Lace up your kicks and join in for a good cause early next month.

Merrittonians are invited to participate in the yearly Kidney Walk set to occur on Saturday, June 2, at Rotary Park. Those who wish to register for the walk can either do it online or on the same day, starting at 9 a.m. The 2.5-kilometre walk begins at 10 a.m.

Heather and Marcus Ouimet are going on their third year organizing the Kidney Walk in Merritt, which aims to raise awareness of kidney disease.

“The first time we did it, we raised $7,000 for kidney disease and we started it because our daughter was stage five kidney disease, so she was on dialysis and she was on the transplant list,” Marcus said. 

“There’s a lot of people in the community with kidney disease and it’s hard to get support in rural areas, so they (Kidney Foundation of Canada) offer a lot of suites for people who do need organ transplants because they might be in Vancouver for two or three months,” Marcus added.

Marcus added that their motivation to keep involved in the cause comes from seeing the work that the Kidney Foundation of Canada does and how people benefit from it.

“Just seeing the work that they do when people benefit from it and the support that they give people, because it’s just such a hard thing to go through, especially with the youth,” he said. “Obviously, we’re just kind of hopeful one day that they come up with a cure for kidney disease because there’s no cure right now. It’s just a lifetime disease that you have to deal with.”

Heather said the support from the community throughout the years they’ve organized the walk has been great.

“The first year we had it, it was sort of a last minute thing that we decided we’ll just pull it together,” she said. “We had people come that we didn’t even know. (People) from Kamloops and they’ve donated their kidney or they’ve received the kidney. Even last year, we had people show up that we didn’t know who they were. It was amazing.”

Marcus added that there are different ways that people can contribute to the cause and hopes to see a lot of people joining in.

“They can go on the Kidney Walk website for Canada and they can find Merritt. They can create their own team or they can join our team,” he said. “They get to just make a donation or they can come up for the walk. So they can kind of participate in different ways if they want, even if they don’t want to do the walk.”