Kidney Foundation of Canada

Kidney Foundation of Canada

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is people working together for a common cause. We are volunteers, individuals living with kidney disease, donors, and staff members — from all walks of life, all across Canada. Since its creation in 1964, The Kidney Foundation has helped millions of Canadians suffering from kidney failure and related disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, urinary tract infections and kidney stones.


In the 1960s, people with kidney failure had little hope of survival. Dialysis was considered an extraordinary treatment and restricted to very few. Transplantation was still experimental.

It was during this time that a young Montreal architect, Morty Tarder, died from kidney disease. Confronted with their son’s death, the Tarder family vowed to start an organization that would raise money for research into this poorly understood disease. In 1964, The Kidney Disease Foundation of Canada, as it was known then, was created in Montreal.

Today, the Kidney Foundation of Canada is the national health charity committed to kidney health and to improved lives for all people living with kidney disease. Our vision for the future is an enduring legacy of those dedicated volunteers who, 40 years ago, started out with a compelling cause and the resolve to make a difference.


1960s Only a handful of hospitals provide hemodialysis, treatments are strictly rationed and selection committees determine who will receive this life-saving therapy. The Foundation begins to advocate for greater awareness of kidney disease, more treatment centres and research into kidney transplantation.

1964: The death of young Montreal architect Morty Tarder from kidney disease sparks the creation of The Kidney Disease Foundation of Canada.

1965: The Women's Auxiliary of the Foundation organizes the first child-testing program to screen for kidney disease with the help of several doctors from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.

1968: The Foundation launches its first fundraiser, the "Trick or Treat" campaign, endorsed by Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

1970sThe Foundation becomes a vibrant, national health charity expanding to include Branches and Chapters across Canada. Money raised by the Foundation is used to provide seed funding for the establishment of organ retrieval systems and to support kidney-related research.

1974: Volunteers for the Foundation number more than 10,000 nationally.

1975: The Foundation awards a total of 11 research grants to renal investigators in various provinces.

1978: The Foundation breaks the million dollar mark through its various fundraising activities across the country.

1979: March is officially declared Kidney Month in Canada and the flagship door-to-door fundraiser, the March Drive, is launched.

1979: The first children's dialysis summer camp is opened in the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna, hosted by the British Columbia Branch of The Kidney Foundation.

1980sMany more kidney patients have access to treatment through the success of an alternative form of dialysis called peritoneal dialysis. The use of the anti-rejection drug cyclosporin leads to vast improvements in transplant success. The Foundation presses for more federal government involvement in promoting organ donation and the development of national standards for patient care.

1982: The first edition of the Patient Manual is published in English and French.

1984: Over 25,000 volunteers contribute their time and talents to support the work of the Foundation.

1985: 75 Research Grants are awarded by the Foundation to various renal investigators.

1985: The Foundation distributes over 1,000,000 wallet-sized cards to the public, explaining the warning signs of kidney disease.

1987: The province of British Columbia reverses its decision to decline payment for cyclosporine, an anti-rejection medication used by transplant recipients, thanks to Foundation advocacy initiatives.

Meanwhile, further efforts convince the province of Quebec to have the organ donor consent form placed on the back of all newly issued provincial Medicare cards.

1988: The National Direct Mail program is launched, bringing in over one million dollars in gross revenues.

1990s The number of people receiving treatment for end-stage renal disease is growing as the population ages. Transplantation success, ironically, is creating longer waiting lists. The Foundation increases it efforts to ensure the best possible future for people living with kidney disease, through the delivery of its broad range of programs and various collaborative initiatives.

1994: Michel Perron, a kidney transplant recipient, successfully completes his journey to the North Pole, raising more than $260,000 for the Foundation. Two years later, he repeats his remarkable feat … this time, voyaging to the South Pole.

1996: The Foundation hosts the Links to Success Forum, bringing together representatives from government, healthcare institutions, the organ donation community, and staff and volunteers from the Foundation to develop solutions to the critical shortage of organs for transplantation.

1998: More than 85,000 volunteers are actively contributing to the mission of the Foundation.

1999: The Foundation hosts the Horizons 2000+ Conference, bringing together the country’s leading kidney scientists and other stakeholders to explore themes and make recommendations that will eventually form the basis of an enhanced national kidney research strategy.


As growing evidence points to the preventable nature of kidney disease among certain high-risk groups, the Foundation begins to explore an expanded role in early detection.

2002: The Foundation hosts the first National Forum on Chronic Kidney Disease, attended by a broad range of stakeholders, to highlight the key issues, increase knowledge and identify the action needed to reduce the burden of kidney disease over the next three years. 2003: In order to address the expanded constituency, which now includes populations at risk, and to guide and align its activities across the country, the Foundation reviews and renews its vision, mission and guiding principles.

2004: The Foundation’s Endowment Fund surpasses the $5 million mark, and its contribution to research since its creation in 1964 surpasses $70 million.

2005: A new brand identity for the Foundation is developed and launched: The Kidney Foundation of Canada – the foundation of kidney care. The new tagline reflects the broadening of the mission to embrace all aspects of kidney care – from earliest prevention to the treatment and care of individuals affected by kidney disease.

External links

* [ National site]
* [ Quebec site]
* [ Ontario site]

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