2009 Hudson Valley Walk for PKD. As usual, the day was hectic, fun, emotional and exhilirating all at the same time! The alarm went off at 5:45 and thankfully, we had all but Brian up out of bed on their own before 6:30. A quick breakfast and we were on the road a little after 7:15, getting us to Bedford Hills right on schedule at 8:15.

Jeanne and I started out by setting up the Hudson Valley Chapter information table while TJ pitched in and help muscle some tables to their proper spots. A small football that our walk team received in our prize basket served as more than enough entertainment for Brian and Jason, who were very happy to have Luke join in the fun with them.

After a while working the chapter table, Heidi asked me to work at the registration table, helping people fill out forms to submit their donations at the walk and pointing people to the proper places to check in. I helped here last year, and think I'm getting quite adept at recognizing the "I'm not sure where the heck I'm supposed to go" look on people's faces. I like this job, as it is a good chance to meet folks and hear some of their stories about why the walk. Once person was down from Rhode Island and was wearing a T-shirt from a PKD Comedy and Music festival. I asked her about it and learned that it taken place every August for the last three years. This sounds like it might be a fun weekend trip for next summer. I'll have to google it up and find out exactly when and where it takes place.

A little after 10, the opening ceremonies were run by Sam and then the walk was off. TJ and his ham radio were at the front of the walk. Jeanne had a bit of a headache and wasn't feeling up to walking, so she decided to stay behind at the pavilion. Since I was helping with some last minute registrations, I got a late start and had to jog the first 1/4 mile or so to catch up with the rest of the family. For a while, we were keeping pace with the rest of the group, but then Brian and Jason started to tire, and we eventually ended up the same place we do every year - the back of the pack.

The good news is that by walking at the back of the pack, I was able to meet Bill Brazell (aka Kenny the Kidney), who is a member of the PKD Foundation's Board of Trustees, and had the pleasure of chatting with him for a while as we walked the route. At one point, when I began to tell the story of how PKD is affecting our family, Bill suddenly interrupted: "oh - are you the Bob from Team Teddy Bear?" Apparantly, he had just been reading through this blog the other night and recognized my story. Bill's a wonderful guy, so if you ever see a seven foot tall kidney walking down the street, don't be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself.

Once we got back, it was time for the post-walk festivities. TJ once again received the second place youth fundraiser award for raising over $1000! Great job, TJ! And, after four years of trying, I finally won some of the famous Grossman family maple syrup in the raffle! Can't wait for our next pancake breakfast.

After the walk, it was back to our house for a little post-walk eating and relaxation. Since Friday was Mom's birthday, Jeanne had ordered a cake to celebrate the occasion - turned out the cake was her 5th birtday cake in as many days. Better spend some extra time on that treadmill this week, Mom.

Pictures? Well, those will need to come later. You see, I have this bad habit of leaving the camera behind. I think it's a subconscious response to my other bad habit of dropping and breaking cameras. But, Dad has some pictures and I'll post some of them as soon as they get passed along.

Thanks again to all of those who have supported us this year. I've lost track of our official total at this point, but I know it is now over $4000!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

two more days until the walk

Two more days until our chapter's Walk for PKD. Our walk has now raised over $44,000. I believe we are poised to actually beat last year's total - which I find amazing considering the hit the economy has taken over the last 12 months. There seem to be quite a number of new walkers and walk teams this year who are getting involved and helping to raise more funds, and hopefully more awareness as well. I'm looking forward to this walk being the best one yet.

Our team managed to take the prize for most walkers with $50 or more raised - and our grand total is now $3645. I couldn't ask for a better team, and, even after four years of doing this, am overwhelmed by the amount of support I receive from friends and family in our fundraising efforts! Thank you all!

Here's the latest update from Heidi:

Hello Team Captains!

The Walk for PKD is almost here! We are thrilled to have so many walk teams participating in the Hudson Valley Walk this year- and some amazing fundraisers. We have already raised enough money to fund a year of a research fellowship- we really are doing something to help end PKD!

Congratulations to our most recent "Team Tuesday" prizewinners... Team Teddy Bear will receive a picnic fun pack on walk day to celebrate the fact that all 13 of their walkers have already raised $50 or more. Great job! In addition, Benny's Brigade, Dream Team, Hooked on Hope, Luke's Team, Team Teddy Bear, and 3 Peas in a Pod will have snack basket waiting for them at the walk in celebration of the fact that they had all raised over $2000 by last night.

We are proud of all our walkers and all our teams- you are playing a huge role in our quest to find a treatment or cure for PKD.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday. After registration I'll be at the Hudson Valley Chapter Info table, so feel free to come on by and say hello- and find out what our plans are for the rest of the year!

Oh, and don't forget, we will be holding a Chinese style raffle and a silent auction as well. We have lots of great raffle prizes and our silent auction items include a 37" LCD TV, a Blu-Ray DVD player, a Nikon digital camera, and a Play Station 3 all donated by Best Buy... plus even more!

See you at the walk!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

one more week until the walk

The 2009 Walk for PKD is a week from today. Thanks to our friends and family (and even friends of family), Team Teddy Bear has raised nearly $3500! The overall total for the Hudson Valley Walk is over $39,000, which I think is a little ahead of the usual pre-walk total. It appears that there are a number of new teams signed up which might mean we are headed for a record turnout. It's very encouraging to see such continued support despite everything that the economy has gone through over the past year.

News from Heidi on Team Tuesday:

" Congratulations Teams!

Sixth Street, 3 Peas in a Pod, The Cure Crusaders, Team Teddy Bear, Hooked on Hope, Benny's Brigade, and Luke's Team will all have team tables reserved at the walk site. Feel free to bring things to mark your spot and make it a fun place for your team to congregate! Other teams will still have an opportunity to have a table to sit at- but the remaining tables are open to anyone.

I am happy to say that we had a 3 way tie for teams who had the most walkers raising $50 or more- Team Teddy Bear, Hooked on Hope, and Luke's Team were all tied with 8 team members raising $50 or more. Great problem to have, but I only have one "Picnic Fun Pack"- so we'll extend that challenge to next Tuesday and see if one team pulls ahead and takes the lead!

Have a great week- and thanks for all your efforts in recruiting walkers and fundraising. You are taking steps to help cure PKD and 12.5 million people appreciate it!"

Last minute donations are always welcome. Just head to to make a donation.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Team Table Tuesday

Here's the next Team Tuesday challenge from Heidi:

Congratulations to Janet Ferrara and the Cure Crusaders - winners of our Sept. 8th drawing for a Walk for PKD gift bag! As of 5pm on Tuesday, the Cure Crusaders had registered 10 walkers and raised a total of $180.

Now its time to gear up for the next challenge- Team Table Tuesday!

Any team that registers 10 or more walkers online by 5pm Tuesday, Sept. 15th will have a Team Table reserved for them at the Walk start/finish line! This guarantees that you'll have a place to gather before the walk and to sit, relax, and enjoy lunch after the walk. You are also welcome to decorate your table and make it festive if you like! But wait, there's more! It's great to get people to the walk, but remember this is also a fundraiser. The team with the most walkers who have raised $50 or more by 5pm Tuesday will also have a special suprise waiting for them on their table on walk day. It's EASY to raise $50... just ask 2 relatives for $25 or 5 friends for $10. Even kids can do it! If you hate asking others... you can also always donate yourself. :)

Good luck with your recruiting and fundraising this week!

Please pass this message along to your team members so they can help you.

Heidi Cambareri

Volunteer Chapter Coordinator
PKD Foundation - Hudson Valley Chapter


Friday, September 11, 2009

Facebook Vote for a Cause

In addition to the Walk for PKD coming up (in some places the walk is this weekend), here's another way to support the PKD Foundation through Facebook. Intel is giving one non-profit organization a chance to "win up to $50,000 in co-branded advertising". Could be just the kind of exposure the PKD Foundation needs to get this disease on everyone's radar screens. The PKD Foundation is currently one of the 16 finalists and could use every vote it can get. If you are on Facebook and want to help out, it's as simple as:

1) Go to

2) Click on the PKD Foundation button

3) Click on "Record your Vote!"

4) Repeat every day until the PKD Foundation emerges as the winner!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

first day of kindergarten

Today was the first full day of kindergarten for Jason and Brian. Here's some pictures just before getting on the bus for the first time!

Jason and Brian getting ready to go

Jason waiting for the bus

Brian waiting for the bus

The bus!!!!

Jason on the bus.

Brian on the bus

Some first day trends we hope don't continue:

  • Brian was escorted inside at recess by the principal (ok, so it was just to bring him to the nurse's office after a fall - or at least that is Brian's story and he's sticking to it)
  • Jeanne, free at last to go shopping without the little guys, went on a spending spree at the local stores (ok, so it was mostly to buy TJ clothes for school)

First day trend we hope DOES continue:

  • The boys fell asleep very quickly tonite!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Team Tuesday #1

Heidi, our chapter coordinator is running "Team Tuesdays" in conjunction with this year's PKD Walk. The first one is this coming Tuesday, the 8th. Here's the details:

It is time for Team Tuesdays! For the next 3 Tuesdays, your team can take part in some special challenges- just for walk teams! This Tuesday, September 8th, is Full Team Tuesday. All teams are encouraged to register at least 4 walkers on line by Sept. 8th. If you do, you will be entered into a drawing to win a Walk for PKD gift bag including things like a duffel bag, bracelets, water bottles, and a bunch of other fun treats. If you have a full walk team, great work! If you don't have 4 people on your team yet, don't miss your chance to win... now is the time to ask some friends or family members to join you.

Team Teddy Bear currently has five registered team members (six counting Alexis) - and hopefully we'll have several more registering soon!

Now that the website is functional again, I can report our official fundraising total is $1839.55. Thanks to everyone for supporting us!

Friday, September 4, 2009


Thank you to everyone who has supported Team Teddy Bear so far this year. The walk web site seems to be having some issues this evening, so I'm going by memory here, but my unofficial team total has us a little over $1600. I was hoping to catch up on thank you notes tonite, but with the site having issues, I guess I'll have to do that another time.

Thanks to Brian and his team at Dutchess Building Specialists for supporting our cause again this year. If you live in Dutchess County and are considering any remodeling in your home, I highly recommend giving Brian a call. He and his team are true professionals who will bend over backwards to minimize the disrpution involved in any home remodeling project.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Team Teddy Bear goes cheese-head

My wonderful sister-in-law Alexis will be virtually walking with us again this year. Since she'll be out of town that weekend, she'll actually be walking in Green Bay this year instead of Chicago. Hopefully, the post-walk lunch includes beer and brats!

Check out her walk page at:

Thanks, Alexis!