Mayor Jim Watson, Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor Mathieu Fleury and Beacon Hill-Cyrville Ward Councillor Tim Tierney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award today to Marie-Eve Chainey for her tireless work raising public awareness and funds to help people living with chronic kidney disease.

In late 2001 while on an exchange program in Spain, Marie-Eve, a rising track-and-field athlete, was diagnosed as having kidney failure due to a rare blood disorder called Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS). She returned to Canada in February 2002 and survived on transfusions and dialysis but had to use a wheelchair and was not able to perform basic functions independently. Her situation began to turn around when she started nocturnal dialysis every night while she slept. She gained her strength back, worked hard to regain her fitness, went to uOttawa to study nursing, and joined the university track and field team. In July 2010, after struggling with kidney disease for eight years, she was able to compete in high jump at the National Track and Field Championships.

Marie-Eve and her doctors believe patients with kidney disease do much better if they strive to be as fit as it is possible for each individual to achieve.

As a result, she brought together a few dedicated medical professionals and family members to form the Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project — a not-for-profit organization committed to education and public awareness about chronic kidney disease and prevention.

Through Alive to Strive, Marie-Eve is also involved with The Active Living Grant Program, which provides funding to help people within the Champlain Local Health Integration Network area who are living with kidney disease to participate in fitness activities.

In April 2015, the annual Alive to Strive Race raised over $30,000 for the Alive to Strive Active Living Grant program and over $15,000 for three related charities, including the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Canadian Diabetes Association and Ottawa Hospital Kidney Research Centre.