From August 27 to September 4, Rick Chin, an analyst with the Division of Nephrology at the University of Calgary, who’s also a part of the Libin Institute, will ascend three mountain peaks in seven days for charity.
Named winner out of 719 entries of the Banff National Park Big Mountain Challenge, he has already raised $5,000 for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. Donations (up to $5,000) are being matched by Banff Lake Louise Tourism. Once he completes his hikes of Sulphur, Cascade and Temple Mountains, $15,000 will be given to The Kidney Foundation of Canada.
“It was amazing to receive messages of support and encouragement from individuals with kidney failure, or who were transplant recipients,” says Chin. “I knew that I chose to fundraise for a noteworthy and important charity, and I hope to increase awareness regarding the seriousness of chronic kidney disease, the importance of organ donation, and the fantastic work of The Kidney Foundation of Canada.”
Tell me about your original contest entry for the Big Mountain Challenge.
I had to share a photo on Facebook showing how I was preparing for the epic challenge. I submitted the attached photo with the caption: “By singing show tunes to keep the bears away!”
What was the motivating factor that compelled you to enter this contest in the first place?
When I read about the contest—to hike three huge peaks for $25,000 for a charity of choice—I knew right away that I had to enter! I love to hike and the Banff and Lake Louise regions are gorgeous. So what better way to donate $25,000 to a charity than to hike some amazing mountains?
How avid of a hiker are you? Have you done these three peaks before?
I’m a fairly avid hiker and I try to hike every weekend. Sometimes I go for short hikes after work since the mountains are so close. I’ve never hiked these three peaks before, though they have been on my list of mountains to conquer for quite some time, especially Mount Temple.
Biggest challenges you think you’ll face?
I’m a bit nervous about fatigue and the possibility of burning out. Three huge peaks in the span of seven days—that’s a lot of hiking and scrambling in a short period of time. Fighting off blisters could also be a big challenge.
Why was it important to support The Kidney Foundation of Canada as your charity?
Honestly, I didn’t know much about the disease or kidneys in general until I began working in the area. Supporting The Kidney Foundation of Canada has become important to me as I’ve realized how serious kidney disease is. It not only impacts the life of the patient, but the patient’s family and friends as well. There is no cure. There are about 2.6 million Canadians who have, or are at risk of, kidney disease. Nearly 80 per cent of the 4,300 Canadians on the waiting list for organ transplants are awaiting a kidney. There is so much we still need to understand about the disease, and so sometimes it’s difficult to give it the platform it deserves.
What are you most looking forward to with this whole experience?
I’m looking forward to being able to do some hiking, which is an activity I love, and winning the $25,000 for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. The spa treatments will be pretty awesome too.